Climate Thoughts Amidst a Pandemic

By Lynn Fitz-Hugh, Community Engagement Director, Thurston Climate Action Team, March 20, 2020

And then the world went upside down.   

How are you all doing?  Very few of us saw this pandemic coming and all of our lives have been affected.  From health concerns, to critical economic impacts, to loss of normal routine, to social isolation and lack of access to important life supports, all of us are having to make big changes.

As a climate activist, some of the problems we are currently facing are scenarios I have anticipated happening due to climate change.  But they have come on much more suddenly than a changing climate would have caused them. For the most part, thankfully, they will only be temporary.

We at TCAT invite you to consider what this pandemic has to teach us about living with climate disruption.

For example,

  • We are running into food shortages, but these are just temporary shortages from overbuying.  With climate disruption, drought conditions will create real food shortages.
  • With climate disruption, extreme weather events will cause loss of crops, as well as the loss of jobs and housing which people are now experiencing.
  • Society is under stress now. Future apocalyptic climate scenarios show extreme stress and breakdown of society.

We are starting to learn what we need to do in a world that appropriately stops greenhouse gas emissions.

  • We are learning that while it is not okay to have to miss a funeral, that it may not be necessary to fly all the way across the country to attend to a conference.
  • We are learning that a teleconference can still bring us vibrant speakers.
  • As many of us are given the opportunity to telecommute, employers are being pushed to really find out for the first time how much can be done from home.
  • We can learn where we need to build resilience and support into our society to protect the most vulnerable.
  • We are learning that we can let go of a fixed notion of “normal” or “the way it has always been.”  Some of that learning may help us to more easily make changes we have needed to make, but have not yet made.

We need to dedicate ourselves to working hard on climate issues. If we don’t prepare to mitigate and adapt to climate change, we and our descendants will be forced to live permanently with the problems we are facing right now.

How can we fight climate change in an upside-down world? 

By going virtual!  TCAT has cancelled all in-person meetings for now, including our Earth Day event, Hands On for the Climate: Action for Earth Day 50.  But there is still a lot we can do to reduce climate disruption.

We are blessed that technology provides a bridge for connection in these very isolating times. Many folks that have never been on a zoom “meeting” or gone to a “webinar” are now finding that these are things worth exploring and that they work better than we thought they would.

So how can you join us now?  

See you online!

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