Within years, we could see rolling, concurrent climate disasters. Imagine a 125-degree heat wave (like this year in Australia) happening at the same time as our floods in western Iowa. When these disasters combine, the incurring losses to property and life multiplies. The recent National Climate Assessment warned that losses in the farming sector could reach billions of dollars per year by the end of the century.
Recycling more or using a reusable grocery bag, however, will not stop this trajectory. No change in an individual’s consumption will make more than a minuscule difference. Only institutional level change can avert these disasters, and that level of change requires political action. This means the most powerful thing you can do is to vote for candidates that support fast action on climate change.
Thousands of climate scientists are predicting we have about 12 years to take action, so who we vote for in 2020 is a major determinate of whether we avert catastrophic climate disasters. Unfortunately for Iowa, Sen. Joni Ernst has spent her time mocking solutions like the Green New Deal, attacking the Environmental Protection Agency, and attacking the popular, bipartisan Clean Water Act.
If Ernst continues to not lead on this issue, we need someone else in 2020 who will. Our survival as a species depends on it.