As someone who follows local and national news reports, I must tell you I am worried about the recent extreme heat and wildfires raging across the country. I feel for people who lose their lives and livelihoods to extreme weather, and I’m scared that it’s only a matter of time until it directly hits me and my community.
Seeing headlines in local news outlets covering these climate disasters made me realize that most news stories show no connection between them and their main cause: fossil fuels. This is dangerous, because many people will continue to refuse to see that longer, hotter and deadlier summers are caused and perpetuated by the disastrous coal, oil and gas projects—and the fossil fuel industry.
The science is clear—the longer we allow coal, oil and gas companies to dig and burn, the worse the impacts of the climate crisis will be. With every fraction of a degree of warming, we’ll see and suffer more extreme heat, droughts, floods, wildfires and hurricanes. But the fossil fuel industry continues to ignore these alerts and undermine our chances for a safer future, and CO2 emissions keep rising. We all know this is causing global heating, and resulting in extreme weather events, yet they keep digging, burning and profiting, with zero accountability.
Climate impacts—like the recent heatwaves and wildfires—disproportionately affect people and communities who are already marginalized and disadvantaged. People who did the least to cause the climate crisis suffer the worst from its impacts—they lose livelihoods, hope and worse: their lives—while oil companies continue to hit record profits. This is wrong on so many levels.
Local, regional and national media have an important role to play—and a moral obligation to tell the whole truth. It’s time to make one thing about extreme weather very clear: It’s not a “crisis” that just happens to us—it’s a crime, and the fossil fuel industry is to blame. And saying it once isn’t enough. Media has an important job to do to turn the tide of public opinion, and help the world avoid the worst of the climate impacts.
Please tell the real story about the climate crisis.
RESPONSE: Virginia, our effort to cover climate change effectively is ongoing. I’d encourage you—and all our readers—to search the phrase “climate change” at goodtimes.sc to read the dozens of stories we’ve done on the subject, addressing everything from the county’s Climate Action Plan and youth activism to how climate change is affecting various aspects of our ecosystem. Many if not most of these stories address the issues you are talking about; for a recent examination, I’d recommend Erin Malsbury’s 2021 article “Has Covid-19 Changed Climate Activism for Good?” — Editor
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