I want history to take note. I want this year to be noted for all time as the year environmentalists threw down the gauntlet. The year they got organized. The year they kept pace with big oil on campaign spending. The year we won.
It might not look that way right now and devout climate deniers are going to take very powerful positions after this election. But I still see a story of hope. I only ever see a story of hope. It’s how I stay alive.
Don’t get me wrong, I am heartbroken and deep down, if I let myself feel it, I am terrified. Terrified about how far Republicans will go to repeal environmental regulations on oil and coal when taxing carbon is the one thing we need to do right now to holistically and dramatically decrease carbon emission. Terrified of crazy right wing tactics and how they twist the truth. I get what’s at stake. Environmentalists have already scared me into signing online petitions with promises of the horror that will come from Mitch McConnell's anti-environmental agenda.
But you know what? Screw that. Screw @bradplumer his totally dismal view on this midterm election and the dour title of his article: The biggest loser in this election is the climate. You know what @bradplumer climate did become a defining issue. From marches on Washington to candidate support, environmentalists got together this year around a common message and invested financially and significantly in this election. We got candidates to speak, in public, about a totally divisive issue. We didn’t #WinOnClimate, completely. But we had a hashtag and that counts for something. Seriously. People identified as a #climatevoter. Candidates engaged people around this issue. They made public statements about a subject that might very well not get them elected, and they did it anyway because this is the year environmentalists threw down the gauntlet. So whether they won or not is not the point. This year, environmentalists took a stand and politicians stood with them, and that deserves a nod in history.
And of course candidates were defeated. I don’t think we are all shocked that environmentalist money didn’t beat out big oil money. Plus, according to polls people keep posting, part of this country doesn’t even believe climate change exists.
But you know what I think? I think people who “deny” climate change are just scared. They are scared to believe climate change is real and they should be because we have made it sound very, very, very scary. Like the biggest, scariest most terrifying thing you could ever imagine. Worse than any destruction Hollywood has put on screen. I mean, we have told everyone it is the end of the world as we know it. And that is scary stuff.
Then there are those nice old white guys who tell these scared people, “no way, you don’t need to believe all that crazy talk. Those kooky environmentalists just want to destroy the economy and destroy America.” So people are like, “cool, whew. Because that s*&% is freaky. Good to know they are just un-American.”
But we know the truth.
As @bradplumer concludes in his gloomy piece, this election “means that if anything's going to change, it may have to happen outside Congress.” That's right @bradplumer. That is exactly what this election shows us. It is a point that was actually driven home in this midterm by, of all people, the stoners of America. Are they are waiting on Congress? Hell-to-the-no. They are clear that old white guys in deep red states are never going legalize pot. They know they have to go around those old dudes.
So here we go. Keeping watch, of course, on Mitch and Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, next chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and others. Signing online petitions telling Congress what we want and what we don’t. Shining a spotlight on the crazy shenanigans this bunch is going to pull.
We could also tell inspiring stories. We could stop scaring people with the latest IPCC report in which “the world’s leading scientists released their gravest warning yet about the threat of climate change, saying we will face ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts’ unless we act now” all while knowing perfectly well that Congress will not be acting any time soon.
We can continue plans for a carbon tax both nationally and at the state level. We can incentivize emission reduction. We can work with the western state governors and mine the solar background of newly elected State Senator Bob Hertzberg to show off good policy. We can use some of that billionaire election money to invest in alternatives. We can share our vision of an energy economy that is clean and strong. We can invite more people into this vision.
We can make great strides.
We can keep writing history.
A Bit About Me
I am Tenaya, a communications strategist and public speaker telling stories that connect, inspire...and laugh.