No Place For Climate Change Deniers To Hide

Now is precisely the time for a national commitment, when the winds are blowing and fires are burning.

Originally published on Huffington Post, 9.10.17.

As the hurricanes and forest fires rage, we know there are no Republicans or Democrats in lifeboats, only survivors. And it is past time that we all turn towards the storm, not away from it.

But as I watched Governor Rick Scott advise Floridians to evacuate in the face of the fury of Hurricane Irma, I wondered: Where are climate change deniers supposed to go? 

Should they evacuate to Houston, where the victims of Katrina evacuated 12 years ago? No, it is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. 

Should they evacuate to Rosyln, Washington, a beautiful and welcoming tourist destination in my home state? No. As I write this, Roslyn is under a Level 2 evacuation order in the face of the horrendous 26,000-acre Jolly Mountain fire.

Should the Irma evacuees flee to Idaho, a hotbed of climate denial? No, almost the entire state is blanketed by threats of forest fires.

How about being creative, and evacuating eastward, to the island paradise of Barbuda? No, it is already battered and now preparing for the next of the battering rams of an enraged atmosphere, Hurricane Jose. 

Climate change deniers are running out of places to hide ― places to hide from hurricanes, places to hide from forest fires, and places to hide from scientific truth. Yet this did not stop Donald Trump’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, from taking time to proclaim: “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm vs. helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced.”

Unfortunately for the Trump administration, talking about climate change is always “misplaced.” But the sad and dangerous fact is that climate change is altering our climate, our weather and our future. These changes leave us precious little time in the future when climate change is not inflicting pain on someone, somewhere.

It is not mutually exclusive to care for and respond to those being most impacted by these disasters and at the same time hear the clarion call to take action that will keep these disasters from becoming even worse. It is why we will band together to do all we can for Texas, and why we will be there for all Floridians, even those like Rush Limbaugh who deny the clear science that climate change exposes us to increased risk of giant precipitation events, rising sea levels, and lethal forest fires. 

The reality is that the current administration never wants to address either the science, or the public health, or the economics of climate change. They can run, but they cannot hide from Mother Nature.

Simply piling sandbags and nailing up plywood over the windows is not enough. Simply collecting millions in private donations and giving billions from the federal government is not enough. Simply being moved by the incredible display of neighbors helping neighbors, strangers putting their lives on the line for others and emergency responders leaving their own families to be there for the people they serve is not enough.

Now is precisely the time for a national commitment, when the winds are blowing and fires are burning. What we’re starting to see is beyond the normal bounds of mere weather changes. 

So what does it mean to run toward the storm and not away from it? It means that when we run for office, defeating climate change should be an absolute top priority. It means that we will call out the climate denial of our rivals, not as some peripheral and modest comment but a fundamental flaw that should disqualify candidates from public office. It means that we will build our efforts around fighting climate change, rather than appending it to our thoughts and plans. 

That passion must become an animating force in all we do. It must extend beyond parlor room debate. We can no longer look at climate change as a second-tier issue, relegated to something confined to the environmental community. It must drive our policy and our politics in every realm and in every constituency and in every debate. In the next presidential debate it must be the defining topic, not one ignored or sidelined, and if the moderators don’t ask about it, candidates must insert it aggressively, repeatedly and effectively.

The floods and fires are not a time just for sorrow, they must be a time for action. We must seize this moment to help the victims of these storms, and we must seize this moment to take action on climate change.

It is a small blue planet, but it is the only one we have.

Share this article on social media:

Follow Jay Inslee on social media:

Also see:

Pope Francis said the recent spate of hurricanes should prompt people to understand that humanity will "go down" if it does not address climate change and history will judge those who deny the science on its causes.


Leave a comment or idea:

Vision for America is a citizen platform for voices and solutions, a community-created vision for our nation. Get involved and share your vision and ideas for our nation's future. Learn more at

Latest site updates:

Green New Deal

GREEN NEW DEAL: A vision for America to address both economic inequality and climate change.

