Columnists, Here's That Rainy Day, Opinion

Running from hurricanes in the age of incuriousness

Since ancient times, man has forged explanations for the inexplicable. The ancient Mongolians claimed Earth rested on the back of a giant frog whose movements caused earthquakes. The Igorot people of the Philippines believed the eldest son of Lumawig, the Great Spirit, formed mountains when he sent water flooding over all of Earth, forcing the ground to rise.

People create stories to make sense of their surroundings. As time and technology progressed, the scientific method replaced mythology, and the scope of discovery globalized. Curiosity drives people to understand the environment, encouraging us to learn, make calculated decisions and ultimately survive.

Yet curiosity lacks in recent times. Scientific evidence is met with disdain and disbelief by the public and elected leaders. Despite clear scientific evidence for the global warming, our own president has called the phenomenon “nonexistent.”

The hot-button topic of climate change was exacerbated after two major hurricanes left parts of Texas and Florida dilapidated and waterlogged. Scientists agree that no single weather event can be attributed to climate change, but warmer waters provide storms with perfect conditions to grow and become more dangerous.

Despite current partisan divisions, science has not always been a partisan issue. Since 2008, when Republican Sen. John McCain ran for president with a strong climate platform, top Republican lawmakers have gone from publicly endorsing climate science to growing silent on the topic, kept quiet by big money.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott strongly and repeatedly warned Florida residents of the wrath of Hurricane Irma, calling it “a catastrophic storm that our state has never seen before.” But climate scientists have been predicting storms like Irma for years, yet Gov. Scott continues to say he is “not convinced” that global warming is a reality.

Irma was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin. Hurricane Maria, which devastated Dominica and Puerto Rico, strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in fewer than two days.

If these were ancient times, people would wonder what they did to anger the deities. But we live in the information age, not the era of blind conjecture. Asking “Why?” is more important than ever.

People must take collective action to limit our impact on the planet, refocus attention on data and facts and stifle the plague of incuriousness that — unlike all plagues that have so far beset us — may be our undoing.

Mackenzie Karbon is a junior majoring in jazz performance.

September 25, 2017

Reporters


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Former NFL and University of Miami star Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday for numerous allege ...

Trevor Darling's perseverance paid off. After not being selected in the NFL Draft, the former U ...

Father's Day has never been a big holiday in the Larranaga household because basketball always ...

The start to former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Chad Thomas' NFL career is going through a m ...

At one section of Miami's Richmond Park, Hurricanes offensive line coach Stacy Searels taught a ...

A University of Miami lecturer explores the role of the front porch in black communities. ...

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, two public health sciences students traveled to Puerto Rico to ...

Colder Atlantic temperatures could change hurricane season forecasts, but the trend isn't expec ...

UM neurorehabilitation expert David S. Kushner, M.D., who helps modern patients recover from brain s ...

UM News interviewed a Miami Business School professor to learn more about claims that the changes co ...

An outstanding showing at the USATF Championships earned Symone Mason a trip to the World U20 Champi ...

UM alum returns to lead Canes' MBB strength and conditioning efforts. ...

Amy Deem was recognized for the third time as the ACC Women's Outdoor Track and Field Coach of ...

During the 2017-18 school year, Miami had student-athletes from 17 of the 32 countries in the FIFA W ...

The University of Miami track and field program got off to a strong start at the 2018 USATF Junior O ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.