Climate-driven extreme weather can suddenly change your life. Hear eight climate survivors from the U.S.A. and Canada, from stormy Louisiana to the Canadian Arctic. We travel to burned out Paradise California and drowned Vermont. If these stories don’t move you, see a heart specialist. Warning: these are stories of raw trauma.

Listen to or download this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (57 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB) – 54 minutes long.


We start with right now. Phoenix Arizona is the hottest city in America. Last year the county containing Phoenix recorded 645 heat deaths. That official tally is way below reality. Most of Arizona just declared another heat emergency expecting temperature to 113 degrees, a blistering 45 degrees C – rare in early June.

That same day, two extreme heat survivors from Arizona spoke at a national press event organized by Public Citizen and Chesapeake Climate Action Network. The title was: “Climate Survivors from Across the U.S. Tell Their Stories, Demand Fossil Fuel Polluters Be Held Accountable”. You will hear several speakers from that event. We begin from sizzling Tuscon. Deborah and Patrice Parker are introduced by Quentin Scott of Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Then grand-daughter Patrice Parker begins.


My notes from the Press Event:

Deborah Parker is from Arizona, living with and her 18 year old grand-daughter. Patrice has asthma and heart problems have to keep AC on non-stop in the heat. Bills are astronomical.

Patrice speaks out: during excessive heat she can’t go out. She must schedule everything for early morning, or late at night. There is no day life. Heat increases her heart rate. It is getting hotter every year.

Grandmother Deborah speaks next. She has lived in Arizona since 1982. Shey says the heat is much worse now. Cars are dangerous inside in heat. If you fall, asphalt will burn you. She talks about the medical impacts of extreme heat. Just walking from Air Conditioned building to AC car is dangerous.

She gets daily excessive heat warning through phone. They just got warning for 113 degrees heat on June 6. Their home costs $30 to $60 a month to heat in winter, but over 300 dollars for AC in summer which is now about 6 months long. From June through October the AC is on all the time. Deborah says the money goes to fossil fuel companies who are responsible.



Now from too hot in the U.S. Southwest to too hot and stormy on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana.

Now, you can’t see it on radio, but several of today’s climate survivors are people of color. From African Americans to Native Americans and First Nations in Canada, these are the homes that flood or burn first. Their voices are routinely left out. The media moves on after a day or two. Very little aid goes to those who need it most, as they struggle for years.

Roishetta Ozane is a survivor of hurricanes, fires, tornadoes and pollution on the U.S. Gulf Coast. She lived in the petrochemial town of Sulphur, Louisiana. Roishetta tells it like it is in the June 6 U.S. press event.

Here are my brief notes on her talk. These are just hurried pointers. You should not miss her passionate talk at the Press Event (in this show).

Roishetta was living with 6 kids in Sulfur Louisiana. It smells all the time. They face storms, rising sea levels, and coastal erosion. They then lived through a pandemic with two major hurricanes. The fanily was displaced, living in motels, even in their vehicle, stayed in a FEMA trailer for almost two years.

Hurricanes Laura and Delta were only 6 weeks apart. Many people became newly homeless, seeking food. S.W. Louisiana is a “resource desert” – with no support agencies. Agencies in place did not help the poor.

Chemical explosions happened at local facility at the same time but people had no way to go, had to live with toxic air. She says industrial pollution leads to intensity of those storms. After two major hurricanes, in February 2021 winter storm Uri brought a freeze leaving many without power and water for a week or more.,_2021_North_American_winter_storm

Roishetta speaks clearly about greenhouse gases from those industrial facilities. People ask “Why don’t you leave?” This is their home, with families and ancestors who died here. It is beautiful there, a source of seafood and fantastic culture. Wy should they leave their homes because of pollution?

Now they face higher prices for energy. Polluters should pay. They need to mitigate what they have done, make it better – polluters like Chevron, Shell (she lists lots). She can see 14 petrochemical facilities on her side of town, not on white side. Pollution injustice. Stop approving new fossil fuel infrastructure. No one wants to be a climate survivor. We have to be.



We travel farthest north, to the Arctic Sea, where more communities are struck by climate change.

Darryl Tedjuk is a resident of Tuktoyaktuk, a fishing village on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, at risk due to rising sea levels. Tuktoyaktuk will be washed away in 50 years scientists say. An island near will be washed away sooner which will affect harbor.

Darryl is working on a documentary, “Happening to Us”, about climate impacts in his community.

This short presentation by Darryl was recorded in Ottawa at a press event on Parliament Hill – hours before the CEO’s of Canada’s giant fossil producers spoke directly to the House of Commons Environment Committee. No one whose life was ruined by climate disasters will speak there. They will speak here.

Darryl says there is no other world to go to. No fish, animals can’t get food, farmers can’t grow. No other food aid coming from the solar system.



We go to one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history. The 2018 Camp Fire burned down Paradise. Allen Myers is a survivor of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, speaking here at the Climate Survivors press event, Washington D.C. June 6.

According to the Press Release:

“Allen Myers (California) was born and raised in Paradise, California as a third generation member of the ridge community. After the deadly Camp Fire in 2018, he founded Regenerating Paradise, a nonprofit whose mission was to unite the community and help it heal. Allen served as executive director until 2022, when he left the States to travel the world, living and working with communities as he documented those stories and lessons in an art.”

In my notes from his talk:

Allen Myers grew up in that sleepy mountain town of 28,000 called “Paradise”. In November 2018 they had no rainfall for 200 days, very unusual. Sparks from PGE [California utility] line lit the conditions created by the fossil fuel industry: heat and drought. After billions of dollars in damages, PGE pleaded guilty to 85 counts of manslaughter.

