Northwest Missourian Opinion

Growing up in California, we didn’t really have to worry about thunderstorms, tornadoes and the typical Midwest weather. We had to worry about wildfires.

Coming to Northwest, I have had to learn to deal with this type of weather and the humidity. Back home, people are dealing with smoke, hazy skies, extreme drought, high winds and devastating fires. In the past weeks, back home there have been the California wildfires that have spread up to Oregon and Washington, and even though they have not affected me personally, they have done damage to people in my home state. 

In southern California, the fires were not as bad as they were in the northern portion of the state. Around my hometown, the skies have been a little different for the past few weeks. The sky is dark, and the moon is orange. The changes aren’t only aesthetic, however.

Most people don’t expect for any of this to happen or do damage to property, but with weather change and the hot, dry atmosphere it’s almost inevitable. Homes and lives are regularly ruined by these fires. More than 30 people have died from the fires, and that number could continue to rise. 

My first experience of wildfires was back in 2004. I remember distinctly of ashes falling to the ground causing cement to look black and damages done to vehicles around my community. For a safety measure, we packed up and drove west to my grandparents’ house because they were farther away.

I can only imagine what the families impacted are dealing with as the fires continue to rage. The terrible air quality alone is something that is hard on families and their pets. There has been a high amount of damage to property and wildlife as well. In 2020 alone, 3.2 million acres have burned already with around 30,000 structures being damaged. This causes families and businesses to lose a lot and not have much to do. 

When it comes down to it, everyone needs to buy into the fact that climate change is real and is going to continue if we do not try to do anything about it.

Forget the political side of it and look at the facts. President Donald Trump said in a comment in regards to the fires via a press conference “It is only going to get colder” and “Science is wrong”. Science isn’t wrong; it’s science. It evolves and grows with our knowledge, but flat-out dismissals from people like Trump are dangerous.

They don’t just cause doubt and misinformation. People are dying from these fires, and the denial of climate change is the denial of their cause of death.

The fires may have been contained this time, but in years to come, they are going to get worse, and we need to focus on being better as a society. This should not be California jobs to fix the problem of climate change. Climate change is an international issue, not something that applies only to the west coast, the effects are just more visible there.

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