Beauty as a Fire Suppressant
Global warming contributed to the wildfire devastation last summer. It may even have contributed to the severe weather that toppled a tree on my home during the gusts of December 20th. I want to share with you two ideas about forest fires and global warming.
I think that beauty can slow the fires. My safe place is on my back in an aspen forest with my eyes peering upward through golden leaves. That is my cathedral. So when I read that last year, 12,812 hectares of B.C. forest was sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate to kill my cathedral I was appalled. The rational is that fewer aspens will result in more commercially valuable conifer species like pine and Douglas fir. What about habitat for the moose which browse on leafy trees. Our bureaucrats followed orders without thought that aspen trees have wet nutrient rich leaves, are moist, and inhibit the spread of fire. Monoculture forests are neither natural nor healthy; think about the rapid spread of wildfires and the epidemic of pine beetles in monoculture pine forests. However, the guidelines for spraying our forests remains in effect for 2019.
Now, concerning global warming, what is the best defence? We all know the crisis, the IPCC reports, ‘stop the increase of global average temperature to below 2 degrees C’. The science is proven that humans are accelerating the increase by the consumption of fossil fuels. Therefore, the international focus for remedies has been almost exclusively on the reduction of fossil fuel usage. The energy companies lobby like the tobacco giants of the past with money and fake studies. My hope is that the renewable energy sector will quickly replace them. Meanwhile, lets start a massive re-planting of forests. Why? Recent scientific research confirms that forests and other “natural climate solutions” are absolutely essential in mitigating climate change, thanks to their carbon sequestering and storage capabilities. In fact, natural climate solutions can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target, even though they currently receive only 2.5 percent of public climate financing.
In conclusion, if B.C. were to stop killing our deciduous forests, we could reinvest the money saved from fire suppression and spraying in a massive replanting of our forests; preserve habitat for ungulates, reduce property damage, save lives, and could contribute to the campaign to hold global warming to under 2 degrees C.