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The climate crisis is approaching the point of no return and the consequences are unsettlingly parallel to those of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By: Anna McClean

First off, let’s get our facts straight with some of the latest climate-related US news updates:

A recent NPR article highlighted a September 20th study by Nature stating that wildfire smoke has erased 25% of the progress made by the Clean Air Act since 2000. The article also recommended installing in-home air filters and wearing N95 masks outdoors. Yes, those heavy-duty white masks we thought were an object of the past.

A September 30th article in The National quoted Governor Kathy Hochul on New York City’s flash floods, titling them “the new normal.” Sound familiar?

“[Fashion Week shows] were interrupted by climate protests and signs calling for the end of animal exploitation (also implicated in greenhouse gas emissions),” according to Time magazine in an article published September 30th. This may seem a bit drastic considering almost every clothing article nowadays has a “sustainably sourced” or “climate-conscious” label, but Time says that “overall the industry is far away from meeting any science-based emissions targets, so further efforts are necessary.”

The overall understatement and denial of a severe situation, resulting in it getting worse… It’s almost like there’s a pattern emerging here. Moreover, the fashion industry isn’t even the biggest offender in this eerily-familiar global emergency.

“Even optimistic projections of [The Inflation Reduction Act’s] impact show barely any decline in American production of fossil fuels over the next decade,” said science writer David Wallace-Wells in a September 27th New York Times article. “Some existing fossil fuel assets [will] have to be ‘stranded’ to meet the world’s ambitious goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Former United Nations Climate Chief, Christiana Figueres, voiced her belief that fossil fuels firms no longer deserve a seat at climate conversations, telling NBC News that this attitude-180 is because she just “ran out of patience.”

A graphic of a hand putting a voting ballot in a box.
Graphic By: Tamar Ponte

Figueres’s sudden and public change in her stance on this issue is understandable, as we can no longer afford to be tolerant of environmentally detrimental companies and practices because time is running out. Masks are making a comeback, extreme flooding is “the new normal,” and I, for one, do not want to get stuck inside my house with no end in sight for the second time in my life.

All this is to say: please stay informed, inform others, and most importantly, take action. This not only means reducing, reusing, and recycling, but also paying attention to politicians’ positions on climate policy. Vote not just based on your hopes for the future but to ensure that there is a future.


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