Those pictures coming in from the west coast look like real “hell on earth.” I can’t even imagine. None of us can unless we have been relocated to a shelter, are battling the inferno, or have personal experience with wildfires.
Before I share with you a text I received, please know that we don’t turn issues of national importance into political footballs here at Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. We seek to understand and do what we as citizens can to help our neighbors. So, no electioneering here. No blaming, naming or shaming others. Let’s begin to think this through.
I do not deny that the climate is changing. I’ve seen the weather go through a prolonged cold spell in the 1970s coupled with the threat of an impending ice age. This caused many young people to avoid having children. Now, the opposite is happening. A California acquaintance reports the temps at 110 degrees. It’s September. Think about living in those extreme temps with rolling blackouts that have no sure end. Getting your kids ready for bed in the dark. The inability to take a deep breath. Hell on earth all around you. The potential to lose everything and everyone you love.
I do not deny the importance of being good stewards of the environment. I remember when roadsides were littered with glass bottles and gum wrappers until one First Lady long ago championed the cause to “Keep America Beautiful.” And so we changed our flippant habits—translation: no more flipping trash out of the car windows.
I do not want to lay blame at anyone’s feet. While I believe we can maintain sane, healthy habits that Keep America Beautiful, I do not believe we can control the universe. We would have to have that kind of omnipotent power to stop natural disasters.
Here is a portion of a lengthy text from a west coast dear friend:
“Oh, we have been in situations where we have not seen the sun for weeks because of the cloys and rain, but that would be welcome at this point. If you look at air quality maps, our air is beyond hazardous. [It is literally “off the charts.”] I’m telling you that I don’t go outside and I have a deep cough and a headache every morning… Every day they encourage us that it’s going to rain or there’s going to be a west wind, but so far, it’s just not happening. Going out is just too awful. (This friend hikes mountains and walks 9-14 miles weekly). You never know how the fire behaved, and we won’t know for a while if the area that was burned, blazed super hot and is totally destroyed or was just singed and will come back…”
Let’s pick up on that last sentence. How is it that some parts of the area are totally destroyed, and some are just singed. How is that possible? First, I acknowledge that the following conditions exist:
-record and near-record heat throughout the west coast in 2020
-severe drought conditions
-fires are usually staggered, but many fires are burning simultaneously, so resources are stretched thin
However, there is something called “forest management.” It seems that where forest floors have been raked to get rid of brush, the burn can be controlled, not become a towering inferno. Where is the outrage about managing the forest floor? Apparently, the forest floors, for environmental reasons, stopped being maintained some 20+ years ago. I am not a scientist by any means. I do have common sense, though. So do you. It seems that we hear a lot of blame placed on humans living near these areas, as well as human greed, error, and criminal behavior, but who is talking up the cause of a return to forest floor management? Why do we not see the outcry for a return to responsible forest floor management in all the talk about environmentalism, climate change, and extreme weather? We cannot control a heatwave today, but we can execute a cleanup plan for the forest floor. Instead, the beloved environment that we cherish is in soot and ashes now.
If you or your loved ones have been affected by these tragic wildfires, please know that there is no judgment placed on them from us at Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. We all want to see their land restored and fruitful. I think it’s time to recognize the issue of forest floor management as a significant factor in these wildfires. It’s an issue we can support.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??