California’s fires send us a message about our climate

California%E2%80%99s+fires+send+us+a+message+about+our+climate

Graphic by Julia Pariser

Francesca Purificato

Once again, California is up in flames. But this time, it’s worse than ever before. On August 15th, lightning struck the dry forests of northern California, causing a colossal spree of fires. People all over the state looked up to a sky of orange. They couldn’t leave their houses for long periods of time because of the airborne toxins released by the cruel fires. Some of the smoke even made it to DC! For a couple of days, the sky was foggy and grey. Not because of rain, but because of the gigantic fires raging all over the West Coast. I think it’s very clear our environment is getting worse and we can’t ignore it any longer.

The fact that the land is so dry and stripped of its moisture, and enables these massive fires to continuously happen is grim. The fires get worse and more frequent each year. Just like California, our climate is in a state of emergency. As I’m sure many of you have seen on social media, there was a clock put in New York City’s Union Square to show how much time the earth has left before it’s put into an “irreversible climate emergency.”  This means that soon, the climate emergency will be unfixable. So if you think the wildfires are bad now, they’re going to be much much worse if there is nothing done during the next seven years.

Clearly, we need to do something to help the environment. Hopefully, if we are to return the climate back to its original state, or at least get close, the fire crisis of the West Coast will die down. I think the best way to do this is to start using more renewable energy sources, minimizing the resources we use now. Sure, this might mean some changes in our daily lives. But some of the things you can do are extremely simple. Turn off the lights when you leave a room, or don’t leave the TV on. Use a car as your last resort. Bike, scooter, take the bus or metro to limit emissions. Start recycling and use reusable bags! The climate is both what’s causing these fires, and what’s being affected the most by them. If we don’t do something soon, it’s only downhill from here.