Watch the news or step outside in much of America, and it becomes clear that the heat apocalypse is here. I did not expect it so soon, but the natural world does not care what we expect.

A couple lies on the bank of the Arges River in Malu Spart, Romania, on Saturday, when temperatures exceeded 104 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas of the country. Andreea Alexandru/Associated Press

I was just telling a friend that we’d suffer more from heat in the future. The next day, I watched the news and heard that over 1,000 people had died from heat and wildfires in Europe. The World Health Organization recently said that 50 percent of the world is already substantially affected by climate change.

What to do? The answer is to help America stop using fossil fuels – it will not solve the problem definitively, but it will slow down the trajectory of the disaster we are facing. Then we can help other countries do the same. We have the technology; we need the political will.

A Republican Congress will never go against the fossil fuel industry, which has been hiding the facts from Americans for decades. (Watch the recent “Frontline” series “The Power of Big Oil.”) We will not pass meaningful climate legislation soon unless the Democrats have a significant margin. Our politicians are too beholden to big business to easily go against them, but we have a better chance of climate legislation with a strong Democratic majority.

While we wait to vote in November, please call Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden and tell them they must pass a price on carbon and other strong climate legislation – the fossil fuel industry be damned.

Nancy Hasenfus

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