‘This Isn't a Mechanical Failure, It's a Failure of Policy'
Bee Moorhead, executive director of the interfaith organization Texas Impact, spoke with Sojourners' Ashley Ver Beek. Winter storms in February left millions of Texans without power; at least 111 died, many from hyperthermia.
“IN MOST PARTS of Texas, we’re not prepared for [winter] weather. It’s not like people in Texas can’t individually have snow boots and mittens. It’s that the community is not prepared. There are no salt trucks. There aren’t snowplows. People’s houses are not insulated for severe, prolonged cold weather.
What we know about climate change is that it’s not going to be predictable.
For Texans, [the power outages] rubbed salt in what was already an open wound. It added insult to injury. Everyone already was feeling isolated because of COVID-19, and the storm created additional isolation. Everybody figured out they could sit in their car, which wasn’t safe to drive, but they could turn it on to charge their phone.
This isn’t a mechanical failure, it’s a failure of policy. More than that, it’s a failure of imagination.
Texas is so invested in some narratives. The state leadership is invested in fossil fuels—literally. It’s hard to say, ‘There is climate change, and we need to prepare our power grid to be resilient’ if you’ve invested in denying that there’s climate change.
What we as a state have to be willing to do is start acting with what the Catholic Church refers to as ‘prudence.’ You know the expression that you cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for a war? That’s not true with natural disasters because we are not in charge. We can live optimistically expecting [and] working for the best, but plan in case something goes wrong.
We’re working with legislators to advance climate plan legislation, similar to what a number of other coastal states have already done. Texas ought to have a plan because that’s the loving thing to do.”