As I write, smoke fills the Gallatin Valley and it’s not yet June. Right now, on this 31st day of May, according to fireweatheravalanche.org/fire, there are 795 active wildfires in the U.S. and Canada. Predictions across the western half of North America are anticipating another record breaking summer of rampant forest fires and smoke-filled days. Welcome to the new normal.

As climate change begins seriously affecting even us privileged folk, how much longer will the denial and lies of the fossil fuel industry, the president, and most of the GOP dictate our delusional path toward the apocalypse? Have we forgotten that Exxon and other oil companies knew the effects of climate change in the 70s and enacted a disinformation campaign to obscure and deny the data? When will we reach the threshold, as a culture, of engaging around the topic that will define the rest of all of our lives? Where is the outrage?

It’s time to act. We live distracted from reality, fighting imaginary fights while the actual world dies. Look around. What we’re doing isn’t working. Extinction, deforestation, biodiversity loss, cultural upheaval and rising global temperatures are sending us all the warning signs we should need to change course. The window of opportunity is closing, but it’s not too late.

The 2020 election must be a climate election. The Green New Deal isn’t perfect, but it attempts to address the most glaring challenge our species has faced. Given the lack of climate-oriented alternatives, voting against it is literally voting for death. As the venom preceding any election ramps up on these smoky spring days, think of how it will be to tell your grandchildren, breathing through facemasks in a hazy desert environment, that the Green New Deal “just cost too much.” Feel that. Then, vote accordingly.

Kristopher Drummond

Bozeman