Here we are again. Almost exactly a month after my fellow Mother Out Front Jean Cummings wrote about the Four Ways Hurricanes Are Different as a Result of Climate Change in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, we’re witnessing the devastating results of Hurricane Michael.
Jean did an excellent job of connecting the dots between climate change and hurricanes, and others are demonstrating how Michael is yet another example of extreme weather and climate change, so I’m not going to go over that again. If you need convincing, please go read those articles then come back here. If not, stick with me to learn what we can do about all of this.
First and foremost, we must help the communities impacted by these increasingly worse storms and climate change itself. It’s often the poorest communities that are hit hardest and have a harder time recovering, and Michael is no exception. This mimics the pattern we see with climate change, which hurts low-income communities and communities of color the most.
If you are in a community hurt by a hurricane or climate change, you can contact FEMA and ask for help or ask them to direct you to where you can get help.
For those with electricity and fresh water, please help those in need. You can do this through a donation of course, but you can also contact your senators and ask them to push for an emergency status for the victims of disasters or to ensure FEMA help is reaching everyone that needs it.
To take it a step further, anyone can contact state senators and representatives and ask them what your state or community is doing to adapt to climate change and whether these strategies are being put in place for every community, regardless of income or color.
Fight Climate Change
Climate change is here now, and Michael is just one example of how it’s changing our lives for the worse. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report from early October says we have around a dozen years to stop the worst that climate change can bring (here’s a brief video summary if reading that report looks daunting…as it does to me).
This means we’re facing two potential futures: one in which governments and businesses continue to do little or nothing to change how much gas, oil, and coal they pump into our air and then whatever happens, happens; or one in which we all work together—individuals, legislators, and businesses—to save our clean water, breathable air, and ability to grow enough food.
We have this chance now, so let’s take it. The easiest way I have discovered to fight climate change is as a member of Mothers Out Front. Easy sounds like a strange word to use, but it’s so much easier to take action with your peers beside you than to stay awake from 2:00 AM to 4:00 AM every night worrying that your eight-year-old son—sleeping down the hall right now—won’t have clean water when he’s 20.
After joining Mothers Out Front and taking real action—for me that’s been stopping a pipeline and helping mothers in other states work for clean energy legislation—I’ve, well, still had some sleepless nights. But I have hope. And slightly smaller bags under my eyes.
If Hurricane Michael has you feeling scared and hopeless, I encourage you to fight climate change alongside me and turn “whatever” into hope.