When Climate Disaster Comes Knocking, So Must Action
At 23, I’ve lived with climate change my whole life. However, last week was one that stood out for defining moments in this slippery slope of dangerous change. Here in Bozeman, MT, the weather kept inching hotter and drier, and so I sweated it out, or retreated to a friend’s basement apartment, to read the news coming in from frontlines across the world.
Last week alone we saw:
The Pacific Northwest Heat Dome. This was more than just feeling a little hot. Hot weather such as that seen across the Pacific Northwest last week, is nothing short of deadly. The record-smashing temperatures, often well-over 100 degrees, were particularly hard, because society in that climate is not set up to handle it. Many lack air-conditioning. Infrastructure was literally melting in Portland.
Canadian Firestorms. The same heat dome that hit the Pacific Northwest of the United States trapped blazing hot air in Western Canada as well. This only makes wildfires more likely. Last week, as wildfires ignited across Western Canada, so much smoke was released from these fires that it coalesced into ‘pyrocumulonimbous’ clouds. In other words, the wildfires caused their own storm system, which subsequently released over 100,000 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in about 15 hours.
Hurricane Elsa. Last week the first hurricane of the Atlantic season developed. While not record-breaking, this is far ahead of the average date of August 10th. Downgraded to a tropical storm (though it could re-develop), it is now heading toward Florida.
Gulf on Fire. A Petroléos Mexicanos (Pemex) pipeline burst, and the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico lit on fire. While it has since been put out, footage captured what should be an impossible situation.
🚨 Sobre el incendio registrado en aguas del Golfo de México, en la Sonda de Campeche, a unos metros de la plataforma Ku-Charly (dentro del Activo Integral de Producción Ku Maloob Zaap)— Manuel Lopez San Martin (@MLopezSanMartin) July 2, 2021
Tres barcos han apoyado para sofocar las llamas pic.twitter.com/thIOl8PLQo
And these are just the top headlines from the Northern Hemisphere. In times like these, we’ve all had to learn how to live through and bear witness to disaster. However, it is also important that we learn to keep hope, because truly, there are infinite reasons for hope, when we help each other find it.
Here at On the Level, we’ve been inspired by Harvard research on pro-democracy movements that suggests as little as 3.5% of the population working together nonviolently are almost always successful in their calls for change. Together, we can make real change and build a better future together, one where we all are able to dream and live together in a livable climate.
Just last week, amidst disaster, there were inspiring moments in the fight for a livable future that we deserve to celebrate!
Protests at the White House: Led by the Sunrise movement, hundreds of activists protested President Biden at the White House, demanding climate action after a bipartisan infrastructure package was put forward without many of the top ticket climate solutions.
Byhalia Pipeline Cancellation. In a victory for local organizers and climate justice, the proposed 49-mile Byhalia pipeline that would have plowed through Southwest Memphis and parts of Mississippi, endangering predominantly Black communities and drinking water, was canceled.
Global Climate Strike! Looking forward, Fridays for Future has announced the next global strike for climate on September 24th, 2021. We’re excited to announce that this is the same day as our launch. Plan to take action, and if you’re unsure how, we’ll help you find ways to get involved!
📢GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE ON SEPTEMBER 24! JOIN US AS WE #UprootTheSystem!— Fridays For Future (@Fridays4future) July 2, 2021
The climate crisis is here and is impacting us all, especially the Most Affected Peoples & Areas. We must stand united for immediate, just and concrete action from world leaders!
Starting September 24th, we will be launching our one-stop shop for climate action. Right now, we are building software that collects data on every single climate action across the country — from local meetings, to statewide petitions, to national protests. This data will power a groundbreaking quiz and map that will allow anyone to find the perfect way to get involved based on their location, skills, and interests. This will help the movement grow, unify, and become more visible. Still have questions? Check out our new FAQ page!
Until then, we’ll be hard at work, but you can expect to hear from us regularly. On this blog and social media, you’ll find us for Movement Mondays like this one, where we highlight actions or major headlines, and Climate Culture (on Fridays), where we will investigate the intersections of climate and pop culture, or the lack thereof.
We hope to see you there, and thank you for joining us. Remember, it’s time to be on the level.