Thursday, May 5, 2016

Time to Blame

The stories, photos, and videos coming out of Ft. McMurray are dramatic. The initial reaction of shock and horror is now being replaced by two things.
The first, is an outpouring of prayers, thoughts, acts of kindness and offers of help. It is heartening to see the resilience of the citizens of that city and the rallying cries of Albertans and Canadians alike.
The second is blame. I am watching this story closely because I have a close tie to that city, and after reading several articles and blogs this morning, I am amazed at the reactions of a few people, and more amazed that their ideas are gaining traction.
There are those who are saying that this is Karma. Those wicked people who are extracting that wicked oil (read carbon) from the land are getting what they deserve.
There are those who are blaming the Notley gov't for the fire because it could have been extinguished early on had she not knocked the wind out of this year's fire fighting budget with a $15 Million budget cut.
There are some who blame our Prime Minister because he is not responding as quickly as the Mexican state of Jalisco who sent firefighters the very next day.
There those who are blaming Global Warming and Climate Change.
Some blame the municipal and provincial gov'ts because they should have been clearing under brush in a two mile perimeter of the city.
The one that took that cake was the National post article that blamed each and everyone of us because this fire is the direct result of too much carbon in the air and we have all contributed to that and encouraged the tar sands projects with our insatiable appetite for oil and oil products.
Why do we, as a society do this? Do we need answers to these mysteries of life so badly that we let logic and common sense fly out the window?
Here are the visible and knowable facts. Ft. McMurray is a large city built in the forest, and surrounded by forest. The forest is old and there has not been a fire there in generations. Hence, fuel.
The temperatures are high and humidity low, ideal conditions for a fire. Throw in strong gusting winds and you have potential for disaster. The weather and climate patterns change and always will. The heat there broke a 70 year old weather and herein lies the rub. What was happening 70 years ago that it was so hot in Ft. McMurray. It could not have been anthropogenic climate change as there was none back then.
We have all the conditions right for a fire and it happened. Forest fires are natural and a way of the forest renewing itself and pine trees reseeding themselves. The fire does not care if there are people and buildings in the way.
Are those who are rubbing their hands in glee that Karma is kicking in, realise that the carbon in the air from this fire far exceeds anything the oil industry can accomplish? Who receives Karma for this? A single forest fire or a volcano can extinguish decades worth of attempts to reduce carbon emissions. But the world still goes on.
Let's top blaming and just help these people out as they attempt to put their lives back together.

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