(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

My day job deals primarily with visuals, but my hobby is music. So today we are going to employ sound to make a point. Let’s begin with an actual musical instrument, a giant gong, to get your attention.

And next, if we were an intelligent people, here’s the sound that would be aimed straight at the Capitol building and the White House and not stop until the people inside got the message and put a price on carbon. With a new and presumably saner Congress about to be seated, we get one more chance on this. Quite likely our last best one.

And that siren would also be pointed at every media company that continues to treat climate change as a peripheral issue (all of them). And it would also be aimed at every house and apartment building until we were all good and properly sleepless over an onrushing catastrophe that we have been dreaming was somebody else’s problem to deal with, at some undetermined point in the future.

I turn to sound, because images don’t seem to have any impact. Roaring wildfires don’t seem to do it. Footage of floods, tornadoes, drought, refugees, hurricanes? Mere head-shaking entertainment. Words have less impact still. There are always useless idiots, paid or unpaid, to muddy the floodwaters with a by-now insulting “other side.” The evidence is in, both in the science and the land and oceans around us. Including the immediacy of the need to act to slow the dumping of more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To everyone, the question: If you don’t consider climate to be a crisis TODAY, please give us your timeline on this issue. We all would love to see it.

We are soon enough going to be the hapless victims waving from a rooftop for help in the torrent, because we idiotically decided the best way to deal with the known disaster that was already ankle-deep upon us was to shelter in place.

Today, words are failing me, so I will leave you with all I’ve got left.