Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

The Climate Crisis Is Here: Tornadoes Cut a Deadly Swath Across the United States

Deadly tornadoes killed at least 50 people across the United States on Friday night. This is but the latest sign of a fast-escalating climate crisis.

Sybil Davis

December 11, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share
Photo: Ryan Hermens / Lexington Herald-Leader

The death count from environmental disasters continues to rise. On Friday night, deadly tornadoes ripped through the U.S. South and Midwest, killing at least 50 people in Kentucky alone. More than 30 tornadoes reportedly touched down, hitting at least six states. Factories with workers inside were destroyed in Kentucky and Illinois, and a nursing home in Arkansas collapsed. Workers died at each site. 

This year has been a particularly deadly one thanks to climate change. Fires have raged across Brazil (which then faced record cold temperatures); subways and apartments flooded in New York;  terrifying images of Greece and Turkey on fire shocked millions; and a deadly heat wave took hundreds of lives in the U.S. Northwest. This is all in addition to what have become recurring news stories: famines, water shortages, and power outages caused by environmental disasters. 

Last night’s tornadoes are not not just a tragic weather event, but the latest sign of the fast-growing climate crisis. While the precise link between tornadoes and climate change is less clear than with hurricanes, for instance, climate change is increasing the rate and severity of severe weather events in general — including severe thunderstorms that increase the likelihood of tornadoes.

To put it bluntly: the climate crisis is here.

It is an outrage that the capitalists and their representatives in government continue to paint these disasters as unpreventable “acts of god.” President Biden called last night’s tornadoes an “unimaginable tragedy.” Kentucky Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell tweeted vague words of support for victims and communities and calls for federal aid. But these statements ring hollow; both parties remain united in escalating the climate crisis. As long as business continues as usual, as long as capitalism persists as the dominant economic system on our planet, and as long as increasing profits take priority over protecting the climate, these disasters will only escalate. Instead, Congress is busy voting to increase the military budget — when the U.S. military adds significantly to environmental degradation and the overall climate crisis.

As as the climate crisis deepens and severe weather events increase, tragedies like these deaths will continue to occur. As long as nothing meaningful is done to reverse the deepening climate crisis, those in power are, essentially, accepting more death as just part of the cost of “doing business.”

It is also no coincidence that the majority of people who died were at work. Increasingly, the most precarious sectors of the working class — gig workers, hourly workers without benefits, and those who have to work at night — are being hit hardest by climate change. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos went to space, but his workers — who, by his own admission, paid to get him there — died under the collapsed roof of his warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois. This is the climate crisis in miniature: the rich wring their hands, make empty statements, and continue business as usual while workers suffer and die. 

The climate crisis is an existential threat to humanity. Our survival must not play second fiddle to capitalist profits. The only way to reverse the climate crisis is to bring down the capitalist system and the state that protects it. That will take organizing the great masses of the earth’s people. In the meanwhile, we must demand and fight for adequate safety precautions, infrastructure improvements, and greater funding of emergency services. 

The climate crisis is here, and only the unified power of the working class will be able to stop it from continuing to worsen.

Facebook Twitter Share

Sybil Davis

Sybil is a trans activist, artist, and education worker in New York City.

United States

A NYPD officer arrests a masked pro-Palestine protestors wearing a kaffiyeh while other cops and masked protesters look on.

Attacks on the Pro-Palestine Movement Are Attacks on the Right to Protest

As the movement for Palestine against Israel’s brutal military invasion of Gaza and attacks on the West Bank continues at a lower intensity than last fall, the State is cracking down on the leaderships of the movement and rolling back gains made by the Black Lives Matter uprising of 2020. The movement must grow in order to fight back against repression and protect our democratic right to protest.

Carmin Maffea

February 10, 2024

When Columbia Students Are Under Attack, We Must Stand Up, Fight Back!

On January 19, two Columbia University students who are former Israeli Defense Forces soldiers attacked students with a chemical-based weapon called “skunk,” at a campus protest against the genocide of Palestinians. Students must unite with workers to defend our movement; from Palestine to Low, the attacks have got to go!

K.S. Mehta

February 2, 2024

Six Ideas to Advance the Movement for Palestine

Nearly four months into Israel’s genocide in Gaza, what will it take for the movement to continue forward and impose its demands?

Luigi Morris

January 28, 2024
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.

New Hampshire Shows Trumpism Hasn’t Been Stopped as the Crisis that Created It Rages On

Donald Trump cruised to a victory in the New Hampshire primary. His strength in the primaries shows that Biden wasn’t able to resolve the crisis that gave birth to Trumpism.

Sybil Davis

January 28, 2024

MOST RECENT

With Rafah in the Crosshairs, the Working Class Can Stop the Genocide in Gaza

As Israel prepares an invasion of Rafah, workers’ organizations around the world must take action before it's too late.

James Dennis Hoff

February 21, 2024

“Antideutsche”: The Aberration of Germany’s Pro-Zionist Left

As Germany persists in its unwavering support of Israel and the total denial of its genocide, the German Left is conflicted over the issue. While leftists all over the world are showing solidarity with Palestine, a segment of the German Left is historically pro-Zionist. How did this movement, the so-called Antideutsche (Anti-Germans) come to be?

Seb Zürcher

February 21, 2024

Why German Media are Lying About the Palestine Solidarity Movement at the Free University of Berlin

A rally in front of the Free University of Berlin had as many journalists as demonstrators. This is yet another example of the international campaign to defame all protests against Israel's genocidal military campaign.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 16, 2024
CUNY workers at a demonstration hold a banner that reads "STRIKE TO SAVE CUNY."

CUNY Workers Launch New Strike Campaign

As Governor Hochul proposes another $528 million in cuts, workers at the City University of New York are fighting back.

Olivia Wood

February 12, 2024