By Alex Lasry
Last week’s severe weather, that knocked out power for tens of thousands of people across Southeast Wisconsin, is just the latest proof that climate change is real, and we are already seeing its profound effects on the people of Wisconsin.
This storm was just the latest in a series of severe weather events including downing trees, overflowing streams and rivers that has battered our area all summer inflicting massive property damage. We have seen Southeastern Wisconsin getting warmer year after year, and the repercussions are already impacting our everyday lives.
Rapid climate change means ecosystems cannot acclimate to the warmer environment. We are seeing increases in invasive species, reduced crop yields, wetter conditions that increase soil erosion and a more favorable environment for pests and pathogens (the mosquitoes, and their diseases, are here to stay).
Environmental justice and social justice are intertwined. Communities of color are already being disproportionately affected by climate change because of the history of cities pushing the dirtiest industries into their neighborhoods resulting in more chronic health issues from dirtier air.
Lower air quality and heat-related illnesses will affect Wisconsinites as more pollution in the air will affect people with preexisting or chronic medical conditions. We will all see more flooded basements, more power outages, sewer overflows and stormwater management issues that are becoming the norm.
As the world around us is rapidly changing, we need leaders in Congress who will make climate change a priority. We need to invest in public transportation and affordable green housing, make it easier for folks to incorporate eco-friendly living practices into their lives, and stand up to massive corporations that are prioritizing profits over our future.
We need action now. It cannot wait until the next decade, every day matters.
Even some Republicans have finally woken up and are admitting the clear dangers posed by climate change.
But not Wisconsin’s own Sen. Ron Johnson.
Johnson continues to claim that climate change is a hoax and he steadfastly refuses to do anything about it.
We as a state and as a country cannot continue to empower people like Johnson who would rather do everything in their power to continue to protect the polluters and their profits over the greater good for all the people.
We have to vote out Johnson in 2022 and replace him with a strong progressive who will vote to put the needs of our citizens and our environment first.
Now, more than ever, we have seen how important it is to look out for your neighbors. Good business and progressive values that help the environment go hand and hand. The world is at an inflection point and the crisis is a clear and present danger for humanity. The actions we take as a country in the next few years will make or break us. We are past the point of debate, and we need to get this done.