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Sure, Climate Change Isn’t a Crisis, and in Unrelated News, Millions of California Trees Died in One Year

This is fine ...

A still from the movie, The Road

Does anyone else constantly think about The Road? It’s a depressing post-apocalyptic movie that came out in 2009. The movie followed Viggo Mortensen and his onscreen son as they struggled to survive in a bleak world where it was always cold, fires constantly raged, and trees died in droves for seemingly no reason. It is one of those movies that has haunted me since I first saw it. But it’s just fiction, right (as I laugh nervously)? I mean, how could something like that just … happen?

Every time I see a conservative deny that climate change is an existential problem, I can see how The Road could happen. Our last president believed “sweeping” the forest would prevent California’s wildfires. Senator Joe Manchin continually blocked climate change mitigation efforts put forth by Democrats just so he could keep his bank account full of coal money, I guess because wealth is more important than humanity. However, evidence keeps mounting about how climate change is forever altering the planet. Eerily similar to The Road, millions of California’s trees recently died in one year.

Climate change is coming for us all

California weather has been going through it lately. After recovering from unprecedented flooding rain, we found out the highest number of tree deaths happened last year. In the report completed by the U.S. Forest Service, they found a record number of California trees died. The percentage of dead trees rose 282% in a single year. If that doesn’t alarm you, the actual number of dead trees probably will. From 2021 to 2022, 36.3 million trees died.

Jeffrey Moore, manager of the annual forest survey, pointed out the tremendous increase in the deaths of Douglas fir trees, which rose 1650% from the year before. Douglas firs are known to be highly adaptive and have weathered fires and floods without a high mortality rate. It seems like California’s recent years-long drought was too much even for this specialized species.

Sadly, losing trees will only exacerbate the drought/flooding cycle California is dealing with. Trees are an important part of the water cycle and help keep flooding and landslides under control by preventing soil erosion. In addition, trees help keep moisture in the atmosphere, which leads to more regular rainfall. Fewer trees mean less rain, and when it does rain, more erosion will occur. So now I can picture exactly how The Road could be our future, but let’s all agree to do our best to avoid that timeline at all costs.

(via San Francisco Chronicle, featured image: Dimension Films)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. She fangirls over the X-Men, folklore podcasts, and historical fantasy. When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse and offspring.