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Monday, June 3, 2013

Climate instability warnings ignored ─ as Subcontinent so goes America

Costs of corrupt, inept leadership: USA BREAKDOWN continues
Editing and Commentary by Carolyn Bennett

“As temperatures rise globally, droughts will become more frequent and more severe, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture, water supply and human health. This phenomenon has already been observed in some parts of Asia and Africa, where droughts have become longer and more intense,” says repeated warnings of scientists.

“Hot temperatures and dry conditions increase the likelihood of forest fires. In the conifer forests of the western United States, earlier snow melts, longer summers and an increase in spring and summer temperatures have increased fire frequency by 400 percent and have increased the amount of land burned by 650 percent since 1970.”

2006 warning
Climate Change
Forest Wildfires
Western United States

Climate influences the risks of large wildfires in the western United States through the effects of temperature and precipitation on the quantity and dryness of live and dead vegetation that fuels wildfires.

ata for western forests show a substantial increase in the frequency of large wildfires and in the area burned by the fires ─ with most of the increase concentrated in a large forest area at mid-elevations of the Northern Rockies where snow is typically on the ground for much of the year. Scientists also observed a lengthening of the fire season, with large fires igniting earlier in the summer and burning longer. They said:

Forest wildfire activity will increase if temperatures continue to increase.

The response of forest wildfire to increased temperature is nonlinear, with large impacts occurring above specific thresholds that vary across the region.

Continued increases in temperature may result in additional forest areas becoming vulnerable to increased wildfire, as new thresholds are crossed.

Water resource management problems due to a warming climate and earlier runoff will be exacerbated by increased wildfire, as more frequent and intense fires reduce the capacity of forests to retain water and increase the likelihood of flooding and erosion.

“Western U.S. mountain forests also absorb and store a large share of the carbon that is taken up by vegetation in the United States each year, and an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires may result in less carbon being stored in these forests and more in the atmosphere, contributing to further global warming.”

Exceptional drought level

Drought Monitor − “Many drought indicators in east-central Texas have reached the ‘exceptional’ drought level. …If rain does not materialize soon, intensification of the current drought is likely.”

Oklahoma was also of concern that year. Conditions observed made Oklahoma a tinder box. A state of emergency was declared March 11 for all 77 counties and prolonged drought did nothing to lift the emergency. Helicopter and bulldozer crews were deployed to keep rampant wildfires in check.

TODAY’S NEWS (Sunday-Monday June 2-3, 2013)
Western U.S.: California, New Mexico

Powerhouse Fire in California’s Angeles National Forest (grows) to 22,400 acres (Sunday night) and threatens 1,000 homes

Tres Lagunas Fire in Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico has spread to 7,000 acres

Thompson Ridge Fire in nearby Valles Caldera National Preserve spread to 1,200 acres

At least six homes were destroyed, three firefighters injured in Los Angeles blaze

High winds, record high temperatures, low humidity has turned dry ground brush into a tinderbox (Daily Mail, UK)
Dry ground cover and strong, erratic winds whipped the wildfires into furious infernos. Record heat and low humidity turns ground brush into a tinderbox - ready for ignition.

It is unclear what caused the Powerhouse and Thompson Ridge fires; but, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican reports, the Tres Lobos blaze in Pecos Canyon appears to have been sparked by a downed power line.


Four days’ Powerhouse Fire spread quickly. Saturday afternoon 3,600 acres had burned. Saturday sunset 5,500 acres had burned. Daytime temperatures exceeded 105 degrees. Early Sunday firefighters struggled to control the wildfire. Sunday sunrise saw fire spread to 19,500 acres: more than 30 square miles. By Sunday evening this fire around the Angeles National Forest in Southern California was estimated to have engulfed 22,400 acres.

Monday reports said winds spread the wildfire across 41 square miles, threatening two Californian communities; nearly 3,000 people were under evacuation orders; and “firefighters were struggling to push back the blaze which has destroyed six homes, damaged 15 and destroyed 5,600 acres of woodland.”

New Mexico

Saturday evening Pecos Canyon, Santa Fe’s wildfire blew out of control. Sunday night the wildfire had spread to 7,000 acres. Thick smoke covered the Gallinas Canyon, Pecos and Las Vegas, New Mexico. Officials evacuated about 134 summer homes, 10 campgrounds and six trailheads surrounding the fire.

