Fires

It’s been a devastating few days near us.

Many have lost their homes. Many others have their bags packed in case an evacuation order comes their way tonight.

The rest who’ve avoided these fires (dumb luck) have been staying indoors doing their best to avoid the smoke. This is while hoping evacuation zones don’t widen and with accompanying attempts to maintain some semblance of normalcy amidst the chaos.

Diego Saez-Gil, a resident of Boulder Creek, shared this pic of his burnt down home.

Diego is also the CEO and the Founder of Pachama, a start-up committed to restoring forests to fight climate change. He shared a beautiful post about how this tragedy only makes this mission more personal.

Leah Stokes, a Professor at UC Santa Barbara and a leading thinker on environmental policy, had a thoughtful article explaining what happened and why we need to continue to act with urgency in moving toward a grid driven by renewables. Of course, given the circumstances, she found it important to remind us – “What’s happening in California has a name: climate change.”

Remembering this isn’t going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. We’ve still got billions of dollars invested by folks with entrenched interests in fossil fuels to ensure climate denial continues to find its place in mainstream media.

But, as much as it is easy to point fingers (and it is), science has always worked this way. Galileo Galilei spent a large part of his life under house arrest for asserting that the Sun was at the center of the solar system.

And, if we need a recent example, one need only to look as far at the state of COVID-19 in the United States.

So, the fight will need to continue. And, as we move from this fire to the next extreme weather event to the one after that, we’ll probably need fewer reminders of the fact that the stakes are higher this time around.

Or at least that’s hope.


PS: I find myself thinking of Valery Legasov’s note from time to time.

“To be a scientist is to be naive. We are so focused on our search for truth, we fail to consider how few actually want us to find it. But it is always there, whether we see it or not, whether we choose to or not. The truth doesn’t care about our needs or wants. It doesn’t care about our governments, our ideologies, our religions. It will lie in wait for all time. And this, at last, is the gift of Chernobyl. Where I once would fear the cost of truth, now I only ask: “What is the cost of lies?”