Nov 25, 2019
When Greta first said this in Davos, Switzerland, last January, many took it to be metaphorical. However, the recent Kincade fire, and the fires in Southern California make it all too clear that our house is literally on fire. For the third year in a row we’ve had massive wildfires in California; climate experts say we can expect this new pattern to not only continue, but to exacerbate in the future.
Globally forests, grasslands, and bush are all on fire. Unprecedented heat and bush fires in Australia threaten the five million residents of Sydney, Australia’s largest city, which is covered in smoke. Although our Kincade fire was contained relatively quickly, it happened in the fall, with the hope of rain soon. Bushfires are a regular occurrence during Australian summer, but it’s spring there now, and authorities warn the fires could burn out of control for months.
Huge fires have been burning in the Amazon rain forest, in Indonesia, and across equatorial Africa. While some of these fires have been deliberately set to aid illegal activities such as cattle grazing, agriculture, wood extraction, and illegal mining, they’re still adding massive amounts of global heating emissions to the atmosphere while destroying trees that sequester carbon dioxide. The Amazon’s deforestation rate is the highest in 11 years. Our increasing consumption of palm oil, beef, and other products drives new fires.
In June it was so hot in Barcelona, Spain, that a farmer’s chicken manure compost pile spontaneously ignited, causing Spain’s largest fire in 20 years.
Arctic fires this summer occurred in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, as well as Siberia where in June and July nearly 130 megatons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere—equivalent to the exhaust from 36 million cars.
Venice, Italy has seen more flooding in one week than has been recorded since records were first kept in 1872; 85% of Venice flooded, as did other parts of Italy. There’s also been flooding in England, South and Central America, the Atlantic coast and Northeast and Midwest of the US. Currently nearly 4000,000 people have been displaced by flooding in Somalia and Ethiopia
Really? We can’t afford NOT to do so. We’re told that the cost of various plans proposed by Democratic candidates, ranging from $1-$16.3 trillion over the next 30 years, are just too expensive. However, a Morgan Stanley report last February estimated that the costs of climate change by 2040 will be $54 trillion. Recently California fires cost an estimated $25.4 billion. It’s Not Economy or the Environment. We can have both.
Following upon the incredible Global Climate Strike in September which saw 7.6 million people take to the streets, a similar strike has been called for Nov. 29th and Dec. 6th. In many places people will walking on Nov. 29th; in the US the 29th is a school holiday, so most strikers there will instead walk out on Dec. 6th. However, Fridays for the Future is calling on people to undertake positive climate actions, such as planting trees on the 29th and the 30th, which is Climate Action Day (https://climateactionday.org).
Dec. 6th is in the middle of COP25, the UN Climate Change Conference, in Madrid, Spain. There’ll be strikes worldwide that day. Here is Santa Rosa, youth-led Sunrise Movement will join the Global Youth Climate Strike by walking out of schools, workplaces, and homes for a day of climate action. At noon, they’ll stage “Die-Ins For Life” at county schools and Old Courthouse Square. At 5:00pm, all are welcome to join a candlelight march from Julliard Park to Old Courthouse Square for a vigil for all the victims —human and non-human—of the recent wildfires and victims of global climate disasters everywhere.
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