Climate kills
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I dreamed Salt Lake's federal building was closed for a day due to a mass killing — the slow violence of climate change. While not as sensational as the shootings in Newtown, Conn., climate change produces more visceral deaths:

Climate change kills 4.5 million people a year, and developing countries are disproportionately affected. Climate change is not a future problem; it's a present-day global justice war.

This war is only beginning to raise alarm in more developed countries, due to storms like Hurricane Sandy and increased wildfires in the West.

Currently, political leaders, Democrat and Republican, stand idly by during a historic battle for climate justice in the United States and Canada — the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to pump oil from Canada to Texas refineries.

Comparable to the social movements of Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall, the campaign to stop tar-sands mining and the pipeline are tipping points in the climate justice movement. Last month's Senate vote endorsing the pipeline represents a mass killing of current and future generations.

I dreamed that government leaders, forced into a day off, began to act with integrity, and senators reversed their votes. Unlike Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, senators can reverse their actions.

Ryan Pleune

Salt Lake City