A CHILLING REMINDER OF CLIMATE CHANGE

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Black History Month 2021 has come to an end. The month was short, but a lot happened during the 28 days that it lasted. For one, the state of Texas experienced its greatest winter storm in its history. Families went without power for up to 55 hours and more.

Texas’ leadership had been warned in 2011 that this kind of crisis would occur if the infrastructure was not upgraded, but the warnings went unheeded. The state has a standalone grid, which was within minutes of totally going down, which would have impacted everyone and would have been devastating.

Today they are still experiencing water issues. People have gone without food, and a couple of people lost their lives. People were not warned about the possibility of a catastrophe of that magnitude because Texas was not used to having harsh winter weather.

To add insult to injury, some people are facing electricity bills totaling $10,000 because of the state’s privatization policy. Price gouging reared its ugly head.

Basically, this storm sent a chilling message to us, one that we should heed: we need to finally acknowledge the reality of climate change. President Biden has taken a step in the right direction by re-joining the Paris Accord.

Another thing that occurred this past week was the touchdown of a NASA probe named “Perseverance” on the planet Mars.

Moreover, the HR40 legislation regarding reparations for slavery was subjected to a hearing. According to those who know, the witness list was not what it should have been, with significant people excluded from the discussion. The issue of reparations is one of the most important ones facing Black Americans. Reparations can go a long way toward helping to compensate Blacks for the treatment endured during slavery and the years following it, including the Jim Crow years, segregation, and more.

In the midst of all of this is the pandemic. There are good things and not-so-good things connected with this situation. New strains of the virus have been identified, but at the same time a growing number of citizens have been vaccinated. Some observers are saying that this is resulting in a reduction of infections in some areas of the country.

These are just a few of the twists and turns that we have experienced during this last week in February. And though these issues were crucial, some are arguably more crucial than others.

As important as all of them are, one trumps them all: climate change. If we have no viable planet on which to reside, reparations will pale in importance, as will almost anything else that we can identify. If the planet is ruined, racism will end up being irrelevant due to lack of a platform on which to enforce it.

Actually, it is ironic that during the same week that the planet experienced some of the worst weather possible, NASA’s probe landed on Mars. When considering this, some people have speculated that the thrust for engagement with Mars may be connected with a movement among certain powers-that-be to seek another planet on which to live because of the irreparable damage done to this one.

While this can be seen as wild speculation, the truth of the matter is that we are fast approaching a point of no return and that it might be too late to turn the tide and rescue the planet.

In this regard, it might actually be true that some of the wealthiest individuals on Earth would plan to leave the planet. In fact, billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos both have announced a serious intent to leave Earth to colonize Mars (Elon) and the Moon (Jeff).

When Texas experienced the incredible devastation that resulted in no water, food, and shelter, it should have served as a glance of what the future might hold for the rest of humanity if we don’t get it together.

There are those who say that it is already too late, when assessing the very obvious changes in climate that have seen the advent of bigger and stronger storms, famine, and unpredictable weather. Couple this with the garbage that is literally killing our oceans and choking our wild life and you can see the big picture!

Considering the foregoing, Black people need to include the development of survival plans that include care for the planet while at the same time figuring out how to cope in a racist environment. Both strategies are important. A Luta Continua.

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