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Our World and Climate Change

Increasingly frequent wildfires are shaking our world, animals’ worlds, natures’ world, and ripping through forests and nature reserves almost every month. Started for a variety of reasons, these wildfires all across the globe are bringing about possibly irresistible damage to our world and the habitats of many species living within these damaged ecosystems. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, also known as the III, “the wildfire season in 2019 has not been as active as 2018,” with a couple thousand fires breaking out compared to 58,083 individual, unique wildfires in 2018. Therefore, you may be wondering, “why has the topic of climate change, especially wildfires with relation to climate change, suddenly gained such immense traction in 2019?” The answer to this question comes in two main explanations: the exponential buildup of all of these fires across the years with little recovery, and the severity of said wildfires this year. 

Photo credit: Vladimir Kudino

In a narrative style article written by The Vox, author Eliza Barclay tugs on the reader’s emotions by discussing the physical burning of the trees and writing how “some residents have evacuated in time, but others die in their cars or their homes as the flames overtake them.” This California wildfire, affecting the area near Palm Springs and threatening a National Forest, was one of the worst this planet has seen. The flames stretched 100 miles west and 100 miles south, creating a huge spectrum of damage produced by said fires. Specialists say that the fires reached a total of 1.5 million acres of forest, land, and civilization: this amounting to the biggest wildfire that California has ever seen. In terms of the long term damage caused by this wildfire and future ones in the surrounding area, descriptions, and data regarding climate highlights rising temperatures. Said rising temperatures create a drier, more susceptible landscape across the state, creating long-term damage to the trees, scrubs, and, therefore, also the homes of many animals and creatures native to the California forests (like many species of bear, bird, deer, and foxes) that are vital for the ecosystem to survive. 

Another important point and explanation of the worsening matter of climate change that writer Eliza Barclay brings up briefly is the notion of old, fire-torn trees being burned for a second or third time. With the sheer amount of wildfires that California has seen, a massive 8,054 unique fires in 2018 alone according to the Insurance Information Institute, the trees that were caught alight in this horrific 2019 fires were likely somehow touched by fire in the previous year as well. These trees, already weak from the previous wildfires, are increasingly more dry and flammable than the healthy trees we may know of. Therefore, any form of fire that touches those trees is even more severe and wide-sweeping than the last, passing the flames from tree to scrub to tree, sweeping the forest. 

A topic that may seem inherently negative, maybe even hopeless: what is one single person supposed to do about a massive California wildfire affecting large sections of the whole state’s population? Some scientists even say there is no hope, but we can never lose that individualism, and maybe even a little bit of egotism that tells us deep down that something can be done for turning this situation around. That egotism proves to every individual person that they can make an impact on this even if it does seem small, it’s there.

Half of the recovery and movement forward is helping those effected through any means possible, like providing anything you feel comfortable giving away, and  doing our best as a society to help support these forests. Several non-profit organizations – along with seeking food, water, blood, and monetary donations – seek volunteers for cleaning up any debris or fire-torn tree limbs, scrubs, and foliage to prevent anything from catching alight again. 

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I'm a sophomore at Boston University studying journalism on a pre-law school track.
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