This is a satellite image taken of the continental United States this evening. As is fairly obvious—smoke from western wildfires fills the skies of the country while a hurricane makes landfall in the gulf. It struck me as incredibly iconic given the history of climate change denial and political sabotage that powerful segments of the public and private sectors within the U.S. have engaged in for the last 30 years.
Indeed, if you could zoom out further you would see a multitude of named storms that have recently formed in the Atlantic and a slushy thin-skinned covering of ice in the arctic polar region. And if you could zoom in—you could see dismantled USPS sorting machines to disrupt the upcoming election along with a multitude of graves being dug to bury the dead from the pandemic. More than any other country on the planet.
I get it when people explain that next year, and the year after that, may be worse in many more ways; but in seeing and thinking about all this together in one image—it's difficult to deny the last year hasn't been a significant step-change in civilization failure. Especially in the U.S. And something about this satellite image just struck me. Almost as if it was a visual antonym to the iconic Earthrise image taken from the moon over 50 years ago.
Although it may be unlikely at this point, for some people, seeing is believing. And if posting this helps better illustrate to those still in denial or doubt about the peril we face on a multitude of fronts then the effort in putting this out there is worth it. However meager.