In Richland County, Wisconsin, not far from the Kickapoo Valley written about elsewhere in this issue, is a patch of woodland I have come to cherish. It has a small cabin and a long driveway, the lower end of which crosses a tiny creek.
In late August, amid a massive downpour, that tiny creek turned into a raging river, ripping out trees and gouging a twenty-foot-wide, four-foot-deep trench through the driveway. It was the sixth time this has happened since 2007. Every time, it's been described as a 100-year flood. You do the math.
The impacts of climate change are upon us. We are paying the price for our heedless past, and the worst is yet to come. At some point, perhaps, skepticism toward climate warnings was understandable; now it is unforgivable. The judgment of the future will be deservedly harsh.
President Donald Trump is taking actions that seem calculated to make climate change worse. But even if that weren't happening, it is unlikely the political structure would be responding with appropriate urgency to the challenges of climate change--nor will this happen now, with the Democrats' foot wedged in the door to the corridors of power.
In truth, we are long past the point where we can effectively minimize and mitigate the impacts of climate change within the crimped confines of our present-day politics. Forcing progress on this issue will require an active and engaged citizenry. It will take sacrifice and vision and science. And it will change the world--quite possibly for the better.
Did I just try to put a positive spin on environmental catastrophe? You bet I did. That's the focus of this issue of The Progressive, which was put together by Associate Editor Alexandra Tempus, an expert on this subject. She has written about climate change for The Nation and other publications and was a researcher on Naomi Klein's seminal book, This Changes Everything. She tells you more on page 8, following the lead "Comment" by Bill McKibben.
That's just part of what's in this issue. Ruth Conniff, our editor-at-large, reflects on the midterms. Tessie Castillo reports on the industry that has sprung up to make money off of treating--or is it maintaining?--addiction. Jacy Reese explores the cruelty of factory farming in an excerpt from a book on...