The World is on Fire

On top of a new illness is raging through the population and protests threatening to tear the United States apart, two family members were involved in a serious accident on one of my all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Both will recover, but not without scars, both physical and emotional. These events have left me emotionally exhausted, and I have taken a short break from the keyboard.

But that’s not all that’s on my mind today.

The world is on fire.

The top news of the past two weeks has been the protests against police brutality in almost every city across America, and many cities around the world. Only to have many peaceful demonstrations in the United States met with more police brutality. Enough of my friends and family are “people of color” for me to be concerned for their safety.

Now, I am a “both sides of the story” person. I know that there are (at least) two sides to every story, and the truth falls in the middle. But I really have a hard time understanding the side that kneels on the neck of a subdued suspect, pushes elderly protesters to the ground, aims “non-lethal” projectiles at the faces of journalists and protesters from point-blank range, and uses tear gas and brutal force to clear church courtyards for photo opportunities.

The world is on fire.

Coronavirus is still raging. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Americans surged to the beaches and parks, crowding together in a national cry of “I’m free!” after being cooped up for two months. And now daily reports show new infection rates surging after the reopening of America. How many more cases will we see by America’s Independence Day holiday because its citizens can no longer stand by and be killed by those sworn to “serve and protect?”

I wonder how many Americans with no or substandard health insurance will get sick and die at home because they refuse to put their families into medical debt. I wonder how many people really are ill and spreading the illness without knowing. The official death toll in the United States has topped 110,000 souls in less than four months. Worldwide, that number is approaching 500,000. What is the real number?

The world is on fire.

Climate change is still affecting our lives. As activity slowed to a crawl to slow the spread of a new illness, the Earth had a chance to breathe. In just a few days, satellite images showed that air pollution in some of the world’s worst cities has decreased drastically. The Times of India reports:

 “On an average, reduction in particulate matter (PM) concentrations over southern part of India is around 50 to 60 per cent, and over the Indo-Gangetic basin, including Delhi UP, Bihar, West Bengal etc it is as much as 75 per cent,” he [S K Satheesh] told PTI.”

Times of India, June 4, 2020

While at the same time, the current administration is relaxing as many environmental protections as it can get away with.

Summer is just beginning in the Northern Hemisphere. Will countries north of the equator suffer the same fate as Australia? The western United States is as susceptible to wildfire as our Australian allies. During the summer of 2019, Alaska experienced some of its highest temperatures in recorded history. According to the Office of Predictive Services at the National Interagency Fire Center, the western states could be in for a rough fire season this summer. We’ll see what happens in the next few months.

The world is on fire, and we all need to breathe.

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