© 2015 by Richard G Hildreth - Proudly created with Wix.com

Global Climate Change is not just an Environmental Issue

No matter what the cause may be, there is no doubt that global climate change is occurring. Across the globe, and across this nation, we are seeing changes in long term predictable patterns in weather, ocean chemistry, steering currents and sea ice.  As these changes occur, we are seeing impacts on emergency management, the economy, public health and homeland security. Global Climate Change or GCC is not just an environmental issue, it is an issue that touches almost every aspect of our communities.

According to a report issued in 2015 by a Bi-partisan group of policy leaders, including former Presidential Cabinet members from the Reagan and Bush administration, the economic and public health impacts will be staggering. In Texas alone, the number of days the overnight low temperature remains above 85 degrees will more than double over the next few decades, from 46 to 106 days per year.  The report estimates more than 4,500 additional heat-related deaths per year with nearly half that increase coming in the next five to 15 years. This increase alone is far more than the average number of traffic deaths each year. Additionally, with drops in worker productivity due to increases in heat and humidity, as well as impacts on agricultural production, the economic toll will be staggering. GCC is far more than an environmental issue

For years, one of my greatest concerns has been the impact on emergency management.  I am not only talking about weather impacts such as more intense storms such as was seen with Hurricane Harvey. I am talking about all of those cascading impacts that many people might overlook. As many communities have based their emergency management planning assumptions on these predictable patterns, change then causes these planning assumptions to lose validity. Drought impacts fire risk, the public water supply, crop productivity, etc.  Drought also can cause agricultural weaknesses that pestilence and disease can then take root.  I believe there may be a link between GCC and the rapid spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle, an insect attacking US Forestland. This in turn increases fire risk as standing timber dies and dries in place. Everything is interrelated, and when changes occur in one part, it requires adjustment in other areas. These adjustments must be reflected in our Emergency Management Plans and the planning assumptions we base them from.

 

Maybe it has never been about me.

One of the first things I discovered when I took office as Mayor of the City of Pacific was I was in an awesome position to help people.  I truly understood my friend, former State Senator and Representative Jim Kastama’s comment that his greatest accomplishment when he was a State Rep, was helping a constituent who was having problems with the Social Security Administration. In spite of the fact that his position had nothing to do with the office, he was able to spend some time helping a person walk through the maze of government bureaucracy. That is how I saw my position as Mayor.

No person in elected office will be without their detractors. With the creation of Pacific Partnerships, more citizens became involved in the community. Yet one of these detractors made the comment that the organization was nothing more than an Ad Hoc extension of my office, allowing me to seize more control. I became involved in emergency management and took steps, including training, to build community capacity and create plans.  Yet some of my detractors claimed this was me using my position and tax payer money to build a new career for me. Along these same lines, these same detractors looked at news coverage of my accomplishments as me bragging, when in fact it was hoped that this coverage would inspire others to seek similar accomplishments.

As I look forward to new and even more exciting challenges in 2019, I have been looking back on my life to date.  Are there things I wish I could do over? Of course there are, but I do not have any regrets. Do I see mistakes that I made along the way and wonder where I would be now without those mistakes? Yes, but I would have missed the lessons I have learned along the way. But one thing that I am proud of, in looking back across my life it has never been about me.  My accomplishments have been gifts from God that I hope to have always used for His purposes.  My challenges and stumbling blocks in life were God gently guiding me in a new direction. I do not care to be famous or to create great works, my only desire is to earn the inscription on my tombstone: “He gave it all so others could flourish”. That would be a great testament to who I hope to always be.

 

Global Climate Change is not just an Environmental Issue

No matter what the cause may be, there is no doubt that global climate change is occurring. Across the globe, and across this nation, we are seeing changes in long term predictable patterns in weather, ocean chemistry, steering currents and sea ice.  As these changes occur, we are seeing impacts on emergency management, the economy, public health and homeland security. Global Climate Change or GCC is not just an environmental issue, it is an issue that touches almost every aspect of our communities.

According to a report issued in 2015 by a Bi-partisan group of policy leaders, including former Presidential Cabinet members from the Reagan and Bush administration, the economic and public health impacts will be staggering. In Texas alone, the number of days the overnight low temperature remains above 85 degrees will more than double over the next few decades, from 46 to 106 days per year.  The report estimates more than 4,500 additional heat-related deaths per year with nearly half that increase coming in the next five to 15 years. This increase alone is far more than the average number of traffic deaths each year. Additionally, with drops in worker productivity due to increases in heat and humidity, as well as impacts on agricultural production, the economic toll will be staggering. GCC is far more than an environmental issue

For years, one of my greatest concerns has been the impact on emergency management.  I am not only talking about weather impacts such as more intense storms such as was seen with Hurricane Harvey. I am talking about all of those cascading impacts that many people might overlook. As many communities have based their emergency management planning assumptions on these predictable patterns, change then causes these planning assumptions to lose validity. Drought impacts fire risk, the public water supply, crop productivity, etc.  Drought also can cause agricultural weaknesses that pestilence and disease can then take root.  I believe there may be a link between GCC and the rapid spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle, an insect attacking US Forestland. This in turn increases fire risk as standing timber dies and dries in place. Everything is interrelated, and when changes occur in one part, it requires adjustment in other areas. These adjustments must be reflected in our Emergency Management Plans and the planning assumptions we base them from.