By Nicholas Powers,Truthout Published November 21, 2018
I watched Puerto Rican relief workers pull a shopping cart on ropes across a riverbed after Hurricane Maria destroyed the bridge. The food it carried kept families trapped on the hillside from starving. It was 2017. I drove along the island, shocked at the battered buildings and telephone wires spilled on the street and thought, we’ll need tons of money to rebuild.
As I flew back home, Texas was just recovering from Hurricane Harvey. A year later, Californian wildfires burned neighborhoods to ash, then Hurricane Michael smashed homes in Florida. Now, more fires on the West Coast have caused a quarter of a million people to flee, and hundreds are missing. Each new disaster adds to a growing crisis. Our nation’s survival means a new role for its citizens and a larger one for the federal government.
Climate change demands changes that conflict with Republican and even Democratic dogma. Ultimately, the nation’s survival may mean the GOP is impossible. “Big government” will be necessary. Populist solidarity will be, too. The poor and the working class, long divided by Republicans, may be forced by their shared vulnerability to climate change into a new coalition.