The western slope of the Sierra Nevada burned this year and the smoke rose to the cruising altitude of a passenger jet. Wildfires are bad in California. The state has already overspent its $209 million dollar budget to fight them this season by dipping into a state emergency fund to the tune of $70 million. Are the fires happening because people have caused global warming? Who cares?.
In our diverse and fractured American culture, it’s easy to forget the dark sand blizzards that tumbled across the U.S. Great Plains in 1935. The generation who dealt with those poetic harbingers of World War II, were the grandsons and granddaughters of a generation who could have prevented them.
These people were the ones who had headed west for the very real promise of cheap land. They arrived in the west West during a time when the Great Plains were unusually wet. The word in their day was that the “rain followed the plow.” And that was true.
But nothing lasts forever. Those farmers left something for their families that blew away like a house without a foundation. They didn’t know that they needed to provide the next generations with the skills and resources necessary to arid farm. The rains dried up, and the wind battered their farms into dust in the hands of their grandchildren.
Because we’re standing on the shoulders of previous generations, we know a lot about the Earth. It’s been a long time now since the plow was invented. It’s even been an even longer time since the Great Plains were first cultivated.
The fact that the climate is currently warming is measurable and verifiable. Evidence is readily available and thinking people on both the left and the right understand that this is true. It’s also true that this is not the first time that the climate has cooled or heated up, and that some of these occurrences have happened long before humans could have possibly had any significant impact on the matter.
Is the climate changing because that’s just what it does? Or do we, as humans, have an affect effect on it? Again, who cares. ? Whether spitting emissions into the air from a world full of coal and cars and cow farts has had a causal effect on the California drought or notfire, we must see that a warming world is very likely an exacerbating themfactor. And whether or not carbon emissions have had a causal effect on the warming of the planet, they are certainly can’t benot helping.
People disagree on the cause of the warming of the Earth, but there is undeniable evidence can’t be denied that it is in fact warming. And the warming of the planet certainly doesn’t help dry conditions in places like California.
Just like the grandchildren of the Great Plains settlers recognized that their blizzards of dust were a problem ,. sWe must recognize that the smoke ascending to 30,000 feet over California is a problem.
We need to embrace the development of clean tech as a whole nation. Will this help reduce the costly fires in California? Certainly not immediately. But we won’t runwill reduce the risk of exacerbating aggravating the firedm, and possibly handing a house without a foundation to the generations who follow us.