As someone who follows local and national news reports, I have to tell you that I am concerned about the recent extreme heat and wildfires raging across the country. I feel for the people losing their lives and livelihoods to extreme weather, and I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before it directly hits me and my community.
Seeing the local media headlines covering these climate disasters made me realize that most of the news reports show no connection between them and their root 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 disastrous coal, oil and gas projects – and the fossil fuel industry.
The science is clear – the more we allow coal, oil and gas companies to dig and burn, the more severe the impacts of the climate crisis will be. With every fraction of a degree of warming, we will see and suffer more extreme heat, droughts, floods, wildfires and hurricanes. But the fossil fuel industry continues to ignore these warnings and undermines our chances for a safer future, and CO2 emissions keep rising. We all know this causes global warming and leads to extreme weather events, but they continue to dig, burn and profit, without any accountability.
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Climate impacts – such as recent heat waves and wildfires – disproportionately affect people and communities who are already marginalized and disadvantaged. The people who have contributed the least to the climate crisis are suffering the most from its impacts. They are losing their livelihoods, their hope and, worse, their lives, while the oil companies continue to post 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 get one thing clear about extreme weather conditions. It is not a “crisis” that just happens to us; it’s a crime. And the fossil fuel industry is to blame. Saying it once is not enough. The media has an important job to do to turn the tide of public opinion and help the world avoid the worst climate impacts.
Please tell the real story of the climate crisis.