Is your state ready for climate disasters?

disaster-readiness-map

Whether it’s wildfires in the West, drought in the Midwest, or sea level rise on the Eastern seaboard, chances are good your state is in for its own breed of climate-related disasters. Every state is required to file a State Hazard Mitigation Plan with FEMA, which lays out risks for that state and its protocols for handling catastrophe. But as a new analysis from Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law reveals, many states’ plans do not take climate change into account…

While FEMA itself acknowledged this summer that climate change could increase areas at risk from flooding by 45 percent over the next century, states are not required to discuss climate change in their mitigation plans. The Columbia analysis didn’t take into account climate planning outside the scope of the mitigation plans, like state-level greenhouse gas limits or renewable energy incentives. And as my colleague Kate Sheppard reported, some government officials have avoided using climate science terminology even in plans that implicitly address climate risks; states that didn’t use terms like “climate change” and “global warming” in their mitigation plans were docked points in Columbia’s ranking algorithm.

Michael Gerrard said he wasn’t surprised to find more attention paid to climate change in coastal states like Alaska and New York that are closest to the front lines. But he was surprised to find that a plurality of states landed in the least-prepared category, suggesting a need, he said, for better communication of non-coastal risks like drought and heat waves.

The Koch Bros and their tools in the Republican Party got one thing right. Americans are such a political lazyass nation that the easiest lie to sell is one that concludes we needn’t do a damned thing.

Between lying about climate change, ignoring the effects of climate change, staking absolutely NO claim either for causing climate change or taking responsibility to reverse climate change – reactionary politicians have charted the perfect course for American voters.

Just imitate the Do-Nothing Congress!

Michelle Obama moves into activist role on higher education

Michelle Obama, after nearly five years of evangelizing exercise and good eating habits, will begin a new initiative on Tuesday that seeks to increase the number of low-income students who pursue a college degree. The goals of the program reflect the first lady’s own life and will immerse her more directly in her husband’s policies.

“I’m here today because I want you to know that my story can be your story,” Mrs. Obama is to tell students at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington on Tuesday, according to an advance text of her remarks. “The details might be a little different, but so many of the challenges and triumphs will be just the same.”

The first lady will add that whether students want to be doctors, teachers, mechanics or software designers, “you have got to do whatever it takes to continue your education after high school — whether that’s going to a community college, or getting a technical certificate, or completing a training opportunity, or heading off to a four-year college…”

Aides in Mrs. Obama’s office said she would visit other schools around the country and use social media to appeal to students, conveying the message that higher education is a door to a wider world. Mrs. Obama, the daughter of a pump worker at the City of Chicago Waterworks, graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School…

In her new project, Mrs. Obama will work with the Education Department to help further President Obama’s initiative to vault the United States from 12th to first in the world in the percentage of college graduates by 2020…

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 52 percent of 2011 high school graduates from low-income families enrolled in college immediately after high school, a figure 30 percentage points lower than the rate for students from high-income families…

“I think this will have tremendous dividends around the country,” said Arne Duncan, the secretary of education. “She has a personal passion and authority on this because this is her story. This is her life. This is who she is.”

Bravo! Keep on keepin’ on, Michelle.

Probably the only topic which could get me out of my hermit-role here on Lot 4. From the most subjective side, education starting at the earliest level formed my life. My parents teaching me to read before I even entered kindergarten, weekly walks to the Carnegie library in our end of town, summer reading programs away from school – brought a culture of learning and even self-guided education into the backbone of my life.

There is nothing more critical if we’re ever to reform this nation – or any other for that matter – and move into a positive, progressive future for this silly planet.