Most of these fires spurred from California’s consistent lack of rain, as well as compounding atmospheric conditions linked to global warming. Recent research on wildfires in California, published in August 2018, predicted an increase in the number of wildfires as a consequence of climate change. These unheard-of conditions helped to craft a new batch of wildfires that included the Woolsey Fire and the Camp Fire, the latter of which killed at least 85 people.
It’s not only California that is feeling the heat from a severe wildfire season. And climate change and a dry forest aren’t the only things to blame. A wildfire in Arizona back in April 2018 enveloped 45,000 acres of land and resulted in more than $8 million in damages, the United States attorney’s office for Arizona said. This fire, however, was the result of a “gender reveal party” gone wrong, with Dennis Dickey, a United States border patrol agent from Arizona, firing at a target filled with colorful powder that would reveal his next child’s gender that instead engulfed the Arizona land in flames.
Bringing up natural disasters like this, among climate change and other things, isn’t exactly the easiest subject to discuss, likely because humans are perhaps the main contributor to the problem in the first place. The human impact on the land and planet that we call home generally is not an easy thing to converse about. As a people, we have a hard time admitting that we’ve made mistakes, especially when it comes to talking about how our “instantaneous gratification” culture has changed the planet that we live on in a way that may not be able to be repaired. Most of us don’t even realize that this is something we inherently struggle with. Accepting blame is hard, and even more difficult when the consequences present themselves as things such as mass wildfires, reduced air quality, and even species extinction.
As a people, we’ve become somewhat of a natural disaster within ourselves. Our dangerous actions spur from simple things like trying to get “likes” on an Instagram photo or a YouTube video to prove that your gender reveal party and the corresponding video is the best one yet. Like dry land and a lack of water, little actions can serve as a catalyst for something much more dangerous and dark than what was originally intended.
Even if more rain falls in California or people, in general, begin to take more responsibility for their actions, not everything is going to change overnight. Climate change and the human impact behind things like the California wildfires is not something that can easily be undone. However, reparations and a push for a healthier planet are possible, at least for a little bit longer, as long as we don’t let our planet turn into one big “gender reveal party” gone wrong.
We have to start practicing kindness and authenticity in every aspect of our lives and that includes what we do to take care of the planet that we have because, as far as we know, it is the only one that we have. The first step is taking responsibility for our choices and remembering the consequences for the choices that we do make. There has to be a shift in the consumerist culture. We are given the choice each and every day to make things better with the people around us and on the land in which we live. We just have to start by taking care of it first instead of as an afterthought.