Not long after a massive mudslide killed 43 people in Oso, Washington, there was a lot of important talk about the history and extent of logging in the area. As Brendan Kiley pointed out, logging has been going in this part of Washington for more than a century and appeared to have no end in sight. This long and relentless form of resource extraction must have contributed to the disaster. Now Oso is facing a wildfire that has grown to 100 acres overnight. The cause? Logging appears to be the culprit.
According to fire officials, there was a logging operation earlier in the day that may have started the fire. They said the cause is under investigation, but the area has been logged for about a month and the line of fire followed the path where logs were being dragged up the hill.Some of the fallen trees in this path are ready to make this situation much worse. They could add more fuel to a fire that's entering an usually hot day for this time of the year. The Oso fire chief is not only worried about homes (which are safe for now) but also "a piece of logging equipment at the top of the hill that is worth $1 million." Before the environment, money is first on our minds.
Must we make a connection between this fire, logging, and global warming caused by market-related activities? Yes, we need to. It is just madness to be silent or even uncertain about these things. Now is the time for a serious revaluation and reconstruction of the relationship between nature and our type of economy. Indeed, the progressive prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, was wrong to be "politically sensitive" about the fact that wildfires most certainly caused by global warming burned to a crisp an Alberta town whose only reason for being in the world is the raw "exploitation of the tar sands" that "produce a particularly carbon-intensive form of fuel." No more dithering. Call a spade a spade. These kinds of economic activities will have these disastrous consequences. Logging will cause that, driving cars will cause that, sprawl will cause that. We have long missed the opportunity to be sensitive about this matter. We must be blunt.