Hurricane Harvey is not the first flood in Houston recently. Houston has had three “once in 500 years” floods in the last decade. As president, Barack Obama mandated that if federal money is used to rebuild after flooding, rising sea levels and stronger storms from a warmer ocean had to be factored into building plans.

But Donald Trump has rescinded that order. Now if people in Houston want federal funding they have to rebuild exactly as everything was before the hurricane. Trump says this makes rebuilding cheaper and this creates jobs. But it won’t be cheaper if they rebuild three times in the next 10 years.

We know why this madness is happening. The Koch brothers have essentially bought Washington. They spent more money than the Democratic and Republican parties combined in the last election. They helped elect the Freedom Caucus and they contributed to Bruce Poliquin, who supported a climate-change denier to head the EPA. And Trump is taking huge steps to stop our progress towards slowing climate change.

The Koch brothers and Exxon-Mobil have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to support political commentators and politicians who deny that we are changing our climate. Delaying the transition to renewable energy means they can keep raking in far more money than it costs them to buy our government. But the cost to our grandchildren’s lives is unthinkable.

Our technology is incredibly powerful. We can change our atmosphere enough to make the earth uninhabitable if we want to. And we have the technology now to transition quickly to green energy and protect our children’s lives. But that won’t happen unless we all contact our politicians and tell them to stop the madness. We will remain victims of the fossil fuel industry if we do nothing.

Richard Thomas


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