We can change our future.
There is no silver bullet to prevent the increase in wildfires we will experience over the coming decades. The two most critical fronts for combating wildfires are moving aggressively to prevent climate change and improving land management with controlled burns .
Fight the Climate Crisis
ᐳ Support Climate Candidates and Climate Legislation
The Climate Crisis is a systemic problem and requires political action at every level. Environmental voters are less likely to vote than other voters. Sitting out elections - any elections - and abdicating our civic responsibility is something we can no longer afford. If you want to get involved, consider joining one of these organizations:
ᐳ Support a Price on Carbon
When carbon emissions cost money, we produce less of them.
The most impactful policy to move combat the climate crisis is putting a price on carbon–whether through a carbon tax or an emissions trading system. A price on carbon helps shift the burden for damage from greenhouse gas emissions back to those who are responsible for it and who can reduce emissions. A carbon price also stimulates clean technology and market innovation, fueling new, low-carbon drivers of economic growth. The IMF estimates a $75 a ton carbon tax will lead to the amount of emissions scientists estimate will correspond to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming.
There is no simple action at this point to support a price on carbon, but it is something we need to be alert to opportunities to support at the national and state level as every attempt to put a price on carbon in the U.S. has been met with intense corporate lobbying and disinformation.
ᐳ Push Your Company to Act on Climate
In a world where dozens of companies are now bigger than entire countries, employees have the potential to wield power of geopolitical scale. Employee activism is the new front of the climate movement. Find employees who are also worried about climate change and organize. Push for information and action on your company's climate actions and footprint. Organizations like InfluenceMap — which analyzes corporate lobbying practices related to climate change — and the Carbon Disclosure Project — which collects company-level emissions data and maintains a database with the world’s major climate offenders— can provide information that is critical for employees to understand what role their companies play in driving climate change.
If you're looking for your biggest lever in making an impact on climate - you might find it in your employer. Influencing your company to move on climate can have an incredible impact and open up new career possibilities. Read this brief presentation by Climate Action Tech to get started.
ᐳ Take Personal Action
Taking responsibility for climate in your personal life is valuable, but it's important to always remember that pushing for systemic changes is far more important. By building mindfulness of your role in the climate crisis, you can cultivate a sense of agency and set of actions to help maintain pressure on systems to change. Considering the climate in your purchasing decisions helps push consumer oriented companies to move faster on climate actions. If you want to get started understanding your footprint and start putting a price on your own carbon, consider looking at these tools:
Support Controlled Burns
Fire is a natural and necessary part of the forests of the western United States. Decades of forest management that has prioritized putting out naturally occurring wildfires, even when they do not threaten human habitations, and have limited controlled burns has led to forests unnaturally overloaded with vegetation. With the increasing droughts and heat caused by climate change, these forests now risk becoming much more dangerous and deadly wildfires that are more difficult to control and can burn at temperatures above the beneficial range for the ecosystem.
Controlled burns can be disruptive for communities but the alternative, as we have seen, is much worse. By voicing your support for controlled burns, you can help politicians and government agencies make better choices for your community. Protect your community, your forests, and the lives of forest fire fighters by supporting policies and budgeting that increase controlled burns in your county and state.
To learn more, read They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?.