"The Events That Changed Me": Catastrophe and Crisis Push People to the Left
“I could see the land changing, I could see the climate changing, I saw the mega fires”
Hannah Etengoff was just out of college when she went to work for the Washington Conservation Corps. It was an experience that would drastically shift her politics to the left.
In school, Etengoff was a “liberal with radical tendencies,” but fundamentally someone who still believed in the system. Watching in real time as climate change ravaged the landscape, she realized those politics were no longer sufficient.
“I could see the land changing, I could see the climate changing, I saw the mega fires, the effects of the decreasing snowpack in the cascades that was leading to mass salmon die off,” she told me. “I realized how incredible fucked we were and how much more fucked we were going to get if there wasn’t a radical change.”
Etengoff, 33, is now a lawyer in Alaska.
She’s one of a number of people I talked to recently about how catastrophe and crisis shifted their politics to the left as they left behind moderate and liberal politics because, quite frankly, those approaches aren’t working.