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Saturday, October 22, 2016

By David Siders, The Sacramento Bee

California Gov. Jerry Brown, blaming climate change for the increasing prevalence of wildfires in California, said Sunday that “humanity is on a collision course with nature.”

“The state’s climate appears to be changing,” Brown said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The scientists tell us that definitely. So we’ve got to gear up here. And after all, in California for 10,000 years our population was about 300,000. Now it’s 38 million. We have more structures, more activity, more sparks, more combustible activity and we’ve got to gear up for it, and as the climate changes, this is going to be a radically different future than was our historic past.”

Brown’s remarks came as firefighters battle fires in San Diego County, where Brown declared a state of emergency last week. The Democratic governor has made climate change a focus of his administration, and he has used the state’s dramatic fires to illustrate concerns about the environment.

According to state fire officials, 1,108 wildfires burned more than 2,500 acres in California from Jan. 1 through late April, an increase over the 697 fires and 1,793 acres burned in the comparable period last year.

“As we send billions and billions of tons of heat-trapping gases, we get heat and we get fires and we get what we’re seeing,” Brown said. “So we’ve got to gear up. We’re going to deal with nature as best we can, but humanity is on a collision course with nature and we’re just going to have to adapt to it in the best way we can.”

AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe

  • sigrid28

    To commit to attacking climate change meaningfully, Americans nationwide may need to become as intimate as Californians are about what it takes to fight forest fires, let alone survive them. Highly readable, unforgettable, and often terrifying, Norman Maclean’s “Young Men and Fire” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992) and his son John Maclean’s “Fire on the Mountain” (New York: Harper, 1999) are indispensable in this regard. There has been a cottage industry of late devoted to survival literature, trying to determine what gives some individuals the edge in a disaster. Read these instead. Climate change and science deniers have the longest learning curve: “Coming to recognize you are wrong is like coming to recognize you re sick. You feel bad long before you admit you have any of the symptoms and certainly long before you are willing to take your medicine.” (Norman Maclean, p. 189)