There Goes The Neighborhood

Top Five Reasons Why Suburban Voters Care About Climate Change

The American suburbs are about so much more than getting lost in the supermarket or dead shopping malls that rise like mountains beyond mountains. The suburbs are about a sense of security where in the garage, we feel safe. But lately, Donald Trump is trying to spread fear and lies of a suburban war.

The reason why this wanna-be Jesus of Suburbia is trying to tell us all what it’s like being male, middle class and white is because his polling numbers in the suburbs are in too deep. Some 41 congressional districts changed hands from Republicans to Democrats in 2018, and 38 of those districts were suburban.

When Trump says there goes the neighborhood, poll shows that suburban voters aren’t buying his racially-charged messaging, but when the hills of Los Angeles are burning, the threat of climate change becomes real. As Vice President Biden said in the first debate, “They’re dying in the suburbs. His failure to deal with the environment. They’re being flooded. They are being burned out because of his refusal to do anything. That’s why the suburbs are in trouble.”

Here’s a top-five list of reasons why suburban voters care more about climate change. We’re not scaremongering. This is really happening.


Climate change is creating the conditions that have led to massive fires burning towards suburbs all across the west in recent years. The number of acres burned by wildfires has doubled in recent decades and many families have seen their quiet neighborhoods erupt into chaos, racing to escape evacuation zones as massive fires crept towards the suburban edges of Los Angeles, San Jose, Portland, Yakima, Provo, Tucson, and Phoenix.


This April, the suburban streets of Oakland and Macomb counties outside Detroit, MI were flooded after 4 inches of rain dumped in a short period of time, threatening a repeat of the historic flooding of just a few years earlier in 2014. In communities across the Midwest, warmer, more humid air is bringing heavy downpours that flood once-scenic lakes and creeks. Scientists are warning that climate change is fueling these heavy precipitation events.


Suburban communities on the coasts are being impacted by more severe hurricanes fueled by warming oceans as a result of climate change. Nowhere is this more evident than the suburbs west of Houston flooded out by the slow-moving Hurricane Harvey in 2017, or the Long Island and New Jersey suburbs where it took years to rebuild homes after the impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


In some suburbs, hamburgers and hot dogs aren’t the only things getting overcooked at backyard barbeques. The National Climate Assessment, a report published by 13 government agencies found that “High temperatures in the summer are conclusively linked to an increased risk of a range of illnesses and death, particularly among older adults, pregnant women, and children.”


Many young parents move out to the suburbs to give their children space to play outside in the fresh air and maybe even visit parks with lakes and streams for recreation. Unfortunately air quality has actually gotten worse under Trump’s rollbacks of 100 environmental protections. To make matters worse, the kinds of air pollution that come from burning fossil fuel has been linked to 4 million new cases of pediatric asthma every year. Meanwhile, in places like Wisconsin and North Carolina, toxic blue-green algae poses a risk to human health and has even killed family pets in some cases. The toxic algae contamination affecting freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams that pass through suburbs is fueled by climate change.

(Bonus: Here’s a playlist to listen to while conquering disillusionment about life in the suburbs.)