This Thanksgiving, a reckoning on climate
I find it impossible to set aside the looming uncertainty of climate change, even as we prepare to gather and give thanks.
Over the past few days, especially, we’ve been confronted with tangible reminders of both the good and bad paths we could be heading down as a country and as a planet.
First, this year’s Thanksgiving holiday takes place amid a tragic background: The Camp Fire has become one of the worst American disasters of the 21st century. More than 75 people have died and hundreds are still missing.
As I reported last week, the conditions that led to the fire’s rapid spread were off the charts — the air was so dry, it was sucking water out of the land. Millions of people across California have been breathing smoke-laden air for approaching two weeks, a full-blown public health emergency. And now, heavy rain is on the way, potentially complicating the search for victims’ remains and creating fresh disaster risk in the form of mudslides.
Out of this harrowing tragedy have come remarkable tales of survival and a renewed sense that climate change is now an emergency. It’s a moment that’s made it clearer than ever that there’s no time left to compromise on preserving a habitable planet. This is a moment for grief — and a reckoning.
Climate change demands so much of us: The world is changing so quickly that climate scientists are giving self-care tips. But there is also an emerging portrait of a resilient world that is taking shape.
Our new Congress is going to have some of the strongest, most progressive voices for climate change in our country’s history. There are fresh faces advancing bold policies like a Green New Deal, and Senator Bernie Sanders has announced a forthcoming town hall meeting on climate change that’s sure to gather even more steam for the movement.
As we head home to reconnect with loved ones, remember that we all have a role to play in steering our society toward that better future. And it starts by being honest about where we are and the choices we have to make as soon as possible. Sara Peach has an excellent six-step guide to compassionate climate conversations — well suited for Thanksgiving dinner, in my opinion.
This transitional moment in our history brings opportunity amid the loss. It’s not only the end of something (civilization as we knew it); it feels like the beginning of something better.