The 2018 wildfire season is the most destructive wildfire season on record in California, with a total of 7,983 fires burning an area of 1,824,505 acres, the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a fire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Interagency Fire Center, as of November 30.
The spread and intensity of the wildfires raging in California call for a far higher level of fire prevention, containment and disaster management than the state has had previously. No doubt about that.
There are multiple reasons why wildfires are getting more severe and destructive including forest management, house building regulations, land-use regulations, utility installations and codes, insurance practices plus many more including the mindset and alertness of the communities.
But what is driving the wild fires?
According to the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment (go to: https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/) , released on November 23 this year, higher temperatures and earlier snow melt are extending the fire season in western states. By 2050, according to the report, the area that burns yearly in the West could be two to six times larger than today.
Increasing wildfire risk is already the reality for much of the western United States, particularly in California, the Pacific Northwest, the mountains of the desert Southwest and the Southern Rockies, where warmer temperatures and drier conditions are major contributors. As the climate continues to warm, elevated risks of forest stress and die-off, vegetation transformation and wildfire will spread across the United States.
But moreover, raging wild fires, is becoming a global problem and needs to be addressed like that urgently and by ALL countries and governments in the world.
Carbon gets it. Cigarettes get it. Even sweet and lovely sugar gets it. Shouldn't meat get taxed, too?
It's an idea gaining widespread traction. The livestock industry causes, conservatively, 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and massively contributes to land degradation, water pollution and shortages, antibiotic resistance and loss of biodiversity. Meanwhile, meat consumption has been strongly linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.
Now many experts are saying that putting a tax on meat would help counter all these things by motivating people to turn to other food choices.
“Current levels of meat consumption are not healthy or sustainable," says Marco Springmann, of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at Oxford University. "The costs associated with each of those impacts could approach the trillions in the future. Taxing meat could be a first and important step.”
According to best estimates, more than 180 jurisdictions around the world currently tax tobacco, over 60 tax carbon emissions, and at least 25 put a tax on sugar. Perhaps inspired by this, meat taxes are under consideration by governments in Germany, Denmark and Sweden, said the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return Initiative, an investors' group. And in 2016, China’s government cut its suggested maximum meat consumption by 45%. Momentum is growing.
"A tax on chicken, turkey, pig, cow, fish, and other animal flesh sold in grocery stores and restaurants could help reduce Americans’ skyrocketing annual health-care costs," wrote People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a leading animal-rights group. "Revenue from the tax could be used to clean up areas polluted by animal agriculture, assist farms in transitioning away from animal-based agriculture, and increase access to healthy plant-derived foods in communities that need it most."
Consider a few more figures:
* Research conducted by the University of Chicago found that going vegan is 50 percent more effective in fighting climate change than switching from a conventional car to a hybrid.
* A 2016 Oxford study estimated that vegan eating could, by 2050, save $40 billion in environmental damages and $250 billion in health-care expenses in the U.S. alone.
Anything to encourage this seems beyond wise. It can be done, and easily.
According to PETA, a meat tax would cost a typical meat-eating family of four about $5 per month, though some of that might be absorbed by meat-producing companies. In return, the families would likely save hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical expenses over time as their health improved. And the value in environmental benefits would be incalculable.
So, let's do it. Let's tax all meat.
--By Andrea Solomon
Right now (August 2018) and less than a year after a series of wildfires in California destroyed more than 1.3 million acres, the Golden State has gone up in flames again, and is burning faster and bigger than ever before. That’s devastating news for residents, many of whom were forced to evacuate their homes for the second year in a row, not to mention the 14,000 firefighters working day and night to contain at least 16 major blazes from spreading any further.
Since 1920 the authorities have catalogued wildfires, so it is today known that of the 10 worst wildfire catastrophes since then, the 7 worst have happened in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and the worst in 2018.
Already the current and worst wildfire is covering 100,000 acres of land in Northern California.
Already it has burned 1100 single-family homes to the ground, so only ashes now cover where before the stately homes stood.
Think about it. This catastrophe takes place in this country, we for good reasons call the richest country in the world.
But it is also a country in which protection of the environment is now almost banned.
