California is experiencing a summer of deadly brush fires, record-setting temperatures and growing concern about the future.
The state is in the midst of the worst wildfire year in history, with more than 10,000 homes lost and nearly 50 people killed, and it is on track to record its warmest summer on record, exceeding the record broken just last year.
Gov. Jerry Brown and many experts have said this is climate change coming home to roost. “People are doing everything they can, but nature is very powerful and we’re not on the side of nature,” Brown said in Redding last week, surveying the destruction of fires there. “We’re fighting nature with the amount of material we’re putting in the environment, and that material traps heat.”
Times columnist Steve Lopez wrestled with these questions, arguing that climate change deniers are simply wrong and that we must act now before things get much worse.
He ended the column on a personal note:
I grew up in California, lived in the Bay Area for 30 years and in Southern California for 20 more, and yes, climate variations have always existed. I can recall many extremes of dry heat and steady rain.
But this looks and feels different. The hills are drier and more combustible, the heat is hotter and more stubborn, the fires are bigger and more frightening and I can only wonder what we’ll be passing on to my daughter and future generations.
However many naysayers there are, including a president who blames California’s catastrophe on everything but global warming, leading the way on educating, planning and adapting isn’t just possible, it’s a moral imperative.
Do you agree? For people who have lived in California for a while, does this summer feel different? Are you feeling and seeing climate change in your life? Tell us how.