By late Sunday the other New Mexico (Thompson Ridge) fire had consumed 1,745 acres of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Fifty families were evacuated.  Unhealthy conditions, soot and a dense haze filling the air over Santa Fe and neighboring areas, prompted smoke advisories to residents throughout the state of New Mexico.

The Reuters report referenced the state’s Forestry agency saying that the New Mexico wildfires came amidst “a historic drought [unseen] since the 1950s.”
he United States has ignored the persistent warnings of scientists at great costs to humanity and the “homeland, all the while its elected officials entertain themselves with wedge issues wedging the citizenry and states of this union. All the while ─

…entrenching themselves in corruption and tribal politics,  
…steeped in perpetual global aggression: bleeding humanity, feeding the war industry

U.S. theater of war
Temperatures are rising, droughts are increasing, water diminishing. Forest wildfires are increasing as
temperatures continue to rise.

e are not islanded, separate and apart, no matter how much some of us want to believe we are.  Indian scientist Dr. Vandana Shiva writing in 2009 warned of the “Intensification of drought, floods and cyclones as one of the predictable effects of climate change and climate instability.”


Dr. Vandana Shiva 
In her country she said, failed monsoons and consequent drought had negatively affected “two thirds of India. She listed rainfall deficits of:

43 percent in Bihar
47 percent in Jharkhand
64 percent in Uttar Pradesh
61 percent in Haryana
26 percent in Punjab
63 percent in Himachal Pradesh
42 percent in Uttarakhand

That same year Dr. Shiva worked on climate change with many of India’s mountain-region communities and observed receding and rapidly melting glaciers leaving no small glaciers, the disappearance of water; and large areas that used to get snow getting no snow at all.  Desert places like Ladakh (a large area of the northern and eastern Kashmir region, northwestern Indian subcontinent) were getting rainfall instead of snow, which led to flash floods that washed away villages and entire settlements, she said. 
Perpetual Global War

Never before had the subcontinent experienced the type of storms she observed in 2009. Arid areas were already vulnerable, in some cases having had “absolutely no rain” in four years to five years. “The entire Sundarbans (a vast tract of forest and saltwater swamp 160 miles India to Bangladesh), which have never ever had these types of storms, (was) devastated:  Cyclone impact tore down railway lines and (had gone) all the way to the mountains in Darjeeling.”

find it hard to believe that we love this “homeland” ─ a homeland as large as the world and as small as next door ─ the way we abuse, waste and neglect it. One day Americans may stop gazing at their navels and into the latest electronic gadget, all the while complaining about the “other”; and start changing our own habits to actively protect this planet we share.

Sources and notes

“Climate Change Impacts: Increased Risk of Drought, Fire, and Floods,” Thursday, April 7, 2011, http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/global-warming-climate-change/threats-impacts/drought-fire-floods.xml

“Drought, Water, Wildfires and Climate Change in the Western U.S. - Historical Context and the Road Ahead” (Environmental Science Seminar Series, ESSS, Multi media Archives), September 25, 2006, http://www.ametsoc.org/atmospolicy/6925ESSS.html

“Climate Change Impacts: Increased Risk of Drought, Fire, and Floods,” Thursday, April 7, 2011, http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/global-warming-climate-change/threats-impacts/drought-fire-floods.xml

“Hell on earth: California wildfire TRIPLES in size by Sunday night with 22,400 acres now ablaze as thousands flee their homes ─ 

Powerhouse Fire in California’s Angeles National Forest grew to 22,400 acres by Sunday night and threatens 1,000 homes

Tres Lagunas Fire in Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico has spread to 7,000 acres

Thompson Ridge Fire in nearby Valles Caldera National Preserve spread to 1,200 acres

At least six homes destroyed and three firefighters injured in Los Angeles blaze

High winds, record high temperatures, low humidity has turned dry ground brush into a tinderbox

 (Michael Zennie), published June 2, 2013, updated:00:56 EST, June 3, 2013, Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2334604/Powerhouse-Fire-Three-wildfires-sweep-Los-Angeles-New-Mexico-burning-tens-thousands-acres.html#ixzz2VB1RI2T9

