By Joe Darby
I think the only images that can compare to the absolutely horrible devastation left by the tornado in western Kentucky are photos of Hiroshima after the atom bomb was dropped on it in World War II.
The pictures of both incidents show block after block after block of complete destruction, nothing left but splintered lumber, nothing standing, all is gone. The magnitude of the bomb’s damage was much larger, of course, but the level of destruction was similar. (By the way, I completely disagree with those who say the bomb need not have been dropped. If America had been forced into an invasion of Japan, hundreds of thousands of US lives would have been lost and millions of Japanese. As horrible as it was, the bomb was a life saver).
But back to Kentucky. This certainly has to be one of the worst tornados America has suffered in many a year. It continued its path for 200 miles and was almost a mile wide, as I understand it. The complete number of fatalities will not be known for a while, but it’s clear that many are having trouble coping with this event. After all, their town as they have always known it, is gone. Imagine the same damage here in Natchitoches. Where would we go, what would we do?
Some will be quick to say the tornado was a product of global warming. I don’t know and I don’t think anyone knows for sure. Even some scientists are admitting that. I have long been a skeptic of the long-term predicted effects of global warming. I thought that the predictions of dire consequences were greatly exaggerated. I still think the proposed radical Green New Deal would go a long way toward destroying our economy and is way over the top.
I do know this, though. Temperatures are definitely rising world-wide. Glaciers are melting all over the globe, the Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking and the ice covering much of the Arctic Ocean is melting also. It’s becoming more common for ships to be able to transit the Arctic north of Canada, something that could be rarely done in the past.
This situation surely poses a threat to low lying communities, such as New Orleans and other coastal areas of Louisiana. Some say Venice, Italy will become uninhabitable before too many more years. I think other consequences of the warming are less clear, although it’s a fact that we have more and more dangerous hurricanes every year. It’s become almost routine that there are so many storms, all of the names are used up and we have to go to the Greek alphabet to designate them all.
There may be mitigating effects of the warming, also. Some anticipate global famine but consider this. As the climate changes, more and more land in places like Canada, our gigantic neighbor to the north, will be suitable for agriculture. What are frozen wastes today may be productive farmlands tomorrow.
It’s all so complicated. We need to take steps to mitigate the warming but the Biden administration’s wholesale attacks on the fossil fuel industries is ill advised and potentially ruinous to the economy. How do we balance our planet’s needs? Do we have enough wise men and women to come up with the answers. That’s the biggest worry!