It’s Important to Keep Talking About Climate Change Now

In the midst of a pandemic with an immediate and visible toll on human life and the economy, other ongoing crises have fallen lower on the public’s radar. But environmentalists are finding ways to keep climate change relevant by advocating loudly for an agenda that protects people as well as the planet.

A consensus seems to be emerging from environmental groups that climate change and coronavirus are both massive global problems that may require similar strategies to solve. Each requires a combination of individual action and sweeping, potentially unpopular political policies. Both bleed across political and social boundaries but affect the most vulnerable populations (even if the vulnerable are usually not the ones spewing carbon into the atmosphere or partying close together in Miami Beach).

Both will progress too far to effectively contain if we wait until we can see the impact of the crisis, but it’s hard to convince people to change if they can’t see the results. Both are growing exponentially, overwhelming the systems we rely on to sustain our daily lives. In the case of each crisis, we knew in advance that things could become apocalyptically bad.

Coronavirus has made it sharply clear that ignoring science can be deadly, and that placing responsibility for widespread crises on individual choice instead of government negligence can stall any realistic solutions. Those are lessons that environmental groups have tried to hammer home for years.

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