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Apr 21, 2020

COVID-19, the Climate Crisis and the Collective Power of Action

To put it mildly, the corona virus pandemic has been frightening and disruptive for everyone. The social angst on a global scale is quite unlike anything most of us have ever experienced before.And then there are those of us who have lost dear friends and family members and suffered immeasurable sadness. Yet for all the fear, sadness and uncertainty,the pandemic has noticeably brought us closer together as well.

Bound by a common cause and in celebration of our common humanity, people around the world are uniting in collective action, social distancing, and through everyday expressions of love and empathy. There are lessons to be learned through this experience. Just as collective action is the only effective response to COVID-19, it is similarly our only chance to limit the devastating effects of climate change. But how is the gap realistically bridged between these two issues?

Those with a platform must provide ample space and opportunity to frontline communities affected by climate change so that their stories can be told. Climate change isn’t just the intangible future threat many believe, but an immediate threat that has already severely disrupted the lives of millions of people around the world. Families are already being displaced with the increasing severity and regularity of natural disasters such as fires, floods, drought and hurricanes. Island nations and communities at or below sea level are already seeing their land disappear before their eyes. Where are these stories being told and are they being linked together under a common cause?

It is the stories of immediate loss and hardship that journalists, scientists and activists must highlight and analyze to underscore the collective action that is needed now. From these personal accounts of heroism and loss, others should come to understand that similar events await most of us in varying degrees if action is not taken by most of us on a personal level. And finally, efforts should be made to communicate the likely effects of climate change at a local level so that people can envision the immediate threat to their own livelihoods, homes and futures.

This article is the first of a series of posts we hope to sponsor, written by members of the Atmos community with real, personal experiences with climate change. Please share your climate story with and help further this conversation.

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