To the Editor:
I recently hiked to the top of Wayah Bald. Stunning views, and sobering to see the remnants of the massive fire that ran up the mountain and destroyed the fire tower. It’s been beautifully restored thanks to the Forest Service and volunteers. One of my companions recalled how her home was destroyed in the Gatlinburg fire a few years ago. And I remembered the severe drought and the smoke over Haywood county from Jackson County fires a few years ago.
Fast forward to 2020 and the fires engulfing the West Coast after 114 degrees in L.A. Then think about the massive crop destruction in the Midwest from unheard-of hurricane force winds. Think about the seven named tropical storms that hit the continental U.S. before the end of August — first time ever.
Now recall 2004. Seven feet of water in downtown Canton after two hurricanes stalled over our mountains and dumped 22 inches of rain. Not long ago I visited my old medical school in Houston. Hurricane Harvey dumped 55 inches of rain and broke all records — in 48 hours — and wreaked havoc in East Texas. By the way, this happened exactly 10 days after the Trump administration disbanded the Flood Control Task force that had been established under the Obama Administration.
Climate change is not a “Chinese hoax to steal our jobs,” as Donald Trump stated. Just as the 190,000-plus deaths from Covid-19 are not a hoax or just “a bad cold” that will go away by itself, “like a miracle.”
Climate change is here and will affect every county in the U.S. Our local supporters of President Trump — Sen. Thom Tillis, Mike Clampitt, and Madison Cawthorn — insult our intelligence with their endless chatter about “big government,” “socialism,” and “the science isn’t proven yet,” whether referring to the climate crisis or dealing with the pandemic. Our response to both is urgent and must be based on science and trust.
Science and the decency to care for our neighbors — be they in Haywood County, Iowa, Texas or Oregon. Vote as if the Earth depends on it— it does!
Stephen Wall, MD