Right now California is on fire. The Kincade Fire has forced some 200,000 people from their homes and destroyed many buildings in its wake, as well as disrupting lives in all sorts of ways. This has been happening at the same time as the Getty Fire has been affecting people in LA, and comes hot on the heels of 2018’s record-breaking Camp Fire, which destroyed many thousands of homes in California. But what’s the lessons from climate change? Well we can’t say that climate change causes these fires. After all there are all sorts of causes, from the natural to the very human mismanagement of the situations. But climate change certainly plays a role by providing fuel for the fire. It does this with hot, dry conditions. All of this has led to a five-fold increase in the area of California that burns each year since the 1970s. But understanding climate change doesn’t just help us understand the fire. Understanding the fire helps us understand climate change. Specifically what happens when disaster hits. We see that the responses are panicked, challenging. Even though California is the richest state in the world’s richest nation. And parts of California are insanely rich. The LA Times quoted one person evacuating who was faced with an unspeakable dilemma. “I have to figure out what to do with my Ferrari,” he said. I was going to try and do a Californian accent but it’s in everyone’s interest that I don’t do that. But just because California is wealthy, it doesn’t mean all Californians are wealthy. In fact many workers like housekeepers and gardeners still showed up for work in evacuated areas because they were scared of losing their wages. When disaster like this hits, think about the most vulnerable people in society. That includes people who are homeless, who are unwell, people who have nowhere and nobody to turn to. But the situation has been made even harder with planned power outages affecting some 1 million customers. These outages have been planned by energy provider PG&E to try and avoid sparking more wildfires. But the company has sparked a lot of criticism with many saying that they should have planned better to avoid these power outages and wildfires rather than just cutting the power for many. This lack of power is just making things even harder. It’s not only not being able to charge things like mobile phones, it’s also not being able to run air purifiers or vital medical equipment. Lots of people are getting around this by understandably purchasing private generators, but not everyone can afford these. And when they run they’re just gunna make the air quality worse and lead to more climate change. All of this paints a picture of how climate change will affect us. People often say to me when I talk about climate change that there’s no need to stop it. That we can adapt. And to that I say: Who? Who can adapt? Climate change-related disasters will disrupt lives. But what if your life is already disrupted? What if you’re already struggling to survive and then disaster hits? And remember: this is in California, in America. What happens when climate change hits in a poorer part of the world? You see climate change does affect all of us. But climate change does not affect all of us equally. I want to end on a more positive note. And what more positive story is there than the explosion of the youth climate movement in 2019. One of the young people leading the climate strikes in America is New Yorker, Alexandria Villasenor. And wildfires play a vital part of her story. “… And I was visiting family in California when the paradise fire broke out. And the air quality was so bad I had to – and I have asthma – I had to fly back to New York early. I was like: what is going on?? When I came back to New York, I was upset about California, I was mad.” Alexandria is now doing this. So for you, hearing about, or maybe even experiencing climate related disasters what are you going to do to limit climate change, and to protect everyone? If you want to understand the link between
extreme weather and climate change then make sure to watch my previous video
over here. And if you have any climate change questions
of your own leave them in the comments below. Until next time, bye! “… with mah ferahrih,” he said…. Sorry.