Dear Editor: Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, when promoting his book, "Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead," warns of the national security and financial risks of climate change and reprimands political leaders for not tackling the issue.

Mattis explains how warming global temperatures cause more frequent storms, droughts, wildfires and floods; people move from devastated areas, creating humanitarian crises due to lack of work, food, housing, schools and health care; people lose hope and become angry; political unrest and violence leads to refugee flows, undermining of weak governments and destabilization.

In the U.S., disaster response capabilities and government budgets are overwhelmed by the increasing number and costs of climate-related catastrophes. A Department of Defense report shows two-thirds of critical U.S. military bases are threatened by climate change.

Sixteen-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg gets it. She feels compelled to skip school to advocate for environmental action because political leaders have utterly failed us — especially her generation — on this score.

For the sake of future generations, demand that every elected official — from local supervisors all the way up to the president — be on the right side of science, ready and committed to dealing with the reality of climate change. Now.

Jeanne Larson


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