Federal agency scientists have concluded 2017 was one of the warmest years ever recorded. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded 2017 was the third-warmest, while NASA said it was the second warmest on record. The two government agencies use different methodologies to calculate global temperatures, but regardless, the past four years comprise the hottest in their 138-year archive. The six hottest years since 1880 have come since 2010, and no one born after 1977 has experienced a cooler-than-average year compared to the 20th century average. In other words, it’s been 41 years since we’ve experienced a cooler-than-average year.

2017 was also notable as the most costly on record for disasters in the United States. Sixteen $1 billion (or more) disasters—such as Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria and wildfires out west—racked up over $300 billion in damages.

To further brighten your day, the ecoright’s favorite climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe explains why we need to reduce our carbon emissions—and fast.

While we try to keep the news positive, these stories in their aggregate show why courageous climate leadership is needed at all levels of government and community. Onward!