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The spark behind Canada’s blazing wildfires — is it climate change?

A blaze has been gorging on the south of Canada, with yellow mists engulfing significant portions of the US, becoming a potent concern and danger to those living in North America. Resulting from these dry, often less vegetated conditions fuelled by mass felling of trees and over-extraction of resources, and subsequently leading to poor soil quality, a prime environment for wildfires has developed. The wildfires have been attributed to both natural and human causes, such as campfires, fireworks, and arson. However, with climate change creating an increasingly humid environment, it allows for such fires to be less predictable and more uncontrollable than they once were. Climate scientist Daniel Swain adds credence to this as he argues there is a “clear climate connection” to these wildfires.

Canada is now looking at wildfires that mirror those in the Australian outback. And for a country that is praised for its beautiful environment, crisp icy weather, and snow-capped mountain ranges, it’s ironic that Canada, of all nations, would have this hazard encroach on it. However, this is how climate change has invalidated all sorts of presuppositions about countries — with assumptions about their climates, weather, and seasonality all being flipped upside down. Becoming wildly unmanageable, pollution stemming from the flames has even trickled its way down to the United States, encroaching upon some of its major cities; its effects discoloured the skyline of the US Northeast coast, with New York City swallowing a lot of its yellow smoke. Air pollution in major North American cities has skyrocketed, with Toronto being listed at one point as almost having the worst air quality globally. Just last month, air quality in Chicago was the worst in the entire world.

Canada is now looking at wildfires that mirror those in the Australian outback

The hellfire has spanned across 4.4 million hectares since the start of the fire season, reaