Sending helicopters to Houston, letters to Congress

Helicopter rescue Hurricane Harvey climate change impacts

AMO and Special Operations agents respond to Hurricane Harvey.

Sending helicopters to Houston, letters to Congress

By Davia Rivka

A version of this article originally appeared on Davia’s personal blog.

As I read story after story about Hurricane Harvey, I find myself sobbing. I can’t stop myself—from reading or crying. Water raging down otherwise quiet streets. Cars floating away like toy boats. People trapped in their homes. Families carrying food up to the second floor—if they have food, if they have a second floor. Unanswered tweets for help. A pregnant woman trapped. A small girl on a ventilator but no power. A man in a boat floating by his street sign. Helicopter after helicopter after helicopter. And on and on and on.

I feel helpless. And I can’t quiet the screaming inside my head. This is climate change! Now will you listen? This is climate change! I’m not some kook going off half-cocked. I’m not some tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, polar bear-loving fanatic (and so what if I were?). I’m not a railer or a ranter. I’m just a gal who loves this world.

I’ve done everything I know how to do to get people to pay attention. To take action. Before we all get washed away. But somehow it hasn’t been enough. Or I haven’t said the right words. Or I haven’t used the right tone of voice. Because there are still so many people who yawn or change the subject when I talk climate change. Because there are still people who think this is my personal cause and not theirs. Because there are still people who snort and guffaw.

I feel helpless. Houston, the fourth largest city in the US, has been devastated by an unprecedented amount of rainfall. People are terrified. They are without power, without food, without hope of rescue. And it feels as though I am standing idly by, watching as they drown. It feels as though there is nothing I can do.

But I remind myself that that isn’t true. I am not helpless. I can act. I am acting.

I speak up—even when it seems no one is listening. I raise my voice, knowing that at times it is swallowed by the wind. And I remind myself that the whole of Houston is not on my shoulders alone. I can only do the part that is mine to do.

And so can you. Here are five powerful actions you can take today:

  1. Find the name of your member of Congress (MoC) at house.gov.
  2. Visit your MoC’s website to see what they are doing about climate change.
  3. Write to your MoC. Here’s a sample outline:
    • Introduce yourself and express your sadness and shock over the catastrophe unfolding in Southeast Texas with Hurricane Harvey.
    • Connect the dots between Harvey and climate change, as climate scientist Michael Mann does in this article.
    • Mention how your community is at risk from climate change, particularly if we continue with business as usual.
    • Ask them to support Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation that puts a rising fee on carbon and returns the revenue to households.
    • Ask representatives who are not already on the Climate Solutions Caucus to join the caucus. Thank them if they are already on the caucus. Ask senators to form a group like the Climate Solutions Caucus in the Senate.
    • Ask for a reply.
  4. Submit your letter through CCL’s online action tool.
  5. Share these steps and keep making a difference.

When I link arms with people across the country, around the world, we can be a mighty force. We are not helpless. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Sending prayers to Houston. And helicopters.

Davia Rivka is a Los Angeles-based climate change warrior who is hard at work on her second book: a collection of inspirational stories about the extraordinary work of Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers. Check out her blog at daviarivka.com.

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