“Drought-fueled wildfires rage in California, New Mexico” (By Zelie Pollon, Reuters SANTA FE, New Mexico, Monday Jun 3, 2013 3:50am EDT, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/03/us-usa-wildfires-newmexico-idUSBRE9500DU20130603?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

“Flash floods and tornadoes kill 12 in Oklahoma and Arkansas ─ Weather clears after 'two nights of hell' as Storm Prediction Center predicts ‘slight chance’ of extreme weather in east (Associated Press, guardian.co.uk), Sunday 2 June 2013 08.58 EDT, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/02/oklahoma-arkansas-floods-tornadoes-kill-12

“Residents evacuated as wildfires blaze in California and New Mexico ─ Firefighters continue to battle flames that have charred thousands of acres and seen families ordered to leave homes” (Associated Press, Albuquerque, guardian.co.uk), Sunday 2 June 2013 10.53 EDT, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/02/wildfires-california-new-mexico-evacuated

“California Wildfire: 3,000 People Evacuated ─ Thousands are told to leave their homes as winds spread a wildfire and officials warn more people could be asked to move out,” June 3, 2013, http://news.sky.com/story/1098569/california-wildfire-3000-people-evacuated

“California Wildfire: Arson Ruled Out ─ A 44-square mile devastating wildfire, which is now 80 percent contained, appears to have been started accidentally, say officials,” May 6, 2013,  http://news.sky.com/story/1087107/california-wildfire-arson-ruled-out

“Special Report (Reuters WEST, Texas): Poor planning left Texas firefighters unprepared ─ The fertilizer-plant explosion that killed 14 and injured about 200 others in Texas last month highlights the failings of a U.S. federal law intended to save lives during chemical accidents, a Reuters investigation has found. Known as the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, the law requires companies to tell emergency responders about the hazardous chemicals stored on their properties. But even when companies do so, the law stops there: After the paperwork is filed, it is up to the companies and local firefighters, paramedics and police to plan and train for potential disasters” (M.B. Pell, Ryan McNeill and Janet Roberts, WEST, Texas, Wednesday May 22, 2013 9:41pm EDT, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/23/us-chemical-emergency-specialreport-idUSBRE94L19020130523

“Vandana Shiva: Climate Change, Drought and India’s Looming Food and Water Crisis” (GM Watch), August 17, 2009, http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_18833.cfm

“How to Craft Water Democracy, Earth Democracy & Survive Climate Change: TreeHugger Interviews Dr. Vandana Shiva”  (Mat McDermott, Science / Clean Water, June 18, 2009,

Scientist, environmentalist, activist Vandana Shiva

Dr. Vandana Shiva of India is one of the world’s most dynamic and provocative thinkers. She earned her credentials as a physicist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

At the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India, she did research in science, technology and environmental policy. In 1982, she set up the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in her home town of Dehra Dun in the foothills of the Himalaya. The foundation’s studies have validated the ecological value of traditional farming and have been instrumental in fighting destructive development projects in India.

Dr. Shiva’s many awards include the Right Livelihood Award (1993), the Order of the Golden Ark, Global 500 Award of the UN, Earth Day International Award, the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace and the Sydney Peace Prize (2010).

Her books include: Earth Democracy; Water Wars; Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge; Ecofeminism with Maria Mies;
The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology and Politics; Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology; Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, editor with Ingunn Moser; Biodiversity: Social and Ecological Consequences
[From the Right Livelihood Award Profile of Vandana Shiva, http://www.rightlivelihood.org/v-shiva.html]

SUNDARBANS: a vast tract of forest and saltwater swamp forming the lower part of the Padma River (Ganges River) delta, extending roughly 160 miles (260 km) along the Bay of Bengal from the Hugli River estuary in India to the western segment of the Meghna River estuary in Bangladesh.

The tract reaches inland for about 50 miles (80 km) at its broadest point. A network of estuaries, tidal rivers, and creeks intersected by numerous channels, it encloses flat, marshy islands covered with dense forests [Britannica].

Ladakh: a large area of the northern and eastern Kashmir region, northwestern Indian subcontinent. Administratively, Ladakh is divided between Pakistan (northwest), as part of the Northern Areas, and India (southeast), as part of Jammu and Kashmir State (that area sometimes called ‘Ladakh proper’); in addition, China administers portions of northeastern Ladakh (Britannica).

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