Follow their ledes. Hold them accountable. All of them.

The good news is we’ve arrived. The bad news is we’ve arrived.

Finally – FINALLY! – mainstream news media outlets are using the words “climate change” in their stories about raging fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts and other climate-driven phenomenon. Not only that, but the words are often in or near their stories’ ledes and headlines.

As I wrote a little more than a year ago, this is important because many times people don’t read beyond that headline or first paragraph, or listen beyond the opening verbal burst.

It’s come nearly too late, of course.

I believe the mainstream media and reporters are culpable for the dire straits in which the human race now finds itself. 

Scientists from James Hanson, a NASA expert who testified before the U.S. Senate about climate change way back in 1988, to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which issued dire warnings about points of no return in 2018, have been trying to get political leaders to take action to avoid climate Armageddon. 

And that’s not mere hyperbole. Nothing short of the viability of the human race is at stake here.

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Yet here we are, in 2020. The coasts of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico are way ahead of schedule in terms of hurricanes and damaging tropical storms. Huge swaths of our country are suffering short- and long-term damages from drought. And the West Coast is burning. Literally.

Climate-change-related events and consequences are effectively choking off habitability in many parts of the country. We can’t breathe.

It’s taken the obvious arrival of this horrifying reality in the United States, following decades of under-reporting and political inaction, for the phrases “climate change” and “climate crisis” to start showing up in the ledes or upper thirds of mainstream news stories about devastating climate-related events. They’ve only started getting it right when it’s so damn obvious that the need for them to make the connection is pretty much gone.

Now we need to quickly adopt new language that pushes the reality of what climate change is doing to our nation and planet even further:

Climate crisis extinction symbol
Extinction graphic by Steve Johnson via
  • Climate fire
  • Climate flood
  • Climate tornado
  • Climate hurricane
  • Climate water shortage
  • Climate electrical outage

For example, here are the words of an ecologist/firefighter in Oregon:

“’These are climate fires,’ says Timothy Ingalsbee, an Oregon-based wildland fire ecologist and former wildland firefighter who now directs Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology. ‘Though some scientists hesitate to attribute a single event to climate change, these are exactly the conditions predicted by climatologists.’”

And make no mistake – this is just the beginning of the connections’ blatancy. Climatologists’ other data-based climate-crisis predications are increasingly desolate. 

We need #ClimateActionNow to have even a semblance of a chance of averting them. And we need journalists, editors and news outlets to elevate the climate-crisis-to-catastrophe correlation in their stories.

We need to be knocking people upside their heads continuously with the link between climate change and the weather-related catastrophes that are inundating, blowing down and burning us from all sides. 

We need to make painfully clear the connection between people who exacerbate the problem with their responsibility for damage to our health, our homes and our livelihoods.

Finally, we need to call out newspeople and outlets when they ignore the cause-effect relationship.

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So. Yeah. We’ve arrived.


What’s the good news?

If we buckle down RIGHT NOW, if we pass and implement the Green New Deal, if we get rid of the climate deniers who care more about campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies than their own kids and grandkids, let alone the future of the nation, we can still turn “nearly too late” into “just the nick of time.”

There’s a new generation of leaders here to make it happen. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” they proclaim proudly and defiantly

They, too, have arrived, unwilling to accept complacency, dereliction and inaction any longer. They are the generation – finally – that understands the absolute urgency of humans’ precarious situation.

Let’s do everything in our power to help them do what we and our parents should have done long ago. 

There’s not a single breath – or vote – to waste.


Green outlined graphic indicating copyright 2019 Martin C. Fredricks IV

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Featured image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash.





Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger ( nonprofit founder ( and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


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