As a devoted New Englander, I have a strong connection to the natural places of our region. I cannot help but think that the residents of southeast Texas, who have been flooded out of their homes, and those in the path of Hurricane Irma have similar ties to and love for their landscapes.

We love our landscapes and homes, and yet this love is not enough to take substantive action on climate change to calm the coming storms. Climate change is as real as gravity, and must be at the heart of the discussions of these unnatural disasters.

The courage and kindness of disaster relief efforts show us our best selves. But that is not enough. We must act, vote and buy with the certain knowledge that our own choices – and the choices of those we elect to office – determine the course of the future. We must do more to address climate change, to allow that elephant in the room, to stop debating and start acting.

I do not want the lands I know and love in New England to be the next victim of a wild storm. We must start being proactive, or we will be forced to be more and more reactive to circumstances beyond our control.

Bethany Taylor