Hobart Stocking
4 min readDec 3, 2023

“Climate Crisis vs. Political Reality: The Unspoken Dilemma We Must Confront in 2024”

I have a confession. I read eclectically, and a portion of what I read is absurd. I am fascinated by Bigfoot, aliens, and Elvis. It’s not that I believe in Bigfoot or aliens, but I am curious this may be a reality for others. I guess it makes me feel superior. The one I am particularly attracted to is my daily reminder that there is a giant asteroid headed toward the earth that will wipe us out. Based on the actions of some of my fellow citizens, I sometimes pray for this kind of deliverance. So if I play the role of Casandra I’d understand why you might not believe me. But I’d hope that you would consider what I say about the single biggest threat to the climate.

It’s not fossil fuels, though they are polluting our atmosphere and risking our survival as a species. It’s not deforestation. Or methane feedback loops. There is one thing that keeps me up at night, though I try to ignore it. My belief is that most climate activists are trying to do the same because we can’t hold two opposing ideas in our head due to our cognitive dissonance bias. It is that we must continue our work on climate, but that we must also consider a second Trump term.

Oh, you protest that you have had this thought. But what have you done about it? It seems too overwhelming. But let’s consider the potential consequences.

We understand that this is the warmest year on record. That our forests are burning, our crops dying due to drought, our oceans off Florida reaching temperatures of 101°F killing marine life. That the arctic reached 100°F and the icecaps are melting, raising sea levels. That we’re experiencing $150B damage a year from climate induced weather events. Ad infinitum.

Yet we are making progress. The ARA and the IRA funding is beginning to flow into the clean energy economy. Clean energy now makes up 52% of the energy supply in states like Minnesota. Illinois and Michigan just declared 100% goals. Electric vehicles make up 10% of new car sales and are becoming more popular. Everywhere we look there are signs of budding hope.

But remember what this orange monarch did last time he was in office, and what he will do if he wins in 2024. The last time, he called climate change a hoax and pulled us out of the Paris Accord. Without our leadership, China and India backed off their own efforts (though they are still ahead of us.) He tried strangling the EPA by putting an oil baron in charge. He wanted to drill in our national parks.

A second term would be “game over for climate” says Michael E. Mann.* With the GOP in frighteningly goose-stepping synchronization, every one of them voted against the IRA. The Senate is up for grabs, and the margins are thin in the House and may be stacked for the GOP. God forbid that both are lost, then there is no check against Trump. “There is a strong possibility that the GOP will weaponize climate in a second term,” says Mann. Their Project 2025 outlines efforts to block renewable energy, increase oil drilling and finally gut the EPA.

So if you are working for climate, clean energy or justice, and are not thinking of spending every waking moment of 2024 working to stop this absurdity, then you might as well spend your time on Bigfoot, aliens or Elvis because they will be the only things left. When I say working, I don’t mean GOTV or making a few small donations to your candidate. These are important. I mean talking to real people, doing deep canvasing, listening to what people have to say. Getting out of your comfort zones of only talking your friends and to the already anointed. Too often we look at elections as two or four year cycles. But this is where only focusing on turnout has brought us. We need to have deeper conversations and tell stories based on our values.

For climate activists in 501 © (3)’s which are prohibited from political activities, and who wish to remain in that organization, I’d advise forming a 501c4 or perhaps a PAC. They aren’t particularly helpful, but if those aren’t options, then secede. Quit, take a leave of absence, and join other organizations. There is nothing you can do over the next year more important than this. All the hard work you’ve done will be forfeit and likely the climate, never mind democracy, will never recover. Do every f’ing thing you can. And carry it through to the interims between elections. Make a commitment now. Please. And let me know what you’re doing.

I will be canvasing, having conversations, writing, and perhaps joining untruth unsocial. See you on the streets.

Thanks for all you do.

L. Hobart Stocking
Facebook: @SkyWaterEarthConnected
Twitter: @SkyWaterEarth

Hobart Stocking

Environmentalist. Writer. Earthwalker. SkyWaterEarth.com. Changing perceptions and climate communications. Promoting solutions. Savor the Earth!