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Climate activist Eric Holthaus: ‘Gun control is a climate issue. Voting rights is a climate issue. Racial justice is a climate issue’

By Eric Holthaus



For the first time in human history, we’re participating in a simultaneous recovery from a global tragedy in real time. After a year of Covid, decades of a climate emergency, and centuries of systematic exploitation of marginalized people we have reached The End.

This is The End of life as we know it, and The Beginning of what absolutely must be an era of empathy unlike any we’ve had the courage to create so far. We know we can’t stay on the path we’ve been going, and we don’t know where new paths will lead us. We’re in a liminal space — a new kind of trauma we don’t have a name for yet.

Gun control is a climate issue. Voting rights is a climate issue. Racial justice is a climate issue. All of these issues are core to what the climate movement is today, and what is has been nurtured into becoming over hundreds of years of labor by women and men from every corner of the world.

These are climate issues because nothing else feels possible when your very personhood is at risk. We know how to do this work. We are built for it.

Twitter avatar for @TutusNTinyHatsLaura 🌅‏ @TutusNTinyHats

have you met the fucking climate movement?! Have you seen protest after protest where we cry and shout and scream and sing about the need to completely dismantle the violent and unjust systems that are destroying the planet and build something better?

Ayana Johnson’s enormously important op-ed last summer helped me understand how important it is that all these movements come together in this exact moment to demand justice.

To build a world where everyone matters, where we won’t live in fear anymore, where we will live in partnership with each other and the planet we call home, we must enact comprehensive gun control. We must ensure every single person has the right to vote and strengthen our democracy. We must demand reparations for the descendants of slaves and give stolen land back to Indigenous people.

There is no reason that weapons designed to kill each other should exist. As long as we do, there will be lives that are ended too short, lights lost much too soon. People with dreams for a better world that never came true. In 2020, more people died from gun violence in the United States than in any other year in decades. We just didn’t hear about it.