The West Coast looks like a doomsday landscape due to wildfires fanned by climate change that have consumed more than 5 million acres of land over the past month. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and over 35 have been killed so far. Smoke created by all the burning blocked out the sun, filling coastal cities with the dirtiest air on the planet. And now this air has drifted east. This is yet another event in the global climate crisis unfolding before our eyes. Along with the fires, there have been record high and low temperatures worldwide, massive tropical storms, and erratic weather patterns.
What are politicians doing about it?
In a visit to California, Trump went head to head with governor Gavin Newsom at a press conference, where each posed their takes on the crisis. No one was surprised when Trump claimed that the fires were a result of improper forest management, or a failure to “rake the forest.” When Newsom pushed back, rightfully pointing out that the hotter temperatures and dryer climates are caused by global warming, Trump said that things would cool off soon. In fact, the Democratic governors of California, Washington, and Oregon have all pushed the message that these are climate change events, countering Republican claims indicating otherwise. But that is all the Democrats have done about climate change – paid it lip service.
We are in this mess because Democrats as well as Republicans have taken no significant moves to stop our dependence on fossil fuels. California has been a national center of fossil fuel extraction for over a century and, rather than slowing that down, Newsom has recently expanded the market with new pipelines and fracking projects for natural gas production. So, in spite of the fire catastrophes getting worse each year, the Democrats join the Republicans in making the situation even worse.
We cannot rely on any of these politicians. They don’t represent the interests of the vast majority, the 99 percent. The good news is that, because we are the vast majority and do the work that makes society function, we do not have to rely on them. We can organize and demonstrate and strike – do whatever it takes to get what we need to survive.