Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So. Cal. Burning

I'm sure you all have been following news of the crazy wildfires that are torching southern California right now. It makes me happier than ever that we don't live down there anymore. I've been worried about Yarnhog since I heard how hard San Diego has been getting hit (and I know she's been narrowly missed by fires before), but from her blog it looks like they're hanging in so far. The fires outside of LA have been burning in the Santa Clarita valley near our old house, and I'm hoping that our old neighbors and acquaintances in that area are all safe. Now one of those fires is moving westward towards the Condor preserve - so far they haven't been affected, but it sure would be ashamed if this is the thing that finally wipes them out!

I watched about half of An Inconvenient Truth the other day, and it seems like these fires are just hammering the point even further home. If it weren't for the terrible drought that the San Diego area has been suffering for the past couple years, perhaps the impact of these fires wouldn't be quite so severe. Yes, I'm a hard-boiled Democrat and Gore fan, but regardless, global climate change shouldn't be a political issue - it should be a "we-want-the-human-species-to-survive" issue. There are many otherwise-conservative Christians (including the Pope) who have become extremely concerned about the environment, which makes sense since humans are supposed to be stewards of the Earth, not users-and-abusers of it. I just have to continue to hold out hope that people will be smart enough to stay one step ahead of our propensity for destruction and figure out how to fix these things before it wipes the human race off the planet. We will surely be the instruments of our own destruction if we're not careful. There is so much love and goodness in people - I try to convince myself that we will be able to rally before it's too late. I try not to spend too much time fearing for my children's future.

I also started listening to Barbara Kingsolver's glorious new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, on my iPod in the car (I got it in digital format from Audible). The audio version is read by the author, who has a wonderful, velvety voice. I am thoroughly enjoying it (the first chapter was all about asparagus), but she also raises many concerning points about the food we eat and the whole crazy chain of food production and transportation in this country. On one hand, it's depressing to think about how horribly off-course we've gotten as a culture. On the other hand, it feels like it's good to continue educating myself and hopefully motivating myself to start doing things differently. This morning I listened to the section where she talks about heirloom vegetables vs. genetically-modified and hybrid varieties. We usually buy seeds from Target or the hardware store, but this year I'm going to plan ahead and order some heirloom seeds from a reputable catalog. She talks about how 90% of the vegetable seeds are controlled by a single big company, and that the number of species we have to choose from are greatly reduced from what was available even a decade ago. Also, many of these varieties are hybrids that can only be grown once. You can't take the seeds of these plants and get the same veggies the next year because the hybrid genes don't play nicely together when it comes to normal reproduction. It's nuts!

Anyway, I didn't mean for this post to get off on a long, incomprehensible tangent. I think it's time to go do some knitting now. I'm making a pair of socks out of Classic Elite's new Alpaca Sox yarn, and it is so fabulous. I might have a new favorite sock yarn on my hands!


Blogger greetingarts said...

I don't think I knew that you used to live in So Cal... I'm in the middle of all 18 or so fires right now, there are 7 counties burning and the air quality is truly awful. We're not in any imminent danger of our house burning down, but we're all coughing, have sore throats, messed up noses, and can't go outside for long. My daughter's school doesn't allow the kids to play outdoors at recess, and the sky is an eerie dark orange even at midday. I agree wholeheartedly with you, the environment and global warming is not a political issue, it's a human one, and sooner or later, everyone is going to be forced to stand up and take notice. Hopefully it will be much, much sooner.

Keep thinking good thoughts for us up in Oregon, and be glad you moved your kids to the green grass and a life of fresh eggs and chicken friends!

3:32 PM  
Blogger Yarnhog said...

Thank you so much for thinking of us. I am happy to report that the Santa Ana winds finally died down and most the the fires are now east of populated areas. Although more than 500,000 people in our county were evacuated, only five died as a result of the fires. Our mandatory evacuation order has been lifted and our neighbors are returning. (We never left, but we were also never in any immediate danger.) But many people have lost their homes and businesses, the city is covered under a thick layer of ash, and we will be a long, long time recovering.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I don't think it's a tangent at all!! We seriously need to be reminded of it every day. It is only going to get worse if we don't do anything about it. What really bugs we though are that people can buy carbon offsets so they can continue doing their everyday stuff without any consequences it seems.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Brittney said...

I think Portland Nursery also sells some heirloom seeds, and then you'd also be supporting a local business! Isn't Kingsolver's book great?

11:08 AM  

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