The unprecedented thunderstorm supercell that struck the US on December 10, 2021, churned a long path of destruction across eight states (Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), leveling towns, sending debris 30,000 feet in the air and resulting in more than 100 deaths. In an interview with Democracy Now, acclaimed climatologist Michael E. Mann, author of The New Climate War, confirmed that wind speeds in Mayfield, Kentucky reached a catastrophic 300 mph.
“This isn’t a natural disaster. This is a disaster that was exacerbated by human caused climate change.”Michael E. Mann
Thousands of buildings were destroyed in those dark, turbulent hours f December 10, 2021.
Dr. Mann went on to explain how this powerful supercell was formed. A combination of two main “ingredients” that were added to La Nina:
- Very warm gulf waters brought on by human caused climate change, that resulted in a large amount of moisture that evaporated and spread into the United States.
- Jet stream spin.
Mann’s unique perspective and extensive experience provides valuable insights for all of us as we try and grapple with our new reality. He ended his interview with Democracy Now on a positive note, emphasizing how important it is to stay below 1.5ºC. “Carbon emissions have peaked. They’re not going up. And that’s a good sign. We’ve got to bring them down, though. And we’ve got to do that quickly.”
“In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity.”Sun Tzu
FEMA announced over the weekend that President Biden approved an Emergency Declaration for Kentucky and that direct federal assistance would be provided at 75% federal funding.
As Mayfield and other towns throughout the eight states begin to pick up the pieces and plan their rebirth, it’s vitally important that they rebuild using a Green Plan. Legislation should be passed to this effect, or at the very least President Biden should establish an Emergency Ordinance requiring that states that are using federal emergency funds include the installation of clean energy when rebuilding.
For example, California was the first state to pass a solar mandate, requiring that all new single family homes and multi-family dwellings up to three stories be powered by solar. The California solar mandate building code went into effect January 1, 2020.
Mayfield, more than any other town in the seven red states demolished in the supercell that struck on December 10, 2021, knows first-hand how powerful and devastating climate change storms are. Underscore this with Mann’s dire warning to cut emissions quickly to stay below 1.5ºC. It makes sense that rebuilding devastated communities using new Green Plans instead of traditional blueprints, which include clean energy, light colored roofs, light grey or white driveways and roads, biodiverse natives trees and shrubs and perennials, following traumatic climate change disasters will aid in this effort.
Following the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005 and the Greensburg, Kansas tornado of 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) put together 20-page guide to support communities following a disaster. Rebuilding After Disaster, Going Green from the Ground Up.
- Identify and bring together stakeholders
- Choose leaders
- Visualize and capture vision
- Get lay of land
- Set goals
- Find funds
- Write plan
More robust economic development. When you make the commitment to greener choices in all sectors of your community, economic opportunities can follow. Green recovery can set a new focal point for economic development, place emphasis on new green-collar jobs, and improve your community’s image, which in turn, can attract businesses and residents.Rebuilding After Disaster, Going Green from the Ground Up
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