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Some Records Aren't Made to be Broken

​One of the great challenges facing the human species right now is our inability to internalize exponential growth and change. Recently, many of us got a first experiential taste of what it means for the climate crisis to be changing, not in a linear, but in an exponential fashion. In the past week Global temperature records have been repeatedly shattered. We experienced the hottest June in human history, and just last week the planet likely reached it’s highest global average temperature in the last 100,000 years! The oceans are experiencing titanic heat waves, in some areas five degrees Celsius above historical averages, while record floods deluge the entire Eastern seaboard, with some places receiving 10-20 inches of rain in just a few days. The temperature anomalies we're currently witnessing are truly terrifying. As Bill McKibben said in an interview earlier on Democracy Now, the line for temperature is not just off the charts, it’s off the wall on which the chart is printed! As an example, there was a night in Algeria last week where the temperature never fell below 103°. Closer to home, Texas has been boiling under a heat dome which has already killed over a dozen people. Scarily, it could have been much worse if Texas’ notoriously shoddy electric grid had failed, which, ironically, likely would have happened without the increased solar and wind capacity recently installed in the state. The signs of a screaming and sick planet are all around us, and the sustainable solutions are clear. People are clamoring for their governments’ to take action, unf​​ortunately, it appears that in the halls of power, donor money still holds more sway over government action than poisoned water or air, or raging wildfires, smog in the air, or homes swept away. This can be seen most garishly in Republican-controlled states, which passed anti-worker legislation during the crisis, removing mandated rest periods, like water breaks, for workers picking our food or building our roads, bridges, and infrastructure. The Democrats are often less overt in their anti-climate activity, but Biden’s approval of The Willow Project is no less destructive and nonsensical because mentions the existential crisis of climate change or passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Ultimately, though, the growing severity of the climate crisis is causing even the monied interests to see that something is profoundly wrong. For instance, insurance companies are beginning to refuse issuing home insurance in parts of Florida or California because of increased flood, hurricane, and wildfire risks. No matter which way you slice it, the data shows we’re creating a world where we can no longer continue with the status quo. Our patterns of life, from where we live, to how we get around, to how we power it all are going to change, and potentially change fast, whether we like it or not. The real unknowns are not if change is coming, but rather how much further the climate crisis will progress before changes occur, and who will bear the costs. In our current system we see time and again a government that’s slow to act, and when forced to intervene, protects the wealthy and powerful before the poor or marginalized. Without a paradigm shift in our politics it’s all too easy to imagine how things fall apart: an ineffective and apathetic government continues to shovel money towards elites, only delivering promised changes when profitable for their donors, dividing increasingly desperate people with bigotry and xenophobia as we lurch further into an unlivable future. To make sure change happens at the pace and scale needed for all of us to flourish will take more than just political action, it will take economic organizing as well. Politics is where the legislation we need can happen, but without economic heft, ordinary Americans’ political goals are easily ignored. So join us each Tuesday, in growing solidarity, as we work to build an economic cudgel that can force our government to take transformative action before it’s too late. #DSOT #UPM

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