Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/08/23/stop-adding-fossil-fuels-fire
The hip topic in the San Francisco Chronicle lately is when people have finally had so much they give up and search for some other place to live. Suddenly in August, before the grapes have been picked, we have an unprecedented lightning siege delivering us into the fourth straight year of wildfire catastrophe, here in the Bay Area. This time, without public shelters for thousands of evacuees, and without prison-labor forest firefighters who usually staff the frontlines, sidelined today by ubiquitous COVID in our prisons.
I haven’t seen any lightning yet this morning, but some more of that very weird dry-lightning is forecast for the next couple of days – especially tomorrow morning. Remnants of another big Pacific storm, kicking up some unpredictable gusts right now which have the firefighters worried. Dry & hot, still, with very low containment on the lightning-sparked ring of historically massive fires surrounding the Bay Area. Hard to breathe, and likely to stay like this for weeks, because of constant smoke for almost everyone – especially around San Jose, lately.
Here in California, our jag into “oops, we screwed up” was back in 2017. Possibly other parts of the world might avoid what happened to California if fossil fuel consumption is immediately halted. It’s too late for CA to be anything but a horrible example of where the chips may fall.
part of the problem is for so many we add fossil fuels to the fire every time we drive, fly, or crank up the AC while expecting someone else to somehow take care of the problem (e.g. banks not to invest in new pipeline, utilities to subsidize solar power, colleges to divest from oil companies, engineers to solve nuclear fusion…)
Electric utilities got started with a deal that government would grant the utility a local monopoly in exchange for the utility putting up with more regulation. Now we have to give those utilities the extra profits from that supposed monopoly.
“Stop Adding (Fossil) Fuels to the Fire”
Absolutely! And furthermore just stop adding any fuel to the fire. Beyond the life on Earth or Death of Earth lifestyle choice we 7 billion current residents have regarding energy use, other lifestyle choices affect the likelihood of being incinerated by megafire as well. On the other side of the border with Mexico wildfires are more plentiful but much, much smaller, because they let most of them burn. Amerca has an army of fire fighting equipment whose over use causes an over abundance of fuel growth locking in a pattern of ever larger megafires. Living in fire country is like living in flood areas, adapting is key to survival.
“In clear-cutting, he said, you clear away the natural forest, or what the industrial forester calls “weed trees,” and plant all one species of tree in neat straight functional rows like corn, sorghum, sugar beets or any other practical farm crop. You then dump on chemical fertilizers to replace the washed-away humus, inject the seedlings with growth-forcing hormones, surround your plot with deer repellants and raise a uniform crop of trees, all identical. When the trees reach a certain prespecified height (not maturity; that takes too long) you send in a fleet of tree-harvesting machines and cut the fuckers down. All of them. Then burn the slash, and harrow, seed, fertilize all over again, round and round and round again, faster and faster, tighter and tighter until, like the fabled Malaysian Concentric Bird which flies in ever-smaller circles, you disappear up your own asshole.”
- Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang
“Water, water, water…There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”
- Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness
I thought you might appreciate this site as I do
Excellent up to date maps and graphics as well as a comment section, hearing from people on the ground all about.
Wow – this site totally had me at HDWI (Hot Dry Wind Index)! Thanks much.
Incidentally, this picture of Marco & Laura flirting over the Gulf is awesomely gorgeous:
Well “they’ve” had over 50 years to do something since the 1st Earth Day in 1970 made these events we’re now seeing perfectly clear to my way of thinking ecologically. We were taught this in school.It wasn’t “controversial” back in 1970. or in '72 when the Club pf Rome report came out. Yet, nothing by the government has been done to address these vital issues. So what makes anyone think that “they” will these days do anything in time to save civilization? ‘They’ won’t. I suggest any coastal resident to sell out and move before the property is worthless. There is now at least a 3 meter sea level rise baked in. And other climate issues both intersubjective(close at hand like a fire,s) and interobjective(global at scale, like sea level rise) will be accelerated as time marches forth. We were all warned and didn’t listen. Sorry.
Forestry of this type is ecological genocide of forests. They are desertified because of the loss of all the other life foundational trees support. The film Avatar was quite good in this respect. Did anyone notice its underlying message? Did “they” do anything about it.?
So… which one is the vote for the political leadership to move us to 100% clean energy?