Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wildfires are raging in Canada.

"There were 264 wildfires burning in B.C., and blazes have so far destroyed 271,600 hectares, including 70,000 hectares in the last 48 hours.

'To put it into perspective, the 10-year average for [total hectares burned by this time of the year] is 90,000 hectares,' Eamer said...

In Calgary, the skyline was barely visible beneath the haze. Resident Dominic Filocha said the city smelled like “a barbecue being fired up.”

I found this video over at SurvivalAcres - there is a second at his site, with better quality visual. Watching the power of moving earth is indescribable. Fresh landslides in China killed people and buried homes in the past few days, following the horrific landslide in Zhouqu where over a thousand people died.
People use wood logs and boards to pave a path into a village submerged by landslides in search for people buried in mud in Puladi township, in southwest China's Yunnan province, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010. Fresh landslides rocked another area of China on Wednesday, sweeping through a mountain town in the southwest of the country after days of heavy rains. (AP Photo)
Lately there is a growing tally of many more record-breaking precipitation events, more frequent and heavier downpours, thanks to climate change (and thanks to all the malefactors who deny it!) So maybe that's enough all by itself to account for these landslides.

Or maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with vegetation dying. If the roots are stunted and shriveling anything resembling the rate that the visible parts are, then there's not much underground to hold the dirt onto the sides of hills and mountains.

Just sayin'...

And reproduced below, because I like it, is another recent comment by Lewis Cleverdon at Climate Progress. I wish Lewis Cleverdon had a blog. I would read it every day.

  1. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    While we face uncontrolled multiple interactive feedbacks that are now evidently accelerating, of which the collapse of the carbon banks and decline of carbon sinks are just the latest to be observed, there can be no great confidence of any better outcome than Lovelock’s “few breeding pairs at the poles.”

    I write as a hill farmer who, for three years, has been unable to make hay for the livestock due to unprecedented weather – This year a cold drought started in February (while we still had snow on the tops!) and intensified until late June, precluding any spring grass. Then is began to rain, too late for even a third of a crop to grow, and too wet to harvest. I’ll get some poor silage, but hay will have to be bought in, again, at exorbitant prices.

    Meanwhile winter feed cerials, that used to be possible to grow in these mountains, now also have to be bought in, and their prices are already rising very sharply even before the next round of oil-price spikes pushes global fertilizer costs skyward.

    I mention these events to illustrate both the vulnerability of our food security to climate destabilization here in a ‘wealthy’ highly complex society, and to highlight its impoverishing effects.

    The proximate causes of famine are and will be impoverishment (from all causes) and the prevailing laissez-faire ideology (aka neo-liberalism, aka devil-take-the-hindermost). Recent reports of aboriginal children starving in Australia is a case in point. The communities’ part-reliance on traditional wild food sources had been hit by long intense drought, and they lacked wealth to by in alternative foodstocks, and the larger societal cohesion to ensure their wellbeing.

    Being an issue of national security, a threat to food supply normally causes govt.s to constrain food exports – viz Russia now, and numerous countries during the last oil-price spike. Alongside food being diverted to liquid fuel to ease gas prices, this both exacerbates shortfalls in global distribution and drives the feedback of price escalation, on which profiteers then speculate, thereby maximizing the impoverishment effect.

    Continued below . . .

  2. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Yet great as the all-sources impoverishment is becoming, (viz Pakistan defaulting on its international debt), it is a secondary issue in relation to the impact of the neo-liberal ideology. The latter not merely leaves people to starve, it actively maintains the profitable pollution that is destroying the climate stability that food production requires.

    Moreover, neo-liberalism is the key obstruction of the essential collective global efforts, firstly to control global warming and prevent the feedbacks running amok, and secondly to organize the global deployment of resources to minimize harms from the climate destabilization already under way. Without its callous obstructionism, I suggest we’d already have a World Food Bank operating to preclude famine, as well as having agreed and ratified a stringent Treaty of the Atmospheric Commons.

    The outlook that “poor nations will starve, wealthy nations won’t” neatly describes both a major part of the ‘problematique’ facing us, as well as its proponents’ myopic delusion of an incompetent ideology’s effectiveness. If that ideology is not overcome, then the upshot will be that the rich, in whatever nation, will starve, but a little later than the poor who used to be able to grow food for them.

    This is not a re-run of the C19 great game between nations, for all Obama and others cling to that mindset: this is a global crisis of fundamental resource destruction for which we are utterly unprepared. If we don’t get beyond the outdated ideology that has generated this condition and pull together in commensurate collective global action, we seem unlikely to survive it.




  1. Been finding a few other Lewis Cleverdon gems:

  2. Agreed. His comments are thoughtful and deep.


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