This is a heavy topic for a first blog. But these are heavy times, as we confront a pandemic that has echoes of the climate crisis: who is affected; who is most vulnerable; who is on the front lines of responding; who has the resources to protect themselves and their loved ones and who does not have that privilege; the adequacy of government measures or their insufficiency; the political, technological, and scientific solutions; the short and long term effects on the economy; the toll on our individual and collective mental health. The list goes on. The COVID-19 pandemic, is, unfortunately, a terrible window into the impacts of climate change that are coming, and some that are already here.
Obviously, we, collectively, are preoccupied with the pandemic. We want to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe. “At this frightening stage of the crisis,” The Conversation points out in a piece about the convergence of the two crises, “ it’s difficult to focus on anything else.” Yet, we know that Climate change isn’t letting up just because there is a global pandemic.” We know that we are in a climate emergency, and “watching the C-19 outbreak unfold is like watching a time-lapse of the climate change crisis,” says the climate scientist Michael Mann in this recent editorial. He and his co-author use the opportunity to remind us that the time to act on climate change, just like COVID-19, is here.
But what can you do about climate change during a pandemic? A lot of the same things you can do anyway. It may feel obvious, but in the words of the Climate Action Team: Go Green/Vote Blue. There is a shocking overlap between climate denial and COVID denial, often propagated by the same right-wing and Republican politicians and networks that are blocking climate action. Denying and ignoring the science about the virus had drastic negative consequences, just as it is having for climate change.
So one of the best things you can do is vote for candidates up and down the ballot who have solid plans to address climate change locally, nationally, and globally. And you should multiply that by helping turn out others to vote for them too. If your DA chapter needs help learning about candidates’ climate plans, volunteer to do that research (or get in touch with the Climate Action Team!). Does your chapter have a get-out-the-vote program? If so, make sure you’re signed up. Here are some voter contact and GOTV actions (each highlighted word here is a separate link) you can do from home, or in remote groups. Once you’ve committed to that, here is a great list from Grist.org that ranges from the personal to the political for climate action, taking into account the need for social distancing.
Finally, a reminder that the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is coming up, and the Climate Action Team put together a Toolkit full of original, inspiring ideas for ways to get yourself and your community involved and educated (virtually). There is also amazing wearable and shareable content for you to use to encourage your networks to Go Green/Vote Blue, like this seed packet.
This is the first blog in a hopefully weekly series about current events, climate change, and women, a part of the Climate Action Team’s 2020 Go Green/Vote Blue campaign. We hope you’ll get involved!