The Tides They Are A Changin'
Published October 18, 2022 / Updated November 8, 2022

The Tides They Are A Changin'

Climate change, women’s reproductive rights, individual sexual autonomy, voting rights, and more are on the ballot in November and voting is our only way of protecting these rights and our future.

by Susan E. Stutz

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Someone holding up a sign that reads, "If climate was a bank, you would have saved it already."

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Come senators, congressmen, Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt, Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin', Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls, For the times they are a-changin'
–Bob Dylan (1964)

I have lived in Florida for well over 40 years and have experienced more hurricanes than I care to remember. I was 10 years old when David came through in 1979 and while it was only a Category 2 storm at the time of landfall in Florida, it went across the Dominican Republic and the Lesser Antilles as a Category 5 storm. More than 2,000 people died and there was $1.5 billion in damages. I remember standing on my back porch and seeing my childhood friend coming down the street on his bike during the time the eye–and the blue skies within it–went over us. I learned how simultaneously devastating and eerily beautiful the weather could be. Since then, I have spent half of every year (June through November) watching the coast of Africa as storm after storm comes rolling off of her shores.

Since 1979, there have been over 150 hurricanes that have affected Florida, and every year, the fear is the same. Will it be another Andrew (1992)? Another Irma (2017)? Well, this year, those fears once again became reality as Ian, a mere 2 miles per hour shy of officially being designated a Category 5 storm, came thundering ashore on Florida’s gulf coast. Ian left a death toll of more than 100, an estimated $47 billion in damages, and may very well turn out to be the costliest storm in Florida’s history (almost double that of Andrew).

Every year, the Hurricane season gets more frightening as more and more storms become behemoths as they travel across the not-so-narrow seas. Watching them race across the oceans on television is one thing, living in them is quite another. You only need to experience one hurricane to understand how horrific it can be. And, thanks to humanity's ongoing disregard for the environment, those deadly storms are becoming the norm. Since 1979, there have been more than 500 tropical storms in the Atlantic. With a few exceptions, every year since 1995 has seen double-digit storm numbers with more than 50 in 2020 and 2021 alone. While not all of those became Category 5 storms, they do not have to be to wreak havoc.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that when we pollute the planet, there are inevitably going to be devastatingly negative consequences. There is no way around it–our behavior has brought destruction to our doorstep. We pollute our skies more and more which causes more heat to bear down on our polar caps, melting the ice which in turn raises sea levels. Increased sea levels threaten wildlife, farming capabilities, and our drinking water. Greenhouse gasses trap solar emissions, the heat from which ends up being stored in our ocean. These warmer waters feed the tropical storms that then grow into something terrifying.

It is obvious that we are still not doing enough to mitigate the damage we are doing to the environment. Despite the global conversation on climate change, greenhouse gasses continue to rise and damage continues to be done to the only home humanity has ever known. While Earth's current inhabitants will not be around when our planet has finally had enough of our antics, our descendants will suffer the consequences.

And, as if we needed any more signs that our legislators are uninterested in the citizens who live in the states most adversely affected by weather catastrophes, we need only look at what happened in recent weeks. A mere handful of days after watching what was essentially a Category 5 storm thrashing Florida’s west coast, the state’s GOP legislators voted against a bill that provided funding to FEMA. Florida Senators Rubio and Scott then insisted that the Federal Government do more–and do it quickly–for the state of Florida in response to Hurricane Ian. Adding insult to injury, Rubio did not even bother to show up for the vote on FEMA funding demonstrating once again how little he cares for the people he is tasked with representing. And, he does this while he is running for reelection. The arrogance is astounding.

In the politically charged atmosphere of 2022, it should come as no surprise that there are many candidates whose interests do not align with our own. And, when we vote for those who share different values, that vote can be one cast against our own self-interests. And, not just on the issue of climate change. Our vote has consequences for women’s rights, voting rights, and education to name but a few.

Many ignore the midterms, thinking them to be less important than presidential elections. But, as election day approaches, we need to remember that whoever is elected to the Senate will serve there for the next 6 years giving them ample time to either lift up this country or hasten its demise. Governors serve 4-year terms during which much damage can be done at the state level. It is much to consider when determining who we will vote for and why.

Climate change, women’s reproductive rights, individual sexual autonomy, voting rights, and more are on the ballot in November and voting is our only way of protecting these rights and our future.

Send voteSee all voting-related features to Resistbot to see everything the bot can do to help you not only vote, but volunteer, and get other voters to the polls. Brand new for this year: a brand new version of vote drives that allow you to create a drive for a candidate up-or-down ballot in just a few seconds, just like our petitions.

Want to let your representative know how you feel about the issue of climate change? Check out these petitions from the Resistbot community.

Want to create your own petition? You can do so with any letter that you send to either your state or federal government. Just follow the prompts after sending your letter. We also have this handy guide for organizers.

Thank you to Elena and Chris E.

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