Connecting the dots: Climate change and wildfires

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There were numerous shocking scenes as wildfires ravaged the west. For some, it was a wake up call. Especially to those who have thought about climate change, and worried about climate change, and fires, and sea level rise for decades.

Dr. Peter Gleick and Genevieve Guenther, founder of End Climate Silence, have talked about the changing climate for about ten years now. That’s five years of exceptional drought, one year of historic rainfall, and now four years of unprecedented fire.

What they have all seen over the past weeks may feel like an exclamation point to all of that. Gleick says it’s more like a comma.

“It’s not that the fires have been caused by climate change, it’s that what we are experiencing is increasingly influenced by climate change. That’s the message. We can no longer talk about these things without talking about the role that humans are playing and making these problems worse.”

Genevieve Guenther’s “End Climate Silence” campaign went trending on the coattails of those amazing images. She just hopes everyone that snapped a picture is also connecting the dots behind what they’re seeing.

“You can just think of it as 2020. You’ve seen a lot of tweets like that. People tweet the photograph of what San Francisco looked like and say ‘Oh, 2020, could you get any worse?’ As if once we get into 2021 these disasters are going to stop happening.”

Their hope is that the impression made by these skies will cut through some of the smoke surrounding the science. 

Guenther, “If you think this is bad now, it gets exponentially worse with each degree of warming, it’s not like a nice linear step up. What we saw last night and the day before it’s just going to be our future. And it’s an unlivable future.”

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