Listen to Mother Out Front Laura Finngian-Heil from California:
This is the second time in my daughter’s short life that she’s seen, smelt, and breathed the acrid smoke wafting from California wildfires.
Never before in my life have I experienced anything like this. And now it’s the norm for my daughter’s.
But you know what? I’m glad we’re experiencing the effects.
Because it means we’re not the only ones.
The smoke thickens and clogs the air for hundreds of miles around, driving millions of people indoors to escape it.
Not even the rich and famous are protected from the flames licking at their doorsteps.
Because this is nature, and nature doesn’t know class, or status, or money, or race, or gender, or political party.
Very few in California are in some way unaffected by these wildfires.
And while my heart breaks for those who have lost their lives, their loved ones, and their homes, I am glad we’re sharing in the suffering.
Because now maybe we’ll all get uncomfortable enough to make a change.
Change is uncomfortable. It can be awkward and requires effort. To make a change, you must be so uncomfortable, that your present reality outweighs just how uncomfortable going through that change will be.
Are we uncomfortable enough yet?
We’ve known about global warming for decades, and change has been slow, and laborious, and hindered. There have always been bigger priorities. And a deluded opposition.
But we can no longer afford to think in those terms. This is not a matter of being uncomfortable or content. Of being afraid or feeling safe.
This is a matter of survival.
In a word: this is war.
We are fighting for a future for our children.
And like any war, we have enemies. Oil and gas companies and utilities putting profit before the welfare of humanity.
And like any in war, lives will be risked. Politicians risking the lives of our children and children’s children because they won’t even risk their funding.
And like any war, we refuse to see what’s happening at first. The reality is too grotesque to view unaltered. We hide from the truth until it’s too late to turn back.
And like any war, we can’t even begin to fathom the horror of its effects. Even if all carbon emissions ended today, a dangerous catalyst of effects is already unwinding. We do not know the long-reaching effects of the carbon already polluting our atmosphere.
Carbon cycle feedback & methane release.
Ocean levels rising.
But unlike any war, this enemy will not surrender. We must win this war proactively, or lose without a fighting chance.
Nature is an unstoppable force. We cannot beat the climate into submission. We cannot exert our will over its. We cannot play power games with it and win. We cannot showcase our strategic wiles to overcome it.
Natural forces do not care about the cost of human life.
So let these fires be the shot heard round the world for climate change.
Or else when will it be bad enough for us to take serious action?
When civil wars break out? When the air we breathe is toxic? When food is no longer taken for granted?
How many more lives must be lost?
We have to be ripped from the comfort of the day to day world we live in, deprived of any delusions that our world is inherently safe.
Maybe then, we’ll rise up as a people and unequivocally take back our dream for a better future. It is past time to get aggressive in demanding cleaner living. It is past time to change our lifestyle. It is past time to demand better from our leaders. It is past time to talk of solutions and quit the debate.
It is time to fight for our lives.
For like any war, we need heroes.
This time, we need the heroes that often go unsung.
We need mothers.
Mothers who will do anything to protect our children. Once mothers understand the enormity of the climate threat, there is nothing we won’t do to combat the catastrophic changes unfolding.
I recently joined a powerful grassroots movement, Mothers Out Front, that is organizing mothers to do exactly this. If you feel the same visceral terror at the thought of an unlivable planet in our children’s lifetime, I invite you to join us. Join us in the fight for a healthy environment today and a livable climate tomorrow for all children.
We have no time to wait.