For the first time in the nearly 19 years that I’ve lived in the southwest of England, I am seeing weather warnings of temperatures at or near 40C (104F). Prior to that it was a rare and hot summer day that got as high as 30 (86). It’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen snow, though I used to see some snow nearly every year.
One might argue that at least those temperatures are survivable and temporary. Things will settle back down to normal and that will be that. But here’s the problem: there is absolutely no guarantee that temperatures will always be survivable. There is nothing stopping heat waves from getting up to 60 (140) or 70 (158). Or even higher than that.
Those kinds of temperatures are realistic and possible thanks to climate feedback loops. Climate feedback loops make the impacts of key climate factors, such as temperature, stronger or weaker, higher or lower, starting a cyclical chain reaction that repeats again and again.
Meanwhile, back in America, some Republicans are slowly acknowledging the mess we’re in, though they are ignoring their part in getting us there in the first place. The loud and angry climate deniers of the past are melting away faster than the snowflakes they always were, flash fried by the naked summer heat of reality. As is so often true with Republicans, ever since they noticed that climate change can affect them and their money they are suddenly interested. Republicans lack the compassion to imagine what it’s like to be somebody else, but they certainly have a lot of compassion for themselves.
I for one will take whatever reason Republicans have for getting behind the science. Beggars, as they say, can’t be choosers. Global warming could turn out to be the one unifying cause that will join us together in the fight to save ourselves. But we have to act and we have to start now. We are running out of time.
Weak action is just as ineffectual as no action at all. So, should Republicans win in November it will be a huge blow for our fight against climate change. Republicans may be coming around and finally acknowledging that climate science is real, but they’re not nearly passionate enough to do anything significant about it. We can use them as spear carriers but not as chiefs. We have to make climate change a priority above everything else or we are finished.
What can you do? Speak out about climate change every chance you get. Encourage others to do the same. Put your words into action and make changes in your own life. Vote for and promote politicians who take climate change seriously. And vote blue in November. The 2022 midterms are the most important elections you will have ever voted in, and in the sense of a political feedback loop, each succeeding election will be more important than the last. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.