So many people – tens of thousands – have been displaced by the fires that have been raging in the Northern Bay Area this week. Hundreds of thousands, in fact. People are losing their homes. People have died. And fire season just started (start doing your rain dance, please).
The day after tomorrow is today. We were warned that this would happen – that as Earth warms, faster and faster and with an extra kick thanks to our reckless behavior, we’d see more and more extreme weather. Well, here we are.
For the first time ever in recorded history, two tropical storms (Marco and Laura) are both forecast to hit Louisiana next week, at hurricane strength, per the National Hurricane Center (Marco became a hurricane while I wrote this). And California is literally on fire again.
The Golden State has been riding a heat wave the last 10 days, and on Aug. 16, a week ago today, the Bay Area woke up to a rare thunderstorm complete with a spectacular lightning show that ignited most of these fires.
Beautiful, yet savage. That’s Earth, alright.
It has been hot out there. It is hot out. Like a dry sauna. It’s parching. And lest you forgot, there are still people out there, in the thick of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and more are coming. About half, if not more than half of the United States of America’s homeless population reportedly lives in California – look it up. This is a crisis with many good, science-backed, empirically based explanations, and with many solutions that we need to start considering like, yesterday. The time to talk about environmental refugees and infrastructural preparedness, in America in 2020 (and beyond), and re-align with the reality of a planet that may be turning increasingly hostile toward us, is, indeed, right now. To start, here’s looking at y’all, hotels: Congratulations, W and Hilton et al., you are all landlords now. Quit worrying about vacancies and the post-pandemic future and bottom line, and get into helping, into housing these folks. We have the rooms, and the last thing we need right now is more folk falling into chronic homelessness and potentially getting up to no good for them, theirs, or our communities out on the streets.
Here in San Francisco we have smelled and felt the fires the last seven days. The sky has been ashy and hazy and rusty-colored. Kinda like in 2018. We woke up like this today; it is what it is. It is nothing compared to what so many in the state are experiencing. Have been experiencing. Here, there, everywhere ’round this third rock from the Sun.
Earth is warmer than it’s ever been, and we’ve been like, pouring gasoline on the problem. When Earth reaches a temperature we cannot handle, then that’s it for us on Earth. Btw, in 2020 the planet is expected to post its warmest temps on the global record.
It hit 130 degrees at Death Valley National Park on Aug. 16.
(It was Madonna’s birthday last Sunday, and Earth turned it up?)
We took a drive to Walnut Creek to run an errand yesterday. (Urgh, insane traffic is on the comeback.) I did not check the temperature when I got out of the car, but it was oppressive out in the open, even in the shade. Without airflow, all you feel is heat, and you become very aware of your shape.
Get the picture? If it gets too hot, we’re toast. Humanity is done. We know this because of science, modern AF methods of measurement, history. There is a perfect, natural balance here, and we have been fucking with it.
We need to face facts and get ready. Not to save us but to save the souls of the people that will come tomorrow, sturdier and readier to live on a warmer Earth. We were meant to roam with the seasons and the tides, but we settled and grew roots. And now we know that it’s all about location, location, location.
We do not want the kids fighting for resources…because we did nothing to honor the planet and live better, and then left only scraps for ’em to war about, now, do we.