Allen says PGE lit the match, the fossil fuel industry created the fire conditions. His school and hospital, were all gone. One bottle, a jar of ashes is what is left of his family home, his identity reduced to ashes. Allen speaks with climate refugees in USA. He has friends living garages, out of cars, not able to rebuild. He says the fossil fuel industry is in part responsible, and should be held accountable.

In the Q and A Allen says: This is a David versus Goliath story. The oil and gas industry has billions of dollars to bury the science and protect the wealth that they have. They will not feel the loss we do. If they lose a ski chalet in Tahoe who cares?



Heather Mackay is a hairstylist, mother and grandmother, who lost her home in last summer’s 2023 wildfire in Kelowna, British Columbia. Here she is from Ottawa, outside the presentations to Parliament – made by the fossil fuel CEO’s with the most profitable companies in Canada.

On Thursday August 17, 2023, Heather got an evacuation order. When possible, these are generally delivered to the door by police. After staying in several homes, as a refugee, she finally found a rental in October. For her, life is divided into “before the fire” and “after the fire”. She feels guilt and anxiety and still sometimes cries. Her children lost possessions. He wedding dress went up in smoke. As she says: 49 years of life gone into 6 inches of ash.

Hearther worries about the future for her grandson. How will life be with the fires? Heather says Canadians deserve a future without fear of evacuation. She begs politicians to make a change, and cap emissions.



It is alarming when a town burns down. Reminder: cities can burn too. The old town of Lytton British Columbia was setting national heat records – absolute new high temperatures for Canada – day after day – until it suddenly burned. That was June 30th, 2021. Practically nothing has been rebuilt since.

Meghan Fandrich is a resident of Lytton. She is a parent, a neurodivergent writer, and author of “Burning Sage: Poems from the Lytton fire.” We hear from Meghan at the Ottawa press conference June 6, 2024 – and then a reading of her poem.

A few months ago, Meghan Fandrich read out one of her poems rom her book “Burning Sage: Poems from the Lytton fire” on CBC Radio. Your can hear it here.

The alarming thing from so many climate survivor stories; it takes years to recover and some things are never recovered. You don’t trust life anymore. A whiff of smoke or strange noise and sleep won’t come. Even kids are nervous after being de-homed by extreme events.



New England gets hurricanes like Irene, some NorEasters and flat-out winds. But this mother and small business person never expected the flood to come to her town. Jenny Sebold is a survivor of the Great Vermont Flood of 2023, in Montpelier, Vermont.

These are my brief notes from Jenny’s talk at the Press Event:

Jenny is a single mother of 3 with business (clothing store and flowers). Last July 11th 2023 a flood came through filling all the shop, 4 feet high, and 9 feet in other businesses in Montpellier. It was her sole income, closed for 7 months, reopened in Feb. in a limited way.

FEMA [The U.S. Disaster Agency] doesn’t help businesses, little aid. Jenny had two support two kids with no income. She did not eat to save money to help her son.

Economic liveliness has not returned to her town, and that flood was followed by record hot temperatures. They had to remove everything to stop mold. This was Class 4 flood waters.


People had rashes, stomach bugs, and people still have lingering health issues. Our communities are like the band on the Titanic. Keep playing the music. Jenny is still applying for food stamps, thankful for help from family. It’s unfair that it is all pushed onto people.

Meanwhile, extreme rainfall events are striking all over the world. Just look at the Danube floods right now. They turn lives upside down for years after.



Somehow fire and floods seem related. One comes after the other. The interior of British Columbia is known for frightening wildfires. So Diana Boston was shocked when she had to run from the flood. Diana is a member of Upper Nicola Band, the only Sylix (Okanagan) First Nations community in the Nicola Valley. Her home was severely damaged in the 2021 flood in Merritt, British Columbia. Here is Diana Boston speaking in Ottawa June 6th.

From my brief notes:

On November 15 2021 there was an atmospheric flood in the Nicola Valley of British Columbia. It still upsets her today. This event is a good example of how fast disaster can happen, causing surprise and fear.

Diana was flooded out. Her neighbors lost their house. Diana lost antiques from grandma, all kids photos. They were evacuated due to sewage backup and all stayed in a one bedroom condo for couple of months. The kids depended on online learning, not just of the pandemic but also the flood. Two years later, she is still working on house and yard. When there is heavy rain they can’t sleep. Diana says we need to help this world for the next generation, – seven generations.

Diana wants the fossil fuel CEOs who lobby the government to see videos of disasters unfolding, houses washed away or burning. She wonders if they are scared to see how they are ruining this country, this world. She has hundreds of pictures she would like to show them.



At the USA climate survivors event Chris Kocher also spoke. He has formed an NGO to support climate survivors. He has resources and networking. Chris will be my guest next week.

Also presenting: Aaron Regunberg, senior policy counsel with Public Citizen’s Climate Program. Aaron’s focus is accountability for the crimes of the climate crisis.

Aaron says disasters don’t just happen out of the blue. They were foreseeable and foreseen by fossil fuel executives who knew – but decided to keep on producing more. These are not accidents. They knew this would happen. If you or I burned or flooded out homes we would be held responsible. The fossil fuel executives should be too. Aaron gives us an update on legal moves.


So coast to coast, and everywhere in between, global warming brings unstable weather and un-natural disasters, over and over. These voices of climate survivors don’t just want to be heard. They want to be saved from a more hostile climate, brought on by vast profits for the few. They need a stable atmosphere and cooler ocean. We all do.

My thanks to Public Citizen, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and the Climate Action Network in Canada for bringing out these important voices from the climate front.

I’m Alex Smith. Thank you for including Radio Ecoshock in your time flow, and caring about our world.