Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Wildfires (14)

California fires: deadliest week in history

The Guardian / Associated Press / 13 October 2017

Northern California’s wildfires have now killed 31 people, making this the deadliest week of wildfires in state history.

Sonoma County sheriff Robert Giordano said Thursday night that two more people have been confirmed dead there. That raises the statewide death total from 29 to 31. The Oakland Hills fire of 1991 killed 29 people by itself.

While no one fire currently burning has killed that many, collectively this is the deadliest series of simultaneous fires in the state since records have been kept.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Ottawa gets it right on funding for disaster mitigation

Globe & Mail / Don Forgeron / 30 April 2017

Lost in all the talk and analysis of the most recent federal budget was a landmark investment of $2-billion for disaster mitigation funding – the largest infusion of dollars dedicated to disaster mitigation in Canada’s history. The investment is designed to reduce the almost $9-billion spent by the federal government in unbudgeted disaster relief expenditures from 2005 projected through 2020.

Many commentators completely missed the significance of this investment.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

We need to talk about climate change

Slate / Eric Holthaus / 06 May 2016

Canada-fireI want to be clear: Talking about climate change during an ongoing disaster like Fort McMurray is absolutely necessary. There is a sensitive way to do it, one that acknowledges what the victims are going through and does not blame them for these difficulties. But adding scientific context helps inform our response and helps us figure out how something so horrific could have happened. We’ve reached an era where all weather events bear at least a slight human fingerprint, which, as Elizabeth Kolbert points out in the New Yorker, means “we’ve all contributed to the latest inferno.” That’s a scientific fact. We need to talk about what we want to do with that information. Since climate change is such a pressing global problem, there’s no better time to have that conversation than now—when we can see what exactly inaction might continue to cause.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Fort McMurray and the fires of climate change

The New Yorker / Elizabeth Kolbert / 05 May 2016

Kolbert-Canada-Wildfire-1200As Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist who is a Green Party member of British Columbia’s provincial legislature, noted, “The reality is we are all consumers of products that come from oil.”

But to fail to acknowledge the connection is to risk another kind of offense. We are all consumers of oil, not to mention coal and natural gas, which means that we’ve all contributed to the latest inferno. We need to own up to our responsibility and then we need to do something about it. The fire next time is one that we’ve been warned about, and that we’ve all had a hand in starting.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

A new global tinderbox: The world’s northern forests

Yale Environment 360 / Ed Struzik / 01 October 2015

AK-forest-service-fire-250Ted Schuur has spent the better part of his career making the connection between climate change and wildfires that are burning an increasing amount of land in Alaska and in sub-Arctic and Arctic forests around the world. So the Northern Arizona University scientist wasn’t all that surprised this summer to find his field stations in the interior of Alaska surrounded by fires on three sides. At the time, the state was well on track to recording its second-worst fire season ever.

The surprise came in mid-summer when Schuur took a few days off from his research to attend a meeting in Colorado. He had hoped the trip would give him a break from Alaska’s noxious smoke. The smoke in Boulder, however, was so thick that the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment was advising parents with young children and people with heart disease and respiratory problems to limit their outdoor activities.

As Schuur soon learned, the pall of smoke in Denver had actually drifted down from a large number of forest fires in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. “I’ve never seen anything quite like this summer,” says Schuur. “It seemed like half the continent was on fire at one time or another.”

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Megablazes tell us about the fiery future of climate change

Rolling Stone / Tim Dickinson / 15 September 2015

Pervasive drought and record temperatures have turned forests from Fresno to Fairbanks into tinderboxes. And it’s only getting worse

R S photoThis is the present, and the future, of climate change. Our overheated world is amplifying drought and making megafire commonplace. This is happening even in the soggy Pacific Northwest, which has been hard-hit by what’s been dubbed a “wet drought.” Despite near-normal precipitation, warm winter temperatures brought rain instead of snow to the region’s mountains. What little snow did hit the ground then melted early, leaving the Northwest dry — and ready to burn in the heat of summer.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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Transition initiatives share many of the same goals as other groups, and work collaboratively with a variety of organizations in their local areas. Transition differs in that it focuses specifically on preparing communities for the changes associated with unprecedented resource depletion and transitioning away from fossil-fuel dependency.

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