California’s state government passed four new laws at the end of 2019 to help tame the inevitable fires the next year. These preventative measures showed that the wildfires in California were expected to be worse than in previous years. In 2020, that was proven to be true, but the fires did not only impact the climate. They impacted people, exposed the government’s lack of respect for the country they are supposed to be leading and destroyed wildlife.
Parts of California are now a literal manifestation of hell, that has not only been destroying forests, but also residents’ properties. Though wildfires are not an anomaly to California, the size of this year’s wildfires have been disproportionate to past years. Like many other wildfires in California’s past, these wildfires were caused by human beings and sustained by the effects of climate change.
In 2020, the United States Federal Government provided help in the form of issuing a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, which helps Californians who have been impacted to qualify for a multitude of things, such as unemployment or crisis counseling. The Federal Government has not issued any laws about environmental protection or climate change prevention, though, and even though the Major Disaster Declaration does help people, there is more to be done. The side effects of this inactivity have been, and will continue to be, extremely harmful to both our planet and the people on it.
On top of this, a number of groups of people are affected by these fires. Firstly, former prisoners have been replacing the firefighters who have either been hurt, died or did not exist in the first place, for very little compensation. The fire secondly impacts children, as they are breathing in the smoke of the wildfires. Not only will their lungs be unable to develop properly, but their neurodevelopment could be severely impacted as well. Another group heavily impacted is homeless people, who are facing the fires without shelter and are forced to breathe out of black trash bags with no filters. These grotesque side effects of the wildfires have put even more lives in danger, and are a testament to the oppression of the people that the government claims to protect.
The lives of real people are at stake, whether or not the Federal Government wants to acknowledge it. Whether or not these people “contribute to society,” no one deserves to be cast aside for being the way that they are. The Federal Government is allowing American citizens to suffer from the effects of a much larger issue.
This has been going on for months, but the Federal Government has yet to make any new environmental policies. In fact, President Donald Trump only just recently reversed his decision to deny California aid due to the backlash that he experienced. However, environmental policies in response to the California wildfires are still nonexistent. This is a blatant disregard of the oath to serve the people. These politicians are more focused on their careers than the issues that should define their careers.
Media coverage was never in-depth in the first place, but with the upcoming election, it has certainly been less attended to. Whether one believes in climate change or not, it is imperative that they at least believe in the importance of the habitats of endangered species that are being ravaged by flames. If more reporters were to give this issue the attention that it deserves, then there would be more pressure on the government to find a resolution.
It’s time that the Federal Government help California in a more effective way. It is also time that they show the American people that climate change is, in fact, something that we should care about.
As a global superpower, it is our responsibility to make the world a better place. America’s duty is not only to protect people from wars, famines and genocide, but to protect the environment and the people who live in it. There is no excuse for the Federal Government putting peoples’ and animals’ lives at risk because of their lack of action.