In the aftermath of the deadly and devastating rash of wildfires that swept through Northern and Southern California, Anthony Kiedis co-penned an op-ed that warns fellow Golden State citizens that they reside in "the front lines of the climate crisis."
The op-ed, which the Red Hot Chili Peppers singer co-wrote with documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy (Ghosts of Abu Grahib, Last Days in Vietnam) and the Malibu Foundation's Trevor Neilson, also focuses on an upcoming resolution to declare a climate emergency in California, how elected officials can take action as well as an all-star benefit concert this weekend to help those affected by the wildfires.
California is on the front lines of the climate crisis. In 2017, Ventura was hit with the state's then-largest wildfire burning nearly 300,000 acres. In early 2018, 23 people died in the Montecito mudslides. Later in the year, the Camp Fire left the town of Paradise in total ruin, killing 86 people. At the same time, the Woolsey Fire destroyed 1,643 structures, killed three people and prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 residents.
These extreme weather events are going to accelerate if we don't act now. The toll on human life and the environment is unfathomable. These events also come with a monumental price tag. New figures released this week show 2018 global disasters cost $160 billion. A third of that total came from just four events in the U.S., with California's Camp Fire being the costliest disaster of 2018 at $16.5 billion.
As direct victims of the Woolsey Fire, we saw firsthand how extreme weather events disproportionately impact low-income residents. We launched the Malibu Foundation to provide emergency relief assistance to people in need, help the community rebuild and put pressure on elected officials to take climate action now.
Since our federal government is failing us, we must rely on our state and local governments to lead the charge.
On Sunday, the Malibu Foundation and The Climate Mobilization are bringing together artists, climate experts and victims of the recent wildfires to call on the state of California and its cities to pass legislation declaring a climate emergency - an all-out effort to transition society and the economy at rapid speed.
State Sen. Henry Stern is expected to respond by announcing a resolution endorsing a declaration of a climate emergency for the state of California. If passed, this resolution will urgently address the threat of climate change in an aggressive way. It will call on the state to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions towards zero net emissions, quickly adopt resilience and adaptation strategies, put vulnerable communities at the forefront of climate mobilization efforts, transition from industrial agriculture to regenerative farming and overhaul the transportation system, among other things.
Sen. Stern is also expected to make an announcement Sunday at the Malibu Love Sesh, a benefit concert for the Malibu Foundation, featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck and St. Vincent.
It's time for our state and local governments to step in. According to the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have only 12 years left to mitigate climate change.
The clock is ticking. We need to come together and help solve the greatest threat to humankind and embrace our responsibility to be good stewards of the planet for future generations. Join us by pressuring your elected official to declare a climate emergency in your state and city.