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A day with America’s only dedicated heat team in the US’s hottest city []


By Nina Lakhani, Photo: Caitlin O'Hara/The Guardian, The Guardian, August 2, 2022

Phoenix is America’s hottest city, and it’s getting hotter. The global climate crisis and decades of sprawling urban growth has turned this desert city into a hazardous heat island with dwindling water supplies and inadequate shade.

An assortment of programs to cool down Phoenix and help people survive the heat have not been working: in Maricopa county, which includes Phoenix, record high temperatures contributed to at least 662 deaths between 2020 and 2021, while thousands more people needed emergency medical treatment.

That’s where the city’s new Office of Heat Response and Mitigation comes in. The pioneering heat team was created last September amid pressure from activists, researchers, faith groups and health experts for a dedicated team responsible – and accountable – for making Phoenix more livable.

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Throw-down time.

If people can file class-action lawsuits against tobacco, big pharma (opioid crisis and others) and automobile manufacturers, let’s file a massive class action lawsuit against Exxon.

Exxon knew 50 years ago what fossil fuels were doing to the Earth. There was a report they had in hand that told of global warming and climate change. They buried the report and hired public relations experts to promulgate doubt in the belief that fossil fuel harvesting, production, and use was destroying the earth. And now death and destruction due to their suppressing information and straight up lying about it has caused the traumas of millions of climate-related deaths, the heartache and searingly death-dealing catastrophic storms and wildfires, famines and plagues, the gnawing angst and fear from seeing entire species wiped out and knowing this could have been prevented.

Some aspects of inequity could be solved by winning such a suit as payouts could go to everyone, but bigger payouts would go to people most adversely affected for the last 50 years: minorities, people living near oil refineries whose kids have died or suffered from asthma, people who’ve lost their families, homes, pets and lifestyles in catastrophic storms, floods, fires.

Exxon has taken record-breaking profits in the last couple of quarters while regular people — not their executives — struggle with inflation, oppressive and deadly heat, the consequences of all manner of climate and pollution-related conditions and diseases, death and despair.

The greed of big oil to straight-up lie, when Exxon knew about climate change 50 years ago, has led to this deadly and dangerous, precarious and perilous place in which we all teeter in fear and grief over the loss of loved ones, property, possibilities.

It’s a thought, this idea of a class action lawsuit.

I don’t know who would lead this but I do know I’d give my share to PACEs Connection for doing the job of tying together the historical trauma of colonization played out by the few exploiting the lives and resources of the many, ultimately resulting in the situations we see coming to a head each and every day: intergenerational traumas, historic income inequity, lack of housing, resources, education, healthcare, opportunity, choices for the many while at the same time a very few people continue to see their incomes increase.

Democracy is at stake as we see the very wealthy use media to perpetuate toxic polarity between races and ideologies.

It all comes down to a massive sense of entitlement that leaders of companies like Exxon have felt and have been protected to perpetuate with reckless destruction — colonization — of our lands, people, planet.

I’m not sure who to reach out to about this. Al Gore? Our own climate trauma community at PACEs Connection? Our own Race & Equity group? But this idea has been coming up for me in mediation, that an anti-trauma, anti-racist (it is all all about race) class action lawsuit against big oil, which has caused so much trauma, could be an “Equalizer.”  (Love that CBS TV series -- “The Equalizer” — starring Queen Latifah. Check it out. Its producers know a little about trauma; a lot about racism. Watch the episode on the Tulsa Massacre for a great look at historical trauma.)

We have 56,000+ members who could react and respond to this idea.

I’d love to know what you think!

Carey Sipp

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