The Climate Crisis Is Not About Politics
It's About Humanity Working Together To Solve This Huge Problem.
I came across this tweet the other day that stopped me in my tracks.
The climate crisis does not care about your political affiliation.
The tweet comes from The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change in the Gulf Coast Region through research, education, community and student engagement for policy change, as well as health and safety training for environmental careers.
The DSCEJ was founded by Dr. Beverly Wright in 1992 in collaboration with community environmental groups and other universities within the Southern region to advance environmental justice. Since then, the Center has become a powerful resource for environmental justice research, education, as well as health and safety training for environmental careers. They work to provide opportunities for communities, scientific researchers, and decision makers to collaborate on projects that promote the rights of all people to be free from environmental harm as it impacts health, jobs, housing, education, and a general quality of life.
A major goal of the Center continues to be the development of leaders in communities of color along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor and the broader Gulf Coast Region that are disproportionately harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change.
These communities have already felt the impact of climate change and pollution, and there’s more on the way. Flood risk in the U.S. will increase by about 25 percent in the next three decades, and Black communities in the South will face disproportionate harm, according to research published in January.
Climate change is already driving more severe flooding across much of the country, especially along the Gulf Coast where residents are experiencing the triple threat of rising seas, stronger hurricanes and heavier rain.
In 2021, flash floods in Europe and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida in the U.S. both caused tens of billions of dollars of damage and killed hundreds of people.
We need action now in these critical times, which is why it would be remiss of me not to talk about the IPCC report that came out this week focused on the mitigation of climate change. IPCC is The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
Rather than conducting its own research, the organization assembles and digests the most up-to-date research in the fields of climate science and meteorology into reports that the world’s governments can use to inform their actions. Thousands of scientists have contributed to this process. They volunteer their time to this important cause.
And they continue to say that the evidence is clear, and that the time for action is now.
I know my followers are divided politically. Some of you identify as liberal, while many others would check the conservative box. And for some reason, our political affiliations can sometimes cloud the way we see the world.
When I work in a community, part of my job is to help bridge the gap between the people who live there and what may be going on with any agencies or in politics. I don’t like getting involved in politics because it doesn’t matter what your party affiliation is, if you are rich or poor, or the color of your skin; we all need access to clean water. If there’s one agenda across the board that I think everyone needs to be united on, it’s making sure we all have safe drinking water. Period.
Well, climate change is the same. It impacts our water in a major way.
Climate change is changing weather patterns—more intense snow, not enough rainfall, areas that become warm when they should be cold. Droughts and wildfires. More intense storms and hurricanes. It all leads to unpredictability in how much water is available relative to the historical needs of communities.
The problems with climate change are already here.
“We are at a crossroads,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee in a statement. “The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.”
Lee is a South Korean scholar who is an international expert on the economics of climate change and the world’s most trusted authority on the state of the climate.
The report talks about how leaders need to move away much faster from fossil fuels, and that we need to drastically accelerate efforts in the next few years to slash our emissions from coal, oil and natural gas before it’s too late.
“Too late” means before the planet heats more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. We have already heated the planet by 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century, largely from burning fossil fuels for energy. Once we go above 1.5 degrees, we are looking at worsening floods, droughts, wildfires and ecosystem collapse.
The report found that in order to holding warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius would require nations to reduce their planet-warming emissions by about 43 percent by 2030 and to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere altogether by the early 2050s.
We are facing giant challenges ahead to meet these goals and to sustain our life on the planet as we know it.
Last week, a powerful article in GQ by Emily Atkin and Caitlin Looby details eight places who depend on these temperature calculations. If we can limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, these places could be saved. In a 2-degree scenario, they would be irredeemably lost.
One of the places mentioned is Napa Valley, California. They discuss the challenges winemakers face even today. Drier soils and smoke from wildfires, which can taint grapes. One expert revealed, “The taste of wine is changing.” With warming accelerating, we could potentially lose wine country altogether.
When it comes to the climate crisis, we need to put politics aside. Here in the U.S., the EPA isn’t going to save us, and neither are our politicians. We need to rally ourselves. We need to work together to solve this huge crisis. It’s not about red, blue, or purple, it’s about our livelihoods and the future of our planet.
April is traditionally a month where people remember to act for the environment. When former President Richard Nixon created the EPA, he wasn’t necessarily an environmentalist, he was responding to huge public outcry over environmental issues.
More than 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day event in April 1970, which sent a strong message to government. By December of that same year, Congress created the EPA to tackle these issues.
“My primary objective in planning Earth Day was to show the political leadership of the Nation that there was broad and deep support for the environmental movement,” wrote Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson in the EPA Journal. “While I was confident that a nationwide peaceful demonstration of concern would be impressive, I was not quite prepared for the overwhelming response that occurred on that day.”
What a powerful message we could send if people in every county across this great nation (and the world) could hold hands across the political aisle and support taking action to reach our climate goals.
That’s the power of the people.
Need a way to take action? Educate yourself. Check out one of these orgs this week.
Project Drawdown: A global research organization that identifies, reviews and analyzes the most viable solutions to climate change
NASA: Vital signs of the planet
Union of Concerned Scientists: Science for a healthy planet and safer world
Drilled: A podcast on climate denial propaganda
IPCC: Provides regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation