NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab hunkers down in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Enlarge the photo (or, as the Altadena Hiker says, "enbiggen" it) and you can see patchy scrub growing on the low hill behind the campus. The higher mountains beyond are barren. Every bit of vegetation that once grew on them burned in the Station Fire, which began on August 26th. Amazingly, the Station Fire continues to burn in small "nuisance smokes" today. The fire's been at 98% containment for a couple of weeks now.
These empty, gray mountains go on for miles in either direction. As you drive through the towns below them it shocks you how far the fire went. And you see what the firefighters had to do: they beat the flames back and protected towns and structures. Beyond that, they had no choice but to let the fire go. 250 square miles of it. They saved the people. They couldn't save the forest.
In time, the forest will renew itself.
What if there had been no water available to fight that fire?
As of last count, 9975 blogs in 151 countries (and counting) are participating in today's Blog Action Day, expecting to reach over 13 million readers in a global discussion of climate change.
At the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December it will finally be time for America to step up. From Here to a Global Climate Treaty, a recent blog post at Avaaz.org, gives an idea of where the United States stands. There's a link to the Senate Finance Committee so you can see just which individuals it comes down to, besides you and me. We are a top emitter of greenhouse gases. We can urge our senators to help us take responsibility for our emissions. We can do something.
I think we can all agree climate change is happening. I'll leave it to the scientists to figure out how and why. Other crucial issues exist, but if there's not enough food because the earth can no longer grow it--if there's not enough water left on the planet to drink, let alone protect us from the inevitable fires brought on by global drought--then nothing else matters, does it?