Failing Our Future

Hi, all.

It’s pretty clear that America is failing its youth at the moment–from the seemingly unending string of horrific school shootings, like the tragedy in Uvalde, TX this past week, to the astounding number of children in poverty in this country (6 million kids, an increase of over 1 million since 2019, and fully a quarter of Black, Native American, and Latino kids in the US) to our nation’s failure to confront the climate crisis in a meaningful way, condemning them and future generations to more challenging futures. 

Writer Somini Sengupta draws out this explanation explicitly in this week’s New York Times’ Climate Forward newsletter. She quotes Al Gore at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week to place the blame squarely at the feet of a “stuck” US government: 

“Some of the same reasons why the United States has been incapable of responding to these tragedies are the same reasons — lobbying, campaign contributions, the capture of policymaking, the control of politicians with money, lobbyists — that it has been impossible to pass climate legislation… Our democracy has been paralyzed, bought, captured. It has to stop.”

Gore and Sengupta weren’t the only ones making this connection this week; climate activist Bill McKibben also wrote about the “stuck” phenomenon in his weekly newsletter

“Our country has fallen into a rut where we expect stalemate and inaction. It’s not that we lack popular support: huge majorities favor climate action and gun regulation. It’s not that we lack technology: renewable energy is now so cheap that as a new study pointed out this week adopting it en masse would save our economies trillions. But each time we get stalemate and inaction the rut deepens—people become more hopeless and cynical.”

As a pretty naturally cynical person, I get it–the instinct to turn off and disengage from bad things happening around you, especially when it feels like you can’t do anything about it, whether that’s gun control or climate change legislation, can easily become default mode. But business as usual won’t get us out of these devastating ruts our country is stuck in–only action outside of the ordinary can do that. And like I wrote about last week, there are reasons to hold onto hope in this mess. 

With that, here are some ideas on how you can take action this week:

Plus, as always, you can find many more actions on our Climate Action Explorer. And, please be sure to give the newest episode of our podcast, Climate Convos, a listen if you haven’t yet. In it, we talk to Carah Ronan, who helped organize a grassroots movement against a local utilities company infringing on her and her neighbors’ land and safety–both inspiring and informative! 

Thanks for reading. Til next week!

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