Last week over 50 massive tornadoes swept across the southern and eastern parts of the U.S in two days, hitting some 10 states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Delaware and more. The tornadoes have left at least 32 people dead, hundreds injured, thousands made homeless and/or jobless, and hundreds of thousands remained without power for days.
Most of the deaths were among the elderly and the poor, who did not have the means or the time to escape. The tornadoes lifted vehicles and flipped them over, ripped entire houses off the ground and tore them apart, destroying thousands of buildings, businesses, and even entire small towns. Some states have offered some temporary housing vouchers and rental assistance. But many of these expire in 30 days, after which no extra relief has been promised.
These tornadoes are part of the many extreme weather-related events that have been occurring with more frequency and intensity due to climate disruption. Hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, extreme heat, extreme cold, massive rainfall, intense flooding — all of these are increasing and putting our communities at risk. And each time there is a disaster, the negligence of the government is exposed, as they demonstrate their complete inability to respond to these disasters in any effective way. These climate catastrophes leave not only disrupted families, but refugees — increasing numbers of people who have lost their homes due to climate disasters.
The government is doing nothing to address this. Both Democrats and Republicans support the fossil fuel corporations that continue to dump more and more carbon into the atmosphere. Biden, despite his campaign promises to defend the environment, has approved increased fossil fuel extraction on federal lands, and increased offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The truth is, neither party is willing to prioritize the environment because their priorities lie with defending this system, in which the only priority is the profit of corporations, most of whom depend on fossil fuels and further environmental destruction.
The technology and resources do exist to address the climate emergency that we are in. We have the funds to offer victims of climate catastrophes guaranteed, lasting relief, including housing and jobs. We have the funds to bolster the infrastructure and energy systems of our communities to better prepare for further catastrophes that will come. And we have the technology to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy resources that don’t destroy the environment.
But none of this will happen under this system. Even though the working class produces all of the wealth of society, it is the owners of corporations and banks that control that wealth, and it is their interests that this system defends.
Under this system, all of us will become the victims of climate catastrophe. Our future, and the future of life on this planet depends on whether we can get rid of this system and replace it with one that puts the needs of humans and the planet first.