Coco Meyerhofer | Writer
September 19, 2021
It was a rough summer for California last year.
The annual wildfires burned greater than ever before under Trump’s lack of attention, eventually destroying a grand total of over 1 million acres, making it the largest wildfire season in California history. This display of inattentiveness was a large contributor to Biden winning the presidential election last fall, filling our hopeful minds with promises of climate rehabilitation. He littered us with ideas of his “Green New Deal”, igniting hope in the people that he would be the one to lead us to victory in our economic vs. environmental war.
Now, a year later, California is still on fire, and, honestly, the lack of governmental attention is astounding.
Biden visited California earlier last week, tossing around grand speeches and affirmations of his efforts to protect the state and end the fire period, but his projected optimism has been proven to be just that: projected.
In the short time he’s been in office, the fires have continued, and his actions have been more performative than anything: increasing pay for federal firefighters and adding on a few air tankers, but the problem initiated when he didn’t ask for enough funding from Congress earlier in the year for preventive measures. There’s a limit and time constriction to how much our government can try to restrict the fires, and we’ve passed it. He simply didn’t put enough resources into fighting the fires in the first place. Measures put forth now to stop the fires and to slow down the carbon emissions from them are frugal.
In retrospect, having Biden vs. Trump in office right now wouldn’t have led to much difference in the California fires, and that’s scary. To think that we elected someone with hopes of saving California seems ridiculous in the aftermath. Not only has Biden strung us along, but the casualties are limitless: environmentally, but also communally. Homes continue to be burnt and rebuilt, a pattern that is gradually destroying part of American life. Americans themselves aren’t being protected in their homes because governmental preventative measures for the home aren’t being taken—houses continue to be built in fire-prone areas and California is continually becoming a scorched state.
“It’s probably not the best idea to continue building houses in areas we know are prone to wildfires,” junior Adrianna Marcovecchio said. “If we just lower the number of houses in those areas, it could help lessen the effect of wildfires.”
Students also feel it’s irresponsible that the government is focusing so heavily on hurricanes in the east, rather than the fires. “I’m disappointed that the effects of wildfires aren’t being recognized to the extent that hurricanes are,” junior Ella Jobst said. “They are just as damaging and are a direct effect of global warming.”
Every environmental problem deserves to be taken seriously, even if it’s been continuous.
So, dear President Biden,
When will you stop letting California burn up?