GULF — Hurricane Zeta hit the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Alabama, leaving nearly 2 million people without power, and disrupting early voting as the storm’s impact grows into Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia, states where voter suppression is already rampant. We’re 27 storms into this record-breaking hurricane season across the Atlantic, Gulf, and Caribbean, with 11 making landfall in the mainland US and 5 hitting Louisiana. This comes as a major ice storm sweeps through Oklahoma and into Texas, and as fires rage in California with Northern California preparing for its worst fire conditions yet. Globally, Typhoon Molave hit the Philippines displacing 100,000 people with its treacherous winds and rain and heading to Vietnam where 1.3 million residents are preparing to evacuate.
Meanwhile, Exxon is reportedly announcing mass job cuts of its employees, many of whom are directly impacted by these storms. The corporation lost US$1.7 billion in the first six months of this year and was booted from the S&P Dow Jones Industrial Average after nearly a century. Shell and BP have outlined up to 15% workforce cuts and Chevron has asked employees to reapply for their jobs.
Amira Odeh, 350.org Caribbean and Gulf Organizer, issued the following statement:
“While hurricanes throughout the Gulf and Caribbean try to tear us apart, we stand in unyielding solidarity in our demands for climate action. We know exactly who is to blame for Hurricane Zeta: the same fossil fuel executives announcing mass layoffs of those most directly impacted by the hurricanes, all while spreading disinformation about the climate crisis. These corporations are not only ruining our planet, they’re threatening our democracy. Storms like Hurricane Zeta pose yet another barrier to voting, impacting communities of color most. As the era of big oil comes to a close, we see them flailing. They have nowhere to hide. Every moment that passes, our movement is growing and we’re coming for them, just like they came for us.”
350.org stands in solidarity with the Gulf South for a Green New Deal (#GulfSouth4GND) policy platform as communities across the Gulf demand transformative climate action amidst 2020’s deluge of storms. Louisiana lost 12,300 fossil fuel jobs, or 25 percent of its fossil fuel employment, with over 118,000 people losing their jobs in the oil and gas industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Markets are divesting from fossil fuels, yet fossil fuel executives continue to declare bankruptcy, and get bailed out from the federal government.