The climate advocate’s cliché—save the planet for the sake of your grandchildren—continues to carry powerful moral suasion. We should be concerned about the long term, but not only. The future has arrived, announced by, among other impacts, headlines about extreme flooding in Texas and South Asia. Sea level rise and warmer surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, both byproducts of a warming climate, exacerbated the amount and destructiveness of rainfall that hit Houston, the fourth largest city in the US. Hurricane Harvey’s death toll has already reached 60, and will continue to grow as people search through the wreckage. Halfway across the globe, rains and tragedy befell India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, where an aggressive and erratic monsoon season has racked up a death toll of more than 1,000. Human-induced climate change demands human-induced policy changes, such as ending the fossil fuel era and building more resilient infrastructure. Today’s tragedies make clear that saving the planet means saving ourselves.
Bodes well for the future