In the worst wildfire season on record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service ran out of money to pay for firefighters, fire trucks and aircraft that dump retardant on monstrous flames. So officials did about the only thing they could: take money from other forest management programs.
But many of the programs were aimed at preventing giant fires in the first place, and raiding their budgets meant putting off the removal of dried brush and dead wood over vast stretches of land — the things that fuel eye-popping blazes, threatening property and lives.
There was a window of opportunity during which we would be able to address the causes of climate change without having to worry about simultaneously fighting the effects.
That window is now closed. We are now at the point where EVERYTHING gets more difficult and more expensive. We shift funds from fire prevention to fighting the fires we have now. We shift effort from flood preparation to flood cleanup.
All of this demonstrates a continued lack of understanding of the situation, at a societal level. If we want to thrive in the coming century, we have to start spending money and effort on climate change, both causes and effects, the way we spent money on war in the 20th century.
Clearly that’s not going to happen, in America, in the near future, so while we push to make it happen, we need to shift our own attitudes, and work on it WITHOUT the government.
Not easy, probably not fun, but it has to be done.