“We all struggle with interior storms in these challenging times. Strength lies in action and solidarity.”
This extraordinary Snapshot: Climate issue marks the beginning of a year and more of contemplation—and celebration—of the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of Southern Cultures and the Center for the Study of the American South in 1993. The issue’s focus on the climate crisis and how southern places and communities are experiencing and reacting to the daily impacts of climate change speaks also to the fifty-plus-year founding of the modern environmental movement in the United States and the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. I was thirteen years old that spring and remember the student demonstrations, teach-ins, and images of smog-shrouded cities and sewage-filled rivers. In the Arkansas Delta, we were exposed to dangerous pesticides and defoliants used in industrial-scale cotton farming. The long and evolving history of environmentalism, combined with growing political activism, protest, and legislation, resulted in the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency in December 1970 and the critical environmental regulatory actions that followed. Hundreds of laws and agencies have been attacked, rolled back, and revoked by the Trump administration and now the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.