Saturday, August 19, 2023

Maui's Fires and the Climate Tie-In

Once again, we are seeing devastating news of natural disasters with the wildfires of Maui, where approximately 1/5 of the island is in severe drought. In part, this is due to decreased amounts of rainfall in Hawaii over the last 100 years--90% less, in fact, according to scientists' calculations.

The Maui fires are coming on the heels of the March-Summer 2023 Canadian wildfires which were impacting the air quality with their particulate matter in much of the Eastern US and at times the upper Midwest as well

Just as the Australian wildfires of 2019-2020 caught global headlines, here we are again. Before that in 2018, the Carr & Mendocino fires of California were ripping through headlines. Wildfires and drought conditions are becoming more and more prevalent.

This isn't just a freak of nature--there is a cause. That cause is climate change and the effects of extreme weather. Especially in a year that is proving to be the hottest on record. After 8 of the last 10 years of maintaining this same record-"winning"-title, we keep heating up--landing with the same "Hottest Year Yet" headline. The cause itself isn't climate change, but rather with raised temperatures and an overabundance of heat, everything dries out, intensifying the fire, and ultimately the devastation.

This information from climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe helps shed some light on just how climate change and massive wildfires are related:

The devastation to communities, landmarks, wildlife, and individuals is immense, horrific, and heartbreaking. To learn more about how to help the people of Maui, learn more at this PBS News Hour article about ways to donate.

One can only hope that out of this tragedy, there can come the tiniest sliver of a silver lining. As more global natural events like wildfires, droughts, or hurricanes happen, mainstream media is FINALLY starting to focus more news time on climate news and our human impact. As more and more people get educated about what is happening in the world, human change hopefully will follow. Through more open dialogue and detailed, science-based information, perhaps legislation and policy will also take place--leading to a global community committed to takinge care of our planet and ultimately each other.

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