Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Terrified of Natural Disasters

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am so scared because of the extreme weather in the world. When I listen to the news, I can’t tell what to believe. Some leaders say that this is all happening because of climate change, and they say that it is not too late for us to change our ways. Others say that’s a bunch of baloney, and human beings have nothing to do with the weather patterns.

I am so scared. I want to know if there is anything that I can do to make our planet better rather than just waiting until the next natural disaster possibly hurts me and my family. What can I do? -- Scared of the Weather

DEAR SCARED OF THE WEATHER: While there are varying opinions about the state of our world and our direct responsibility for it, most experts agree that human beings have contributed to climate change. In the simplest of terms, our carbon footprint increases with the energy used to create many conveniences in our lives. According to NASA, “Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air because of your own energy needs. You need transportation, electricity, food, clothing and other goods. Your choices can make a difference.” The most direct way that each of us can support the Earth is by being conscious of how we use energy. That includes turning off electronic appliances.

Now, the debate continues as to whether our choices have caused devastating storms like the most recent, Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the Bahamas. But many experts suggest that we should do things today that can help reduce further damage in the future. For more information about climate change, go to and To learn what you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint, go to

If you want to contribute to the rebuilding of communities that have been devastated by Dorian, you can go to or look for local charities that are working to help out.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister and I are three years apart. We got along pretty well when we were growing up, but we haven’t stayed close as adults. We live in two different countries and rarely see each other. When our family got together this summer, it was nice in a way, but also really awkward. We ended up getting into an argument about nothing really, but it was bad. We left without resolving anything. I fear that if we don’t make a decision to mend our fences, it might never happen. What can we do? -- Bad Sibling Vibes

DEAR BAD SIBLING VIBES: Contact your sister and tell her that you hate that the two of you had such a bad experience. Tell her you don’t want to leave it like that. Ask her if you can agree to forgive each other for whatever happened and figure out ways to stay connected. Tell her that you want to have a relationship with her.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)