California Wildfires: At What Point Will Humanity Catch Their Faults? How the California wildfires are impacting people’s views on the environment, and how they approach protecting it. Written By Jay Chontal
California has had its fair share of natural disasters in the closing months of 2018. Typically natural wildfires occur in the early stages of summer which often benefit California’s ecosystem. However, that same ecosystem has been ravaged by a series raging wildfires that have had a dramatically negative effect this year. It does not come as a surprise that in recent years, humanity has lessened their efforts from the protection of wildlife, and has instead centralized in forming a foundation of future businesses and urban homes. Efforts taken today are not suitable in protecting nature surrounding human lives today, especially with the rise in carbon emissions, not only from large, demanding companies, but also through these natural disasters that are producing an immense amount of smoke that is being released into the air. By the end of the year, the total amount of carbon emissions exerted by the wildfires exceeded the amount of total carbon emissions needed to supply the entire state of California with electricity for an entire year. A figure this large is not only concerning, but quite frightening. Not only are they daunting for the obvious reasons, but also because some of the fires were initiated by people out in the forests themselves. Figures like these not only affect wildlife, but they also impact the overall health of the people living in these areas. For years, large amounts of people have endured the polluted air, which is only deteriorating through the heavy amounts of emission from factories or other large production companies.
Not only are these wildfires affecting the people nearby, but also the entire country as a whole through the significant expenses that coincide with these very destructive disasters. Billions of dollars are poured into these fires every year, as they keep destroying beyond the limits of what mother nature set. California fires in 2018 demonstrated exactly how potent and calamitous these fires can get, as they demonstrated some of the greatest destruction of any year yet. Along with the trees surrounding the rural areas of California, 14,000 abiding houses were razed in the November fires, along with 88 lives that were not lived to their true end. While it seems that the California wildfires of 2018 have been a major hindrance in the efforts to protect nature, “the forestmen service is doing their job, they’re doing what they’ve been directed to do,” says environmental science teacher, Zach Tillman. There is a clear indication that not everyone is at fault, but there is definitely room for improvement since these fires have been such an adamant issue this year. Tillman also states, “I think there had been a clear misconception as to what makes these fires so bad. What makes these fires so bad, is that we have been building more and more that humans have not inhabited before. In California, if your think about it, these houses have been built deep into the mountains, surrounded by fuel sources. At the same time, they are building in these areas, so they are preventing the natural fires that nature needs to regenerate.” This sheds light on the presumptions people have been succumbed to. It is due to the further increasing urbanization of naturally fueled areas that is preventing natural wildfires to break out. However, when they do, they ravage areas in a far more dangerous manner due to the amounted collection of fuels and chemicals. He further extends this idea by stating, “A lightning strike for some ecosystems is a great thing, because there is the process called succession, which burns vegetation that, in turn, creates new pallets of soil for other microorganisms to grow.” While Tillman understands that some of the fires have been created by man, he provides another way to advance towards protection, “We need to encourage zoning regulations, and the reality is, can California be able to ensure all of these homes and cars? At what point do we realize that there simply is not enough money?” Clearly, there is a tie between the regulations that are needed to ensure the safety of the forests and the amount of funding that places such as California are able to provide. Zoning regulations, as Tillman highlights, would be a great first step towards preventing monstrous fires to ravage the country sides, by restricting the places that companies are able to access. With a restriction from these remote areas, there will be a better overall chance that these fires occur naturally instead of building for years under corporate industries. While it seems that corporate outlooks will eventually subdue the protection of nature itself, there are still many ways that we can make a difference, because as Tillman puts it, “It’s not going to take one grand step to address these things, it’s going to take 7.4 billion tiny steps, everyday, in order to fully address and make a difference in the world, especially when it relates to the protection of nature.” As a society that prioritizes living the most luxurious lifestyle possible, it would be undoubtedly enjoyable without nature in its natural presence.
Kwanzaa Written By Zeno Wilson
Most people have either heard of or already know about Kwanzaa, but what is it? Kwanzaa, as described by the official website, is a celebration of the upcoming spring and the following harvest, family, and the following of the Nguzo Saba (seven principles).
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 Dr. Maulana Karenga after the violence and hatred took place in the Watts riots of Los Angeles. Dr. Karenga created this holiday to bring people together, to encourage other African-Americans to be proud of their heritage, and to help people stay strong during trying times. Dr. Karenga also created the organization “US” to keep African-Americans united with their roots, and to keep that identity alive. One of the organization’s strongest beliefs is to build the best and most accepting society possible, so not only the community of African descent can prosper, but also humanity as a whole.During the Kwanzaa celebration, each day celebrates and teaches about a different principle that are considered essential to the rise of humanity. The principles of Kwanzaa are the basis of the entire holiday. The first one being unity that is symbolized as the black candle on the Kinara, also known as the candle holder. Next comes self-determination, then responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and finally faith. On each day when a candle is lit in honor of a principle, the observers of the holiday find their own way to emulate, teach, learn, or celebrate the idea.
In addition to the celebrations mentioned, on the seventh day a gift exchange occurs. The gifts of Kwanzaa are not petty things, only contributing to consumerism, but they are homemade and thoughtful symbols, rewards, and kindnesses exchanged with one another to further promote the principles and reward those who have followed them. This day is important, because it is a reward in itself for those who are caring and loyal enough to celebrate and remember each year. Kwanzaa, a holiday of family, remembrance, loyalty, and of seven doctrines. Being only fifty-two years old, it is going strong, reminding those of their origins, bringing families together, and passing down family history from generation to generation.