Hurricane Sandy, the latest, and most destructive storm system so far to hit North America, is today wreaking havoc across a huge part of the eastern seaboard. The states of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have so far born the brunt of the onslaught, but others are bracing themselves as the storm is predicted to head north into Canada.
Of course, we who are watching from the safety of the other side of the Atlantic can only pray for the safety of all those affected, family members included. Nature, when it shows its raw power, can be a devastating and deadly force.
But should we really be surprised that these storms are becoming ever more powerful and frequent? As with all energy systems, the more energy that is available, the more force that can be delivered by that system.
The energy system in question here, is the global climate, and the energy in that system is growing and growing as we, and particularly North America, continue to burn fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow. It is therefore no surprise when we see ever increasingly destructive climatic events around the world.
As a Buddhist, I pin my faith on the unquestionable connection between cause and effect. When we make causes for things we want, we are only too happy to see the effects we desired. But if we continually make causes for things we don’t want, we cannot be upset, or even surprised, when the bad things come along in the same way.
The USA has been dragging its feet in terms of committing itself to measures to stop, or reverse, global warming. It is top of the list when it comes to energy usage per citizen and seems to be oblivious of the effect that is having on climate systems globally.
Maybe, just maybe, now New York has been so badly affected by hurricane Sandy, the American people as a whole, will take global warming seriously and put pressure on the politicians and energy companies to make serious inroads into cutting their impact on the climate.