A Link Between Tornadoes and Climate Change? Never!

Tornadoes, fires, floods, crop failures—they’re all isolated events, right? This powerful video from Bill McKibben and Stephen Thomson helps connect the dots of the climate catastrophe.
Joplin tornado damage, photo by Liza Shoning

Tornado damage in Joplin, Missouri.

Photo by Liza Shoning


On May 23, shortly after a deadly tornado wiped away much of the town of Joplin, Missouri, YES! Magazine contributing editor Bill McKibben wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post sarcastically mocking the idea that the tornadoes—or any of the other recent devastating weather events that have destroyed lives, property, and food production—are linked to the Earth's warming climate. "It's far smarter to repeat to yourself the comforting mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change," he wrote. If you start to ask why so many natural disasters are happening, "well, you might have to ask other questions."

Filmmaker Stephen Thomson of Plomomedia illustrated McKibben's op-ed with haunting images of the floods, fires, and tornadoes that presage the global climate catastrophe we're facing. The result is a powerful video that makes it very difficult not to connect the dots—and to ask questions about what we can do to keep today's disasters from becoming tomorrow's normal.

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