A large portion of Southern California burned down last week.
More than 20,000 acres burned. Dozens of homes burned and thousands more were threatened by wildfires in places such as Carlsbad and San Marcos and Camp Pendleton. Smaller fires affected places as far north as Anaheim and Long Beach. And this is only May. California’s fire season has normally begun in September and October and ended with the beginning of the rainy season in December. Of course, there was no rainy season in California this year nor for several years past. The state is in the midst of the worst drought in recent history.
California is not alone. Wildfires are also burning thousands of acres in Texas. Historically powerful storms buried the East this past winter. Even more powerful storms have devastated the Midwest and South this spring. Tornadoes by the dozens have torn up towns in Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Mississippi and Alabama…again months earlier than would occur in a normal year.
And still, certain of our elected leaders watch what is going on and deny the climate change is the cause. Particularly those on the right who have presidential ambitions continue to publicly deny even the existence of climate change. Last week Senator Marco Rubio stumbled all over himself in interviews and speeches, at first flatly denying the existence of climate change, then saying, well, of course the climate is changing, the climate is always changing, but human activity has nothing to do with it. This despite reports that climate change is likely to put Miami, the largest city in his state, under water. The mighty Koch brothers have spent millions buying up politicians who will support their oil industry-based assault on climate science. Climate change denial has become the second religion of the Republican Party.
Let us be clear. Climate change caused by human is settled science. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree to its causes and its effects. No one with any real knowledge of the subject denies it. The science of climate change is as settled as evolution…and guess who doesn’t believe in that either.
What is appalling is not only the denial of climate change but the cynicism of the deniers. Senator Rubio is not a stupid man. Neither are the Koch brothers. They know very well climate change exists and is caused by human activity. And they don’t care. The put their economic interests ahead of the interests…and even the survival…of their country.
Meanwhile, California burns. What can we do? If a candidate takes money from the Koch brothers, if they spout the climate change nonsense the Koch brothers’ money buys...vote them out.