I’ve been watching world leaders from 195 countries for two weeks as they try to agree upon a framework for a safe and livable global climate. I scroll through press releases praying that the deal will be ambitious in reducing global emissions, and that support will be given to those most impacted by global changes—often women, low-income people, and people in developing regions of the world.
But right now, Redding, my mind is on you, and what climate change is already doing to you while our leaders talk. It breaks my heart to watch the bathtub rings steal our lakes. It makes me sick when summer wildfire smoke gets so thick it isn’t safe to go outside. And of course as droughts, fires and floods become increasingly common, economies are forced to go through challenging transitions. Food prices become more volatile. Emergency resources are spread more thinly. Incomes drop as tourism and agriculture suffer.
Homelessness increases from local climate hardships and economic crashes, and from the climate refugees that must flee their low-lying cities. These challenges and changes will hit hardest rural communities struggling with poverty. Climate change and its reverberating social and economic impacts will not be kind to Redding.