“How Pointless is my Life?” – Journalist has Rare Moment of Self Awareness on Climate

November 20, 2018

Above, Katy Tur makes a surprising expression of shock. (at about 1:55)

It seems she suddenly recognized the long-skewed priorities of the mainstream media, herself included,  in treating climate change as one issue among many, – a priority only for, in Candy Crowley’s memorable formulation,  “the climate people”.

Washington Post:

The main exhibit hall at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds here has become the home of last resort for 68 people who fled the fires that swept through a broad swath of forest and hill towns nearby.

And some days, an ambulance shows up. A team of paramedics, wearing protective masks and disposable yellow plastic aprons, wheeled a sick man out of the exhibit hall Monday on a stretcher, another victim of the bitter repercussions of mass displacement that the Camp Fire has created.

The outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea has carried on for days.

“On average, about one a day goes to the hospital,” said Bob Christensen, 77, smoking a cigarette outside the exhibit hall and watching a cleanup crew with mops and buckets begin wiping down the metal door handles with a powerful chemical disinfectant.

Ethia Carter, who arrived with the Red Cross from South Florida, is on her second day running the facility after her predecessor got sick.

“We have four in isolation,” she said, indicating an infirmary set up behind blue curtains on one side of the yawning hall, stacked with bottles of fresh water and other supplies.

The most devastating fire in California history began in the Sierra foothills in the morning hours of Nov. 8, prompting a hectic evacuation that has left at least 52,000 people in hotels, relatives’ homes, parking lots and makeshift shelters such as this one in Yuba City.

More than 10 days later, those temporary accommodations are being overwhelmed by overcrowding and disease. As heavy rain moves into the area for the first time since the fire began, those living in tents face the threat of flooding, too.

More than 120 people have been taken to hospitals in recent days with stomach ailments that resemble the symptoms of norovirus, a highly contagious infection. The symptoms include severe vomiting and diarrhea and, like many such infections, fall hardest on children.

Casey Hatcher, a Butte County spokeswoman, said state and local authorities are trying to respond to the scale of the displacement.

“People keep using the word ‘unprecedented,’ and I keep looking for a different word, but I can’t find one because it works so well,” Hatcher said. “We have an entire community that is displaced.”

“Now, the goal is to get people off the streets and out of their cars while we identify where they are going to live,” Hatcher said.

The Walmart parking lot in Chico, where scores of families have been living in tents, has begun to clear out amid forecasts of rain and rumors that services the retailer has been providing to evacuees — including toilets and hand-washing stations — will be pulled soon.

Walmart spokeswoman Tiffany Wilson said the company will continue to provide services but added, “We realize our parking lots are not viable alternatives to longer-term temporary housing.”

The lot is a flood zone, said store manager DeMarcus Montgomery, ensuring the neighboring field will turn into a swamp in coming days.

Local resident Rain Scher is working with a group of volunteers to bring in pallets to elevate tents and cots in light of the coming rain. She said she believes the tent city is more sanitary than the shelters.

“We intend to support the needs of the people,” said Scher, who added that those in crisis should have “agency and self-determination.”

The centers and camps are used primarily by those without the resources — or home insurance plans — to cover extended hotel stays. But those accommodations would be hard to come by anyway with most hotels filled across a 175-mile span from Redding to Sacramento.

“They were booked as soon as the fire broke out,” said Carolyn Denero, executive director of Explore Butte County, which promotes tourism in the region. “We’ll have properties where a room will suddenly come open for a night, but even those are taken right away. And this really extends at least until the end of November.”

The options are limited for those living in the makeshift shelters and will be for some time. No one has been allowed back into their devastated towns, so they have little sense of what awaits them there and how plausible returning and rebuilding really is. Nearly 12,000 homes have been destroyed.

Just the beginning.

New York Times:

Global warming is posing such wide-ranging risks to humanity, involving so many types of phenomena, that by the end of this century some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time, researchers say.

This chilling prospect is described in a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change, a respected academic journal, that shows the effects of climate change across a broad spectrum of problems, including heat waves, wildfires, sea level rise, hurricanes, flooding, drought and shortages of clean water.

Such problems are already coming in combination, said the lead author, Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He noted that Florida had recently experienced extreme drought, record high temperatures and wildfires — and also Hurricane Michael, the powerful Category 4 storm that slammed into the Panhandle last month. Similarly, California is suffering through the worst wildfires the state has ever seen, as well as drought, extreme heat waves and degraded air quality that threatens the health of residents.

Things will get worse, the authors wrote. The paper projects future trendsand suggests that, by 2100, unless humanity takes forceful action to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change, some tropical coastal areas of the planet, like the Atlantic coast of South and Central America, could be hit by as many as six crises at a time.

That prospect is “like a terror movie that is real,” Dr. Mora said.

New York can expect to be hit by four climate crises at a time by 2100 if carbon emissions continue at their current pace, the study says, but if emissions are cut significantly that number could be reduced to one. The troubled regions of the coastal tropics could see their number of concurrent hazards reduced from six to three.

The paper explores the ways that climate change intensifies hazards and describes the interconnected nature of such crises. Greenhouse gas emissions, by warming the atmosphere, can enhance drought in places that are normally dry, “ripening conditions for wildfires and heat waves,” the researchers say. In wetter areas, a warmer atmosphere retains more moisture and strengthens downpours, while higher sea levels increase storm surge and warmer ocean waters can contribute to the overall destructiveness of storms.

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6 Responses to ““How Pointless is my Life?” – Journalist has Rare Moment of Self Awareness on Climate”

  1. John Says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27 and commented:
    The media needs a huge Wake Up call

    • Russell Cook (@QuestionAGW) Says:

      Tom Steyer for President! Trust me on this, put every effort you possibly can into it.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        It’s our favorite denier whore, the science-ignorant Russell Cook, who seldom makes an appearance here (other than to be one of the cowards that give any and every comment I make a “thumbs down”).

        Russell says “Vote for Steyer” and “Trust him on this”. Hmmmm. Since Russell would clog a human sized garbage disposal if you stuffed him in one, pardon me if I suspect his motives.

        Tell us, Russell, why should we vote for Steyer?

  2. sailrick Says:

    More people need to see the movie “Merchants of Doubt”, or read the book. Spells out what Dr. Mann talks about in the video, regarding the Tobacco Industry model for raising doubt. It has been imitated by other industries as well.

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    Have always liked Katy Tur’s work. Her book—“Unbelievable”—-is a good read. All about her time on the campaign trail covering Trump for NBC—-shows what an a-hole Trump was and how she rose above his crap while trying to do her job.

    Don’t think “How pointless is my life” is a “rare moment of self-awareness” for Katy herself. Maybe you meant to say it was rare for journalists in general? I think many of us are asking the same question as we look at the futility of the existential battle we’re engaged in over the climate and the future of human societies, particularly so-called “democratic” ones.

    Katy and Mike Mann make a great team in this excellent interview. Mann came across better with her than he has in some other clips. IMO, Katy should be made NBC’s climate reporter—-she is well-prepared and brings out the best in interviewees.

    The “welcome to the rest of our lives” video is one of your best. Perhaps you can update it with the “6 climate crises at one time” info. Actually, it will be 7, 8, or more once crop failures and food shortages, runaway climate migrations by humans, disease spread, and societal breakdowns occur.

  4. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I like that clip where the moderator for the debate was explaining why she asked questions about the economy rather than climate change.

    I’m so glad that climate change won’t hurt the economy.


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