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Many of us want to know what we can do to help our neighbors in Ellicott City. We feel a strong need to react to this incident. I am sure there are some short term things that could help reduce human suffering. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones, their homes, and businesses.
But fixing this city built in a creek is not a simple thing, especially with the expectations of more frequent and bigger storms. We need to be very thoughtful on how we proceed. We need to be reactive and proactive in our response.
The greatest opportunity to help our neighbors in Ellicott City and across the entire county and country are the actions that we take tomorrow, next week, and next year. We all need to be much more proactive in order to reduce the deaths and damage to our greater community in the future.
Storm waters do need to be managed better. We have known this for years. We all need to step up and put in rain gardens to capture rainfall and slow the flow of water off our properties. We also need to adequately fund the restoration of our storm water management systems.
But we also need to do whatever it takes to reduce the growing threat of more and bigger storms (rain and snow) resulting from the warming and moister atmosphere. We as a community have not taken this threat seriously, yet. We are not talking about it enough. We are not doing enough. There is so much more that we can do as individuals, businesses, and communities. We need to get serious and start doing it. Each of us can take steps at home and where we work. We each need to reduce our use of fossil fuels as much as possible to slow climate change and reduce these big storms. We can do that by:
- reducing energy use in our homes by insulating attics and upgrading appliances.
- reducing fossil fuel energy use by buying our electricity from solar and wind farms
- reducing fuel use by driving less and using more efficient cars.
- buying less stuff and always insisting on the most sustainable products.
Let’s support our neighbors both short term and long term by acting now to create a safer future. These are simple, concrete things that each of us can do today that will help prevent the next big catastrophe.