Outside of our doors and windows, we can see ash on our streets, homes, and schools. We feel it in our lungs. It’s easy to think this is strange weather, but the orange tint in the sky isn’t from a cloud. It’s from the pillars of wildfire smoke blotting out the sun.
Firefighters are bravely working to protect our communities and homes from wildfires in the northwest, while thousands of friends and families in other parts of the country are fighting off the punishing winds and floods of two hurricanes within three weeks of each other. And two others are forming as we speak.
This month brings a sobering reminder that the pain from these disasters is not natural. These are climate disasters. We are all affected by the rising temperatures, which turned our region known for rain and evergreen forests into a tinderbox vulnerable to wildfires. Low-income communities and communities of color are already disproportionately affected by poor air quality. In a time when some members of our community already fear for their lives because of racial inequity or hateful rhetoric, breathing unhealthy air is another threat that seems insurmountable.
As we come face to face with these grim outcomes, it is important to remember – every conversation, every vote, every action – moves us one step closer to a cleaner future. I’d like to ask all of you to join WCV in taking one real action on climate. Here are some ways you can join us.
- Assist with the recovery and emergency needs and make a donation to those on the frontlines.
- Write a letter to the editor at your local paper and ask them to include climate change as a reason for the increased frequency and intensity of these tragedies.
- Sign up to volunteer with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy and help forge a path towards a clean energy economy to combat the climate change threatening our forests.
- Pledge to vote in November so your voice is heard in the election.
- Have a conversation with your neighbors, family, and friends about these climate disasters. These can be tough conversations, but can be an opportunity for a much needed moment of unity.
Our first priority is extending our hearts and support to the victims of climate disasters. It is vital to underscore these tragedies as yet another reason why we can’t deny the reality of climate change and it takes everyone working together to build a better future.