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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Lungs, and Future

Don’t let the lovely sunset image fool you.  Taken weeks ago, the smoky skies here have gotten worse.  There are fires all over the west coast, burning the grasses, trees, cars, and houses in their way.

I recently tried to escape to Mt. Shasta, but it was as bad there; it is impacted by fires up near Ashland and a huge one down at poor, hot Redding, California.

There have always been fires.  There have always been storms.  There have often been heat-waves.  What gets me is that their obvious increase, as predicted by climate forecasters, get dismissed as if having no relation to global warming.

My Mom died of emphysema, directly caused by her smoking cigarettes.  But the cigarette industry tried to sneak out of any liability, even though they knew the harm cigarettes cause, by saying something like, “You can’t blame her death on any one cigarette or all of them; there may have been other causes.”

Similarly, the fossil fuel industry has taken to the same sort of obfuscating lie – you can’t say any particular storm or fire was caused by global warming.  So instead of admitting the obvious trend of increased heat, increased acidification of the oceans, the increased storms, and the increased fires are in-part exacerbated by global warming, they squirm out of any moral lapse or legal liability.

So I sent a brief tweet to Dr. Michael Mann, awkwardly wording my objection, which he then re-tweeted.  To my surprise, it was liked and retweeted 25 times in mere moments.  Here it is:

Similar to cigarette denial tactics, we now hear “you can’t attribute [storm, fire, sea-rise, health problems] to climate warming” as if it were the only cause. Rather, turn it around: “You can’t deny that human-caused heat is making our recent weather worse.”

Indeed.  At 105 degrees, inhaling smoke with particles too small to be coughed out of our lungs, I am saddened and angered to know we’re due for more of this.  Insects moving north will sicken the trees and make them more fire-prone.  Snowmelt won’t refresh our streams as usual.  All from the salmon to us will suffer this tragic problem of our being needlessly addicted to fossil fuels.

I say “needlessly” because we know what those fuels are doing to our atmosphere (which will last for hundreds of years) and we know the alternatives to them are cost-effective now and will only improve.

The other day in the parking lot of the Bi Mart I saw a couple sitting in a big Ford pickup, running their engine fast to keep their air conditioning going so they could read books.  They had no concern for the fumes and heat they emitted, evidently.  Meanwhile, an electric car parked near.  Not only was it silent and clean, it had been powered-up at home from sunlight on their roof.

Not all fossil fuels can easily be replaced, but most could.  Wind power is more cost-effective than burning coal.  Solar pays.  Even Saudi Arabia is investing in huge solar farms.

Those who used to say, “We’ll do our part when China does theirs” should realize how dramatically China is in switching to electric cars and buses and how they’re leading the world in solar cell manufacture.  They, India, Europe – all moving quickly to clean, renewable energy supply and the wise use of it.

Here at home, huge companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook are doing their part to supply their own energy needs ethically and economically.  Various states, led by California but including 16 other states (including Oregon) are trying to address this humanity-wide challenge.

Too bad sociopathic leaders like Trump and Putin maneuver to prop up coal, oil, and natural gas.  They’d waste lives, money and time stirring up another war to protect their toxic process, inflicting on all life (for many generations into our future) even more sea-rise, storms, and fires.

Byron has been using his writing and public speaking to engage, challenge and inspire audiences for over 40 years. Reverend Carrier's mission is to rescue and revive our earthly Eden, including our human worth and potential. If you enjoy his work, consider supporting him with Patreon.

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5 years ago

Let’s not waste energy on demonizing the fossil fuel industry, or Trump and Putin, for the smoky air and the dying coral. Every one of us is to blame, to one degree or another. Every one of us, applying what we already know, could reduce our damage to the vitality of the ecology of which we’re a part. The oil, coal and natural gas drillers, miners, refiners and shippers (and all the supporting services of storage, marketing and distribution) are not any more at fault than the bus driver, the carpooling commuter, or the householder with a thermostat on the… Read more »

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