The present government has rolled back most of the regulatory control of man’s behavior in relation to nature, so that by now pollution is accepted, “fracking” with its disastrous environmental consequences is accepted, mass settling by humans into wooded hills that will burn is accepted, burning fires inside homes, cigarettes thrown from racing cars … and so it goes on.
On top of this, systems for the protection of people and properties are not preemptive, but are only set in place when the harm is cooking hot.
Add to this the idea crazy idea that Global Warming and Climate Change is a hoax, in spite of the fact that the dry seasons have become more dry, longer in duration and never failing in recurrence.
People burn to death, their homes disappear and so do memories of a childhood, while the natural world suffers and deniers thrive.
On BBC news on the 7th of August 2018 this was a headline. And very relevant, we think in the Gaia-Movement.
The serious concept of "Hothouse Earth".
Global warming will have severe consequences for the planet.
Hot climates and towering seas in years to come if temperatures rise by just 2C.
Some of the planet's natural forces - that currently protect us - become our enemies.
Here are some of the big changes which could happen with a 2C temperature rise - which is the globally accepted amount, according to the Paris climate agreement.
BBC lists some examples of what will change drastically:
Chocolate is under threat
The cacao bean plant is just one example of a globally important crop that grows in warm and humid climates," she says.
But global warming doesn't mean that there will be more places to grow cacao beans - in fact, it's the opposite.
A rise in global temperatures causes weather systems to be unpredictable and inconsistent, which would put cacao growing at risk.
The Arctic could melt
Ice in the areas around the North Pole could melt completely
But it's not just the animals living there which are under threat.The way that the whole Earth works changes.
"You're changing ice that reflects heat back into space into dark seawater that absorbs incoming solar radiation."
So, it's a vicious circle - the less ice there is to reflect heat away from the Earth, the more global warming accelerates.
Entire nations might have to move
How can you be a country if you don't have any land?
Melting ice means rising sea levels - which could put low-lying island nations, such as the Maldives, under the sea.
The people who live in these low-lying areas will have to go somewhere,
There are already lots of discussions with people in low-lying Pacific islands talking with Australia and New Zealand about where they can live, and how they can have nationhood while renting land from another country.
Combine rising temperatures with other human activity such as deforestation, and you have drastic effects on the water cycle.
"When you change landscapes, you change where water can flow," says Dr Cornell.
"When you warm the planet and are simultaneously changing the landscape, you're changing the water cycle... in a much less predictable way than it was before."
Extreme changes to the water cycle can lead to severe floods - and severe droughts.
How a tree frog affects a whole ecosystem
Two years ago, a little brown treefrog called Toughie died in Atlanta, USA, at the age of 12.
He was the last known living Rabbs' fringe-limbed treefrog to exist.
Toughie's story is a symbol of the rate of extinction that is being caused as a result of climate change.
The extinction of a species even as small as a frog has consequences which we don't yet fully understand.
We could lose treefrogs, and that doesn't sound important but it's vitally important because it's what we lose with it
When we're killing species, we probably won't know in advance what the consequences are.
The Gaia Movement has taken it’s name after the “Gaia Theory” formulated by the British scientist James Lovelock during the 1970”ies. James Lovelock has envisioned the scenario described above several decades ago.
Here are some examples of ian nterview with the British media a decade or so ago.(external link)
Only People can liberate ourselves from “more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050”.
Scientists estimate that more than 8 million metric tons of plastic is entering our ocean every year. There could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. From tiny plankton to enormous whales, countless animals across marine ecosystems are affected by plastic pollution. It's found in 59% of seabirds like albatross and pelicans, 100% of sea turtle species, and over a quarter of fish sampled from seafood markets around the world.
Marine debris isn't an ocean problem...it's a people problem. Trash in the ocean has serious consequences for all of us.
The production of plastic increased from 2 tons in 1950 to over 340 million tons by 2014. 95% of plastics is used only one time and goes in the garbage and that type of plastic will last practically forever.
When whales, fish, turtles ingest plastic, it fills up their ingestion system and the starve to death with full stomach.
The production of plastic continues even when it has this consequence. The reason this happens is because the economic and political system allows the production of plastic to continue without any regulations.
What can we do? People everywhere stop using plastic.
It helps when people stop using plastic. The manufacturers of plastics will only stop, when nobody buys, and they don’t turn a profit.