Rural communities are integral to our nation’s economy, culture, history, and ecological health — and our future. Yet, our public policies often either treat rural America as an afterthought or make sweeping assumptions about rural people’s values, particularly when it comes to environmental sustainability. Depressingly, we are already seeing this dynamic play out in Texas following the power grid’s recent failure to cope with unexpectedly cold weather. Certain politicians have rushed to falsely blame renewable energy for the outages, presumably on the assumption that such attacks will resonate with Texan voters who prize their state’s culture of rugged self-reliance.
Recent extreme conditions in the South are just one example of how climate shifts are exacerbating the many disproportionate burdens that rural places have been experiencing