Storm Water Solutions Managing Editor Lauren Baltas discusses climate change in her October 2018 editorial letter
Let’s talk about climate change. If you’re like me, the idea of climate change sits quietly at the back of your mind. It blooms larger when certain stories hit headlines-severe droughts, large wildfires, record rainfall, extreme temperatures. Just before press time, Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall west of the Alabama-Mississippi border, and Hurricane Florence was
nearing North and South Carolina.
For perspective, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, there were more than five times as many billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2017 than there were in 1980. I highly encourage readers to navigate to this graph, which I will link on our website, because the breakdown is striking; what has increased most substantially, it seems, is the number of severe storms.
The storm water and erosion control industry is well acquainted with this fact. With these headlines come reports of flooding and landslides. Most infrastructure across the U.S.-and the world-is not equipped to handle weather events this extreme or frequent. This calls for better protection of the environment from climate change and funding for improved storm water infrastructure.
According to Bloomberg, President Donald J. Trump stopped assembling his Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which would help carry out his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. In addition, if you navigate to www.epa.gov/climatechange, you will no longer find information on climate change; rather, you will find a vague message from the U.S. EPA stating it is updating its website to reflect the current administration’s views.
But there is hope. Storm water and erosion control professionals on the ground are working proactively to incorporate more environmentally friendly features and better protect their cities from these weather events. While I advocate for change on a larger scale, these small improvements have a large impact. If you’re working on a notable project related to the changing environment, please reach out. Like I said, let’s talk about climate change.