The Naughty Baptist

Open Letter to Scott Pruitt

After we dodged a bullet (again) with Hurricane Irma, Scott Pruitt, Adminstrator of the EPA, commented that now is not the time to discuss climate change. I've heard a number of others make similar comments. This is my response.

Administrator Pruitt,

This past week I had to explain to my oldest child that a storm might destroy our home. At the time, Irma was projected to make landfall as a Category 5 Hurricane directly on Savannah. We live in Richmond Hill, which is just south of it.

I am not an expert, but I know more than the average person about what a home can and cannot withstand in a storm. My father was a carpenter for decades, and my first job as a teenager was building houses. When my parents added on to the house they had just bought in 1989, my dad had me nail in all the hurricane ties. Further, I worked with my dad designing homes. In that role I had to know the building codes for wind resistance.

I know what wind can do to a house. I also know that water is much more dangerous. I knew a Category 5 storm hitting us dead on would likely leave us homeless, at least temporarily.

As you know, Irma missed us directly. We had to endure tropical storm conditions, and were still ready to evacuate. If we had evacuated, it would have been my wife and me, our two children, our two foster children, my mother, and my mother- and sister-in-law. That’s not counting the pets we would have carried with us.

We still had to hunker down and wait to see if a tree went through my mom’s home. I still had to help her move irreplaceable photos, as well as my father’s ashes and the flag she received from the Marine Corps honor guard at his memorial service in July.

It used to be true that the last hurricane to hit Savannah was David, in 1979. I was three years old. Now we’ve had Matthew this past October, and Irma in the past few days, and we’re not done with the season yet. My roof held up great in Irma because it had to be replaced after Matthew.

I say all this as a preamble to my point: You do not get to decide when we speak about climate change. Perhaps you have forgotten, but you work for the American government. That government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Put another way, you work for us.

We, the people, decide what is and is not up for discussion.

Further, the science on climate change has been clear since the 1980s. I won’t bother citing the sources on this, as I am sure you are aware of them. That you reject the science does not matter. That's the problem with reality: It’s not concerned with your politics, nor does it care a whit about corporate profits.

Quite honestly, I’ve had enough of the science denial. We need you to be loyal to the American people, not profiteers.

I had to tell my seven-year-old this week that a storm could wash away her home. So, yes, it is time to take serious action on climate change.

If you think otherwise, I ask you to either resign now, or commit to spend the next hurricane that comes through Savannah at my house.

That way, you can explain it to my kids.


Rev Bryan L Fordham Richmond Hill, Ga