Reduce plastic waste

Pledge to reduce plastic waste

Protect Wolves!

Restoring wolves nationwide: a campaign by Center for Biological Diversity

Sunrise Movement

For the first time in our lives, we have a fighting chance to stop climate change.

Justice Democrats

Let's rebuild a Democratic Party that fights for a clear progressive vision.

Save bees!

One in every three bites of food we eat depends on bees and other pollinators.

Our Revolution

Campaigns end. Revolutions endure.


350 is the most important number in the world. It's the safe line for our global climate and a start line for a global movement.

Jim Carrey's vision for America

Art and visionary messages by Jim Carrey.

Bernie Sander's Vision for America

Bernie Sander's Vision for a Socialist America


An action plan to kick out lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby.

21st Century Vision for America

A 21st Century Vision for America: Guiding Principles for a Great Nation

Brand New Congress

It's time for a Brand New Congress

Indivisible Guide

We’re not the leaders of this movement: you are.

Fight for 15

1,000s of workers. 100s of cities. 1 movement. $15 and a union.


Join the Movement for a People's Party! The country is beyond ready for a new nationally viable progressive party.


Fighting for a fair future: We are proud to step up the fight for immigrant rights, affordable health care, and core American values — as NextGen America.

Healthy lands, healthy bodies equals a strong nation. It's time to move beyond meat and towards a sustainable (and tasty!) future.

Saving Capitalism

Robert Reich examines America’s fragile democracy and its fight for survival; as income and wealth go to the top, more Americans are left behind. Now it’s up to those ordinary Americans to change the rules.

The Green Plate

The road to a better you -- and better nation -- starts on your plate.

The benefits of public wildlands, explained

Time for Action

Gov. Jay Inslee: It's time for action on climate change

Jeremy Rifkin

Economist Jeremy Rifkin presents an inspiring vision the future and hopeful narrative for the human race.

Vision for America

See more visionary ideas posted on Vision for America!

A 21st Century Vision for America is a document that describes our country as most Americans would want it to be. It envisions an America that cares about people, protects our rights, provides opportunity for all, nurtures its lands and waterways, and serves as a good global citizen. This America serves as a beacon and model to the rest of the world, reminding everyone of what is possible when people of good will come together to do what is right.


Status Coup
Common Cause
NoRA Now
Our Revolution
Democracy Now!
Citizens Take Action
Socialist Alternative
Real Progressives
Bill Moyers & Company
Swing Left
The Free Thought Project
Redacted Tonight
Green Party US
Defenders of Wildlife
The Resistance
Center for Biological Diversity
Mother Jones
Common Dreams
libertarian Party
The American Prospect
Daily Kos
The Progressive
In These Times
The Nation
Brand New Congress
Ron Paul Institute
Counter Punch
The Jimmy Dore Show
PR Watch
Huff Post Voices
Nation of Change
liberty tree foundation
mercy for animals
farm sanctuary
Code Pink
Earth Justice
League of Conservation Voters
People's Defense
Democracy for America
Standup America!
Every voice
People for the American Way
Ultra Violet
Working Families
Lambda Legal
Town Hall Project
NextGen Climate
The Laura Flanders Show
Emerge America
Backbone Campaign
Run For Something
The Nation Institute
the investigative fund
Tom Dispatch
Run For Office
Let America Vote
Justice Democrats
Environment America
Food and Water Action Fund
The Action Network
Vox The Big Idea
Wilderness Society
Yes! Magazine
Progress Media
Education Votes
People's Party
Roots Action
Fight for 15
Global Citizen
The Revelator
Open Democracy
Crowd Justice
Climate Desk
Defend Our Future
Southern Poverity Law Center
Netroots Nation
We Are Survivors Foundation
Sunrise Movement
Late Night with Seth Meyers
Real Justice
The Climate Lemon
The Lincoln Project
Vision for America is providing the above links not as explicit endorsement but for the sake of democracy and hearing all voices.#VisionForAmerica