As we once again start prioritizing repairs to major infrastructure damaged by severe flooding, pumping water out of our basements and begin searching our state, town and personal budgets for the needed funds, there is a question we need to ask ourselves. Are we ready to finally treat the climate crisis as the existential emergency it really is?
At the same time Vermont was receiving two months of rain in two days, other countries all over the planet were also experiencing unprecedented rains and flooding.
Also simultaneously, southern parts of this country were experiencing an unrelenting, life-threatening heatwave. On the day I write this, the predicted high for Phoenix, Arizona is 110 degrees. Nightfall will bring no relief with a predicted low of 92. Over the next 10 days, Phoenix temperatures are all predicted to be over 100. Most above 110. The 92-degree low for today will be exceeded for the next 9 days. Saturday will see a low of 97.
The cause? A heat-trapping blanket of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is continuing to grow. Last year we again dumped a record amount of carbon into our atmosphere. We are polluting our atmosphere and paying the price, literally and figuratively. Yet the federal government continues to issue permits for fossil fuel projects, and the Vermont Public Employees Pension Fund continues to invest those pension dollars in the fossil fuel industry, funding those projects with your money.
It is way past time we all actively get engaged to help reverse the trajectory of this threat to our civilization. But how? The answer is to join and get actively involved in one or more of the many organizations fighting for real change and to vote for representatives at every level of government who will work for our future and transition away from fossil fuel.
Third Act Vermont is a working group of Third Act.org, a national group founded by Vermont/Ripton resident Bill McKibben. Third Act is a group for the over 60 crowd, working toward climate solutions, including defunding the fossil fuel industry and electing representatives who will advocate for real changes.
Third Act Vermont can be found through our website at thirdactvt.org. Other options are 350.org; Sierra Club at actsierraclub.org and sunrisemovement.org.
We are at a point of inflection, running out of time. Sitting back is not an option.
John Woodland, Brattleboro and Robert Small, Stannard,Third Act Vermont Volunteer Coordinator and Third Act VT Coordinating Committee