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Americans are making the connection between natural disasters and climate change and support urgent action on environmental issues. 37% of Americans believed that the recent wildfires in Maui are primarily the result of climate change, while a similar share (36%) said these events just happen from time to time, and 21% said they weren’t sure. But under those topline numbers, there’s a big partisan divide. According to the poll, 63% of voters who supported President Biden in 2020 think that the recent wildfires in Maui are primarily the result of climate change, while the same share of Trump voters just think these things happen from time to time. Most Americans agree that the weather across the U.S. has gotten weirder — and in some cases, deadlier — over the past few years. According to an Ipsos poll conducted in April, two-thirds (67%) of respondents agreed that unusual weather for the season has gotten more frequent in their area than compared to 10 years ago, and a solid majority (60%) thought the weather has also become more intense.
Hawaiian organizer and strategist Kaniela Ing describes his theory of politics in this podcast episode. Kaniela is the Climate Justice Director with People’s Action, former state legislator, and former candidate for U.S. Congress. He argues that building power only happens through organizing, and insider lobbying only works to “wield” power, even though traditional advocacy organizations often view power only through lobbying. Kaniela says that growing up in a working-class, conservative household showed him that progressive organizers need to be understanding and empathetic and can win working-class Republicans over to progressive causes. He also describes (harmful) capitalist, colonial influences on Hawaiian local economies.