In Florida, Waiting for Irma … Finding Hope in Despair

I write this from the relative safety of Gainesville Florida as we wait for Hurricane Irma to pass over us late tonight.

On the heels of the devastation our nation has witnessed in Houston Texas after Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 barreled down on it, our country then watched Irma, a category 5, one of the largest, most powerful hurricanes ever to form in the Atlantic, set on a pathway toward Florida. We watched it ravage the Caribbean and Cuba, and we have waited to see what kind of damage it will do to us. Within a matter of weeks, two Category 4 hurricanes hit the mainland of the United States.

Meanwhile, we became aware that there were two other hurricanes brewing nearby. One of them, Hurricane Jose  also set to grow to an unprecedented size and is also currently a formidable category 4.

This is unprecedented. This hurricane season has been unprecedented. This wildfire season has been unprecedented. This flooding has been unprecedented.

This is what climate scientists have been warning us about. Right now, some people may be just beginning to understand why we have been sounding the alarm.

It is so appealing to think that the worst damage of climate change is far off. It is so appealing to think that we have time to handle this, time to choose to take action. Time to wait to take personal responsibility. Time to cast blame onto others. Time to talk conspiracy theories, time to debate, and time to continue with business as usual.

But nature is sending us a message. Our time has run out. Incremental action and business as usual is not a choice. It is more expensive by far to continue our dependence on fossil fuel’s then it is to make an urgent and dramatic transition to a clean energy future. Where there is a will, there is a way. There are no excuses when we are all fighting for our lives. And it’s time that we all understand that that’s what this is about.

And yet, in the midst of this urgent and dramatic warning, we must find a way to amplify hope.

Tulsi Gabbard has just introduced  the most progressive clean energy bill ever. We have the technology to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and turn it into brick. Turn it into buildings, into furniture, into products, into energy. Renewable energy is cheaper than ever before and has the power to democratize our energy systems and save millions of people thousands of dollars. The food that we throw away every day can be easily turned into fuel through biogas generators.

So while we look at these images of devastation, while our hearts go out to the thousands of victims of climate change, while we watch our friends become those victims .. let us please, please, please strengthen our resolve to become the solution. To never again allow climate deniers to control our government. To never again allow companies like Exxon mobile receive billions upon billions of dollars from our tax dollars while they promote technology that destroys our cities and destroys lives. It is time for all of us to engage. To pay attention to our government and to pay attention to ourselves. To constantly examine how we can continue to do better.

So I ask, in addition to giving to the victims of these hurricanes, think long and hard about what you can do to help solve the problems that created this devastation to begin with. And to resolve to do more.

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