Climate futurist says we are in a trans-apocalyptic period


Writer Says ‘California Honeymoon Is Over For Its People Now That Wildfires Are Almost Constant’

Parker Creek Fire, December 15, 2021. Photo by Texas Forest Service.

Sunday night as I watched the Season 4 finale of Yellowstone, John Dutton, played by Kevin Costner, spoke with another character who said, “I’m terrified of the world we’re leaving (for my grandchildren). Honestly, I don’t know what this place will be like 100 years from now.

Dutton replied, “Grass will cover the streets and weeds will cover the roofs. I don’t think we’ll live 100 years.

I recently thought about the smoke from wildfires and how over the past couple of years smoke from fires in the western states has often migrated east, often sending air out. dangerous loaded with tiny particles.2.5 particles (2.5 micrometers and less) in a dozen states. I learned in a smoke management course that if you could drop an MP2.5 eight-foot-tall particle in a still-airy room, it would take about eight hours to reach the ground. Smoke containing these pollutants is easily transported hundreds or thousands of kilometers across national and international borders. Canada and the United States seem to take turns exporting MPs2.5 across the border.

Satellite photo, forest fires,
As the sun begins to set on the west coast, the gray smoke from the wildfires is easily distinguished from the white clouds. NOAA, VA 17.

In research published online last week in the journal Toxicological Sciences, researchers reported that inhaled microscopic particles from wood smoke such as PM2.5 find their way into the bloodstream and reach the brain, and can expose people to neurological problems ranging from premature aging and various forms of dementia to depression and even psychosis.

Widespread smoke is just one symptom of the degradation of the quality of life for many people on this planet by climate change. In the article described below, the author wrote that a researcher told him that “Wildfire literally makes pregnancy dangerous in California.”

the article by Elizabeth Weil published today in the New York Times Magazine is well worth your time. This is a detailed article on the evolution of forest fires and their effects. She examines most of the issues that are involved – weather, climate, prescribed burning, native fire, fuel cuts, “managed” fire, human health, fire-resistant construction, and home ignition zone – in a style that gives want to keep reading, and hoping you don’t get to the end of the article in the next paragraph or two.

It’s behind a wall of payment, but it’s the life we ​​have now, or where we’re headed. (Yes, even Wildfire Today considered a subscription fee.)

Here are excerpts from the article titled This is not the California I married – The honeymoon is over for its residents now that the wildfires are almost constant. Has living in this natural wonderland lost its magic?


… Sore and eager to escape my own boring loop of depressive thoughts, I met Alex Steffen, a climate futurist, on the back patio of a bar in Berkeley. Steffen, a mountain of a 53-year-old man with a bald head, hosts a podcast and publishes a newsletter called “The Snap Forward”. The idea behind both is that the climate crisis has made us lose ourselves in time and space; we have to get out of nostalgia and face the world as it exists. As he explained to me in his confident baritone, yes California and the world are in bad shape. But the situation is not as hopeless as it seems. “We have this idea that the world is either normal and on-going, or it’s the apocalypse, it’s the end of everything – and neither is true. “, did he declare. That orange sky in 2020? “We’re all like, Wow, the sky is apocalyptic!” But this is not apocalyptic. If you can wake up and go to work in the morning, you’re not in an apocalypse, are you? “

The most accurate assessment, according to Steffen, is that we are “trans-apocalyptic.” We are in the midst of an ongoing crisis, or really a series of related crises, and we have to learn to be “native now”. Our lives will become – or, really, they already are (the desire to keep talking about the present when the future is intense) – defined by “a constant engagement with ecological realities”, floods, dry wells, fires. And there is no withdrawal. What does it mean?

We are living in a discontinuity. This is the central point of Steffen. “Discontinuity is a time when the experience and expertise that you have accumulated over time stops working,” he said. “It is extremely stressful, emotionally, to go through a process of understanding the world as we thought it is no longer there.” No kidding. “There is real grief and loss. There is the shock of recognizing that you are not prepared for what has already happened.

Letting go of the idea of ​​normalcy will require strength, poise, optimism and bravery, the courage to keep clinging to a thin vine of hope as we climb out of the wreckage into a field. solid that we can’t see yet. “We’re no longer dealing with a fire regime in the woods that responds to the types of prevention and gentle responses, the reasonable responses that we’ve thought of, and that thought alone is a crisis,” Steffen said. “It means that the life we ​​had, we don’t have any more.”

This brings us to another forest management tool in the knife: “managed forest fire”. This one, however, doesn’t always pair well with the other overabundant species in California: humans.

This summer in Kings Canyon, as wildfires approached, firefighters wrapped giant sequoias in aluminum foil. This included General Sherman – 2,200 years old and the largest single tree on Earth. This act was meager, and it was devotional. This is what we have now. The good news is that some of the movements we need to perform are easier, simpler, and more in our control than we imagined, if we just allowed ourselves to do them. The bad news is that there will just be a loss. We are not used to thinking about the world this way. We are not used to paying for our mistakes.


Thanks and a tip of the hat to Tom.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildfires for 33 years, he continues to learn and strives to be a fire student. View all articles by Bill Gabbert


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