How is climate change like a heart attack?

People don’t want to take preemptive actions, but their actions are usually reactionary, like a patient suffering a heart attack despite years of being prescribed a good diet and exercise. In our busy modern life, it’s also easy to see how we remain uninformed about climate change. We only need to follow the money.

Many large companies will lose a lot of money as fossil fuels give way to renewable energy. Renewables are becoming cheaper (and are much safer).

Realities of climate change are mundane but very costly, with oceans swallowing land inch by inch, temperatures warming fractions of a degree yearly, and rainfall shifting along with the warming climate. Insurance companies can pay for only so much loss before calling it quits. Then we taxpayers are the ones who pay, as long as we can. That is when we realize our climate heart attack, when we have to pay for the accumulated damage, if we can.

The time scale for this is about 10 to 15 years. Then coasts will be permanently flooded and towns and businesses will be forced to relocate — or quit.

Hope lies in our individual actions. These add up to global change — either through products we use or people we choose to elect. Talk is slowly becoming mainstream. Meaningful actions lag.

Warning bells have been ringing for decades, but our listening has not been that good. Just like a heart attack, until catastrophe, people don’t seem to care.

Will we wake in time?

Alan Peterson, M.D.

Pequea Township