Letter: A greater threat
We were all shocked by the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, which led to the deaths of five young people (spectators, MIT safety officer, first suspect) and the injuries of 176 people. Law enforcement officials and private citizens collaborated in an intense drive to secure the identities and custody of the suspects, and they are to be commended.
But I hope that revived concern and attention to terrorism does not pull us away from the threat to human life that is far greater, with far graver consequences to us and all life on this planet. Severe weather events are increasing every year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 551 people lost their lives from tornados and other weather events in the United States in 2011, and 14 “billion-dollar events” caused more than $60 billion of damages. From 2012, Superstorm Sandy alone is expected to cost nearly $100 billion, and the massive Midwest drought as much or more. In that year, 349 died from weather events, not counting the indirect illness and loss of life due to compromised air quality (mold, wildfire smoke, etc), emotional trauma, and economic hardship.
The effects of global scorching will continue to cost us life, limb, economic health and the health of moose and other non-human populations. My hope and prayer is that we can muster the intense will and collaboration shown in Boston to address this most important threat to our wellbeing. Our future depends on it.
M. LISE HILDEBRANDT