Can We Talk About Climate Change For A Moment?

Three Hurricanes Looming off the East Coast of the United States

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to deny the effects that human activity has had on the earth. Decades of research and technological advances have given humans the opportunity to develop more viable alternatives as transitioned from an agrarian society to a more industrious one. Industrialization has allowed us to streamline and improve manufacturing processes thereby improving productivity and growing the economy. But this hasn’t always been to the advantage of the planet and its volatile atmosphere.

One of the major downsides of industrialization is the resulting pollution that negatively impacts the earth’s atmosphere which has been linked to climate change. Today’s environment has been tortured and assaulted by humankind to put it lightly and measures protecting the planet, current and future generations is critical for ecological sustainability. Environmental issues resulting from industrialization include contaminated water, like the lead found in Flint, Michigan, damaged soil, and diminished air quality.

Over the last few years, there have been multiple bipartisan efforts to improve legislation and protections that speak to the ongoing research and scientific evidence backing climate change. And for a while, despite those dedicated critics of climate change, it appeared that Congress had struck the same chord as the evidence of global warming and climate change was undeniable. The previous administration undoubtedly made both climate change and environmental protection a top priority as it took steps to improve efforts to address the global impact and effects of climate change by joining the Paris Climate Agreement.

Climate change has always been one of those highly contested topics of contention. Either you believe or deny that climate change is real or that it is some strategic ploy by liberals to overstate the effects of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions in the environment in order to divert focus their real agenda. As crazy as the latter may sound, and it is quite far-fetched, there are many who believe that climate change is a fictitious liberal scheme.

Unfortunately, one of those believers of the latter currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and has rolled back both legislation and conservation efforts influenced by years of scientific predictions aimed at improving the environment and preventing the extinction of various species. The current administration’s dismissal of the scientific evidence and research supporting climate change as if it were a collection of alternative facts is reprehensible. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see and feel the change in the earth’s climate.

Despite the surmounting evidence and bipartisan efforts to address climate change, President Trump still persists and continues to ignore the severity of climate change. He recently issued an executive order revoking an Obama-Era Order requiring federally funded projects meet standard requirements for flood risks as a precaution to future risks or damage.

This one act seems to have emitted a direct response from Mother Earth herself. As if she was personally insulted, Mother Earth has taken it upon herself to show us just how extreme climate change can be. Harvey. Irma. Jose. Katia.  All four of the category four and five hurricanes have been or will potentially be the cause of great harm and the unfortunate loss of life in the regions affected.  Parts of the west coast are on fire and Mexico just had its biggest earthquake to hit in over 100 years. Who says climate change is real?

Politically, there are plenty of reasons cited from both sides of the aisle as to whether or not claims of climate change or true or false, but perhaps Congress should take a moment to listen to Mother Earth herself to find the answer, because she seems to be speaking loud and clear.

Thousands Affected by Texas Floods: How Social Workers Can Help

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Thousands of Texas residents, including nearly 2,000 residents of a correctional facility in located Brazoria County, are being forced to evacuate their homes as rising Texas floodwaters prompt local and state officials to continue issuing mandatory evacuations in several Texas counties.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has officially declared a State of Disaster for 31 Texas counties. In a press conference held after touring some of the state’s most flood-affected areas on Thursday, Gov. Abbott addressed state plans for aiding Texas flood victims and stressed the importance for citizens to listen to local evacuation mandates.

“Remember this, and that is your life is far more valuable than your property,” he said, directing his statements toward all Texans. “If you are told by a local official to evacuate, heed that warning.”

With the number of people displaced by the disaster, social workers can play a pivotal role in helping flood victims receive the services they need. In 2003, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) released a statement identifying social workers as “uniquely suited to interpret the disaster context, to advocate for effective services, and to provide leadership in essential collaborations among institutions and organizations.”

However, social workers should be mindful of state laws and statutes regarding the provision of social work services. In Texas, social workers are able to provide services to people in response to a disaster only within the limits provided by Texas statute.

Volunteers providing disaster relief services in Texas who do not hold a board approved Texas license, may not present themselves under the title Social Worker, use a title that implies current licensure in the state of Texas, or promote they are representing services as social workers.

Additionally, because of the successful work done by members in the Texas Chapter of NASW, a bill passed in the 84th Texas Legislative Session extending liability protections to licensed social workers and retired social workers, giving them immunity from liability in Texas when representing themselves as “volunteer health care providers”.

The American Red Cross has set up a number of shelters in affected areas in addition to providing flood victims with food, hygiene products, and other needed supplies. Social workers and other helping professionals are highly encouraged to volunteer. You can get more information by visiting redcross.org/volunteer or by calling 713-313-5491.

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