This is not breaking news. Smoke is now a regular feature of summer here in the American West. These semi-apocalyptic scenarios, which include fires, rising seas and floods, drought, and extinction, will become a horrible “normal” unless governments act at an alarming pace to reduce and eliminate fossil fuel pollution in our lifetimes.
The new thing is that the world is becoming more aware of these dangers. They are present in our daily lives.
We are also smart enough to see that this is not the case. Our fault.
The narrative must shift from one that focuses on individual responsibility (if this lightbulb is turned off, I’m saving planet), to one that emphasizes corporate and government accountability. This means that the United States has to force Congress into enacting comprehensive climate legislation. According to the science, Biden’s administration says it intends to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. The lawmakers will be required to get us there. However, they have not shown the willingness (or ability) to make these changes.
This struggle must be joined by more people who place institutional accountability above individual behavior. Without constant pressure from citizens, governments or corporations will continue doing the same thing for decades — claiming they support clean energies while continuing to emit deadly pollutants into this atmosphere.
It’s not unusual to look out at wildfire smoke, record temperatures or severe storms and think “this can’t be done.” It’s not impossible. It’s not your fault. Please remove these thoughts from your head.