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Sun Aug 1, 2021, 12:39 PM

Bangladesh [View all]

"I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."
-- Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA); September 6, 2005


Last night, my son and I watched a documentary on Hurricane Katrina. It was made by a fellow who had the misfortune of getting stuck in the storm, but was lucky enough to survive. The film featured the awesome power of nature, the utter destruction of buildings and properties, and the suffering endured by human beings.

During the film, my son commented that people who dismiss that human suffering by saying, "It's their own fault. They should have left," should watch and see why leaving was not a choice for everyone. Indeed, there was a wide range of reasons that so many people could not simply leave. Today, I did an internet search, so that I could find the exact quote of former senator and self-righteous christian Rick Santorum (at top), who recommended "tougher penalties" for those suffering people.

Nature is a curious thing, and certainly the environment has played a crucial role in the cycle of new life forms and extinctions for far, far longer that modern humans have walked the earth. More, in the relatively brief time we have inhabited this living planet, changes in the environment have influenced how -- and where -- we live. This includes natural disasters that arise quickly, as well as changes that take place at a slower pace and are associated with the fall of some of human history's greatest empires.

The most significant factor in human survival has been our specie's ability to adopt to threatening changes. Human beings, by nature, are flexible, with the ability to adjust to change. That ability to respond to rapid changes, such as Katrina, is reduced by factors directly associated with social stratification -- although that alone does not account for every tragic event in human history.

The other important factor is surviving these events is empathy, the ability to grasp the feelings of others in need, and to respond. This includes helping those who are very different from us, something the prophet Jesus highlighted in his parable of the good Samaritan. There have been numerous times in this country's history when, as individuals, groups, and a nation, we have responded to domestic and global crises in this fashion. It was fifty years ago today, for example, that ex-Beatle George Harrison headed the Concert for Bangladesh.



In the half-century since then, there have been significant changes in the environment. By no coincidence, science shows conclusively that human activities have accelerated these changes. And there is little evidence that we are currently serious as a species to adopt to these changes, when we consider politicians, corporations, or individuals in the United States. To illustrate this, consider the discomfort many experience when a storm knocks out the internet and/or electricity for a couple of hours. Yet we are witnessing an increase in environmental crises around the planet that cause severe, long-term suffering.

Five years ago, Trump was ranting about building a wall. As stupid as the man is, it is important to recognize that he was thinking this would provide long-term protection for "his people." Don't be Donald Trump, for those walls will come tumbling down. Don't call yourself "religious" if, like Rick S., you want to punish others for suffering, rather than being a good Samaritan.

We can't all be one of those musicians who took the stage fifty years ago today, but we can all be one of the audience participants.

There's a storm coming.
H2O Man

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H2O Man Aug 2021 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2021 #1
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rickyhall Aug 2021 #2
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malaise Aug 2021 #7
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Hekate Aug 2021 #12
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