The world is currently experiencing a collective catastrophe. The way we dealt with the recent pandemic has already shown that we were unprepared to face this situation. While the Earth seems to be healing itself from the effects of human capitalism, the dangers of climate change are still lurking. If anything, this pandemic has proved to us that our priorities need to be reevaluated. The coronavirus has affected millions of people throughout the world, but this doesn’t make us immune to impending climate catastrophes.
In recent years the US has experienced an increase in flooding, hurricanes, and fires. Climate change has enabled the likelihood of a climate disaster striking the globe. With the coronavirus on the rise, the effects are only intensified. Fires are larger and harder to tame, hurricanes are stronger and rainfall is on the rise. While these disasters could have been mitigated in the past, the presence of the coronavirus has made it very difficult to even come up with preventative strategies.
Due to the economic strain caused by the virus, state governments are reallocating their priorities and funds away from climate mitigation and disaster management. The virus is the government’s utmost priority right now, but the previous lack of policy and funding has proven to us the importance of climate management. The shift away from climate projects has also compromised the jobs and salaries of many people involved.
The climate threat is still as urgent as ever before. Recent data has shown us that there has been a notable drop in air pollution in many cities like London, Seoul, and Milan, but this doesn’t mean that sea levels do not continue to rise. San Francisco, one of the first cities to shut down due to the virus has experienced economic pressure. While there are no plans to delay or cancel the sea wall project, the economic strain might lead to a reallocation of financial resources.
As most cities are entering their peak phase of the virus, hurricane season is also slowly approaching. There is a high chance that a hurricane will make its way toward the US later this year. While public health protocols require us to social distance in order to flatten the curve, this practice will be impossible when thousands of people will be forced to find relief in crowded shelters and arenas. If we have successfully managed to slow down the spread or even possibly eliminate the virus, could this lead to a second wave of cases? The healthcare system is already overburdened but the impact of a large climate disaster will lead to a collapse. In addition to this, the economic impact of this will be magnified. With millions of Americans already unemployed, a natural disaster will cause these numbers to skyrocket.
The pandemic is the government’s number one priority right now, which is completely justified, but the long term effects of the virus will have a huge impact on the biological, psychological, and socioeconomic conditions of this country and possibly even the globe.