The Downside


OPINION — California has always had wildfires, but while the Golden State is experiencing some of the worst fires ever this year, the actual cause of these fires continues to baffle the authorities. Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the nation’s foremost experts on stuff, said recently the fires are the result of climate change. And if you can’t believe Leonard Di Caprio, who can you believe?

Democrat vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and California Governor Gavin Newsom are on board with Leo on that. The two recently toured Fresno County, where some of the worst fire damage occurred, and eyeballed the blackened landscape and burned-out houses. They both agreed it sure enough looked to them like climate change caused those fires. How about some lunch?

Newsom pretty much nailed it when he said, “If you don’t believe in science, come to California and observe it with your own eyes. You cannot be in denial about this reality.” So there you have it. Climate change.

But what, exactly, is causing all this climate change, anyhow? Well, according to Ted Grudin, who holds a doctorate in environmental science from UC Berkley, the actual culprit behind our current climate crisis is white supremacy. He wrote an op-ed for the Earth Island Journal about it, entitled ‘How White Supremacy Caused the Climate Crisis.’ He said our situation was created by greedy politicians and businessmen, oppression of non-white people, colonization, the fossil fuel industry, nation building, government corruption, all the usual suspects. Basically it’s my fault.

Ted even took a swipe at God in his diatribe. He said the biblical mandate found in Genesis chapter one to ‘subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it’ has served as a basis for exploitation. This has caused private property and capitalism, and justified man’s desire to conquer the planet. Luckily for the rest of us, Ted has a solution. He says we just need to adopt Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, and we can all live happily ever after. Which I think is a great idea, except that it would cause most of us to die. But hey, there’s always a downside.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Didn’t the police arrest several people who were caught lighting a bunch of the fires in California recently? You know, with matches and stuff?’ And the answer is yes, they did. One fellow was arrested for arson, and then was released, and was later caught lighting more wildfires the very same day. But Harris and Newsom haven’t said anything about the arsonists, so I don’t really think they’re much of a factor here. Try to stay focused on the real problem, would you?

Of course, California, like most other brushy, woody states, used to allow a lot of logging, and used controlled burns to keep wildfires to a minimum. But those things turned out to cause anxiety for the environmentalists and hurt their feelings and stuff. So they put the quietus to all that, and now the tree huggers are a lot happier. At least, those who haven’t been burned up in the wildfires, or lost their homes. But hey, there’s always a downside.

During the 1960s and 70s, attitudes changed, and cutting trees began to be viewed as almost murder. Even clearing dead trees and brush was frowned upon, with exceedingly great frowns. Less tree cutting and more dead brush, combined with California’s dry summers, basically created a tinderbox. It’s kind of hard not to start a fire in Cali now, even if you’re not an arsonist.

And then governor Jerry Brown pushed something called the Green Energy Mandate a while back, and the state’s resources were aimed at wind and solar power. Which was great, except that no one remembered to check the current energy grid, which has gotten pretty old. Over a hundred years old, in some places. The lines are falling apart, and a lot of California’s fires have been caused by faulty wires and transformers. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

But while I always figured Jerry Brown was probably the worst governor in the history of governoring, Gavin Newsom came along and said, ‘Hold my safe space.’ Gavin, bless his heart, recently decreed that all cars in Cali will run on electricity in fifteen years. Which is fantastic, except for a couple of minor details. I almost hate to mention these details. But I will.

California is the first state, ever, to intentionally deny electricity to its citizens, because they don’t have enough of it. It’s not that Jerry’s Green Energy Mandate failed so much as it just hasn’t worked. During the peak season, when people want to run their A/C and possibly keep from melting in their own living rooms, Californians can’t even keep the lights on. But hey, there’s always a downside.

There’s also the minor detail that most of our electricity, including the electricity that powers electric cars, still comes from burning fossil fuels. Which kind of makes it silly to require all electric cars, but I’m sure Gavin will figure it out when the time comes. He’s probably working on that right now. Maybe Ted Grudin will help him, with that Ph.D. he’s got.

So that pretty well settles it. California’s wildfires are obviously caused by climate change. The political climate out there changed in 1974, when Brown took over from Reagan.

There’s always a downside . . .

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