Queensland Flood--The Long Storm of Climate Change
If you haven't heard, a rainstorm in Australia has caused the worst flooding in generations in the state of Queensland. Rivers in the area broke free, and Australia's third-largest city, Brisbane (population 4.5 million), has seen major damage in a crazy-short period of time. Thousands of people are suddenly without homes.
And without cars, too: check out this CRAZY video of a parking lot of cars being washed away by the flash flood.
At first, I wondered if a flood in Queensland was a little "random" to blog about, but this really strikes a chord with me. Which chord, you ask? Well, the "global warming is gonna do crazy and terrible things to our societies" chord.
Climate change is leading to more intense storms and weather extremes. Ask the people around you (and around the planet), and most will agree that the weather has been unusual lately. A poll conducted by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California recently found that 54% of Californians believe the effects of global warming have already begun. (Notably, closer to 60% of people of color believe this, compared to 48% of white Californians.)
We have much to do to ensure that our communities have the resilience to weather "the long storm" that global warming will bring. It will take a lot of leadership, a lot more community building and social capital, a lot of community action, a lot more clean energy, and a lot less fossil-fuel-burning before we are ready. Low-income communities in the U.S. and around the world have the most to lose. (Make no mistake, that's why we are doing our work at the Ella Baker Center on climate policy and super-charging the green economy.)
I also wonder how the growing number of floods and disasters will grow the movement of people wanting to advocate for policies that put people AND the planet before profits. One really interesting web page I came across is a survey of the harm to businesses and industries in the Queensland area. Climate change can be the great unifier. I am excited at the prospects for increasing the number of industry associations and business leaders on board with taking climate action.
In the meantime, hold the people and communities of Queensland, Australia in your hearts and prayers, and let's find ways to support them as they recover from their inland tsunami.
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