In Central Minnesota, we had been having an incredibly mild winter after a couple of serious fall blizzards, after which the temps got so warm that the snow quickly melted. Very little snow fell in December and January. I’d say we only have about a foot of snow on the ground today (February 22, 2021).
Our mild winter became bitterly cold for about two weeks in February, with the temps being in the teens and twenties below zero for most of that time. Our furnace could not keep up even though it was running almost non-stop. We could feel all of the drafts in our old house and didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning for the cold.
When the folks in Texas got a dose of cold weather typical to Minnesota in winter, I felt for their plight, especially when the power failed and they had no heat. We don’t mess around with that situation in Minnesota because we know how deadly it is. When power goes out, as it did a couple of times in my city in February, we’ve got power crews out immediately to get the electricity on lickety-split. Most power outages here don’t last much longer than an hour. Our gas service providers and furnace contractors are also quick to respond when we have problems in those areas, too. We’re prepared because we have to be.
Over 30 people died from the cold wave that spread through the middle of the country this month.
Texas was ill-prepared for this cold, which is one of the many signs we’ve seen of the extreme weather brought on by climate change.
How many more such incidents do we have to suffer before we get the message? Earth is telling us it’s sick of our sh!t and wants us to get it together to save the planet and ourselves.
How might we get it together?
As individuals, it might feel like we can’t do much about climate change caused by large industries, but we’re not powerless here. Some suggestions:
- Listen to and support the efforts of the Water Protectors, who are at the forefront of efforts to save the earth. They are already taking courageous action.
- Follow suggestions from climate scientists and other experts.
- Demand clean energy solutions from politicians, energy companies, and industry. If your power company already offers renewable energy, take advantage of it.
- Become a preservationist. Rather than consuming for the sake of consumption, question every purchase. Is it necessary? Might there be a more sustainable option? How long will it last? Can it be easily reused, deconstructed, or recycled once you are finished with the item? By limiting what you purchase, you’ll be limiting the resources needed from the earth. By purchasing sustainably-made consumer products, you will be sending a message to all manufacturers that they need to shift their production methods to meet consumer demand.
- That said, stop assuming capitalism is going to get us out of this situation without government regulation and assistance. We’ve seen what can happen when a state (Texas) decides it doesn’t want to deal with federal government regulations on energy and lets the capitalistic market run this sector on its own. The motive of capitalists is profit, so they are going to hog resources and cut corners in order to maximize that profit, often to the detriment of consumers and Earth. All-out capitalism is not the answer to climate change. Private industry needs to work in concert with government, the nonprofit sector, and individuals to come up with solutions.
- We need to stop electing authoritarians and other self-centered politicians to power. They are all about short-term gain for themselves and don’t care about the long-term viability of Earth or its inhabitants. (Did you see how quickly Trump threw his supporters under the bus throughout his presidency? Authoritarians care for no one but themselves, period, and there has been a rise in authoritarian leaders around the globe lately.)
- In order to prevent authoritarians and other self-centered politicians from cheating their way into power, we need to support a national voting rights act, put an end to gerrymandering, and demand tougher ethics laws that hold politicians to account for bad behavior. In short, we’ve got to fix our democracy by getting involved and demanding change.
- Stop denying that climate change has a human component. By acknowledging that *we* are the cause, we recognize that we have the power to solve this.
Remember, Earth is sick of our sh!t. It’s just gonna keep dishing out this extreme and deadly weather until we wake up and do something.
Look at how quickly average citizens responded to the pandemic by making masks when there was a clear shortage. We can solve climate change once we commit to it and focus our energies.