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I am angry at the smoke!

I am angry at my sore throat. I am angry that we’ve lost half the summer. I am angry the smoke is taking the health of my friends and me. The air in Missoula is listed as "hazardous." Now what do we do? I am angry that there is no respite anywhere in the West.

Look out the window and inhale the new normal. This is the reality of climate change. 

I am angry at the coal and oil trains daily transporting climate destruction through Missoula. I am disappointed that my community allows them to pass. I am angry that the Missoulian doesn’t ask about climate change with each fire story during this “unprecedented fire season.” I am angry at the weather forecasters who don’t report on daily climate connections. I am angry at economic reporters who write about gasoline prices without reporting on their associated climate effects. I am angry that Hurricane Harvey’s “unprecedented flooding” hasn’t been described as a climate story. I am angry that the ever-increasing monsoon deaths in Asia are not reported as climate stories.

I am angry at our senators, congressman, legislators, governor, et. al., Republican and Democrat, who are too venal or spineless to challenge the fossil fuel industry.

I am angry at the myth of carbon sequestration. I am angry that wealthy oil companies spread doubt to prolong their lives while the prospects of our lives are slowly slipping away. I am angry that the industry is holding its workers hostage: Seriously address climate change and you harm our employees. I am angry at Montana’s refusal to throw our coal workers a lifeline. I am angry that Labor continues to support pipelines and coal-powered electricity because their workers are hostages. I am angry at the distortion that natural gas is OK for the climate. I am angry that Northwestern Energy is planning several more gas-fired power plants. I am angry at timber industry deceit, using the fires as an excuse for even more logging.

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A friend who’s been evacuated from Seeley Lake is staying at my house. I am angry that he and other climate refugees have been forced from their homes. I am angry that the future will likely be worse.

We need to have a frank, fact-based discussion, as a state and as a nation, free from corporate smoke and mirrors, on how to address this existential threat to humanity.

It’s not too late. Yet.

Robbie Liben lives in Missoula and helped produce the documentary film "Five Planets: Montanans at the Crossroads of Global Warming" in 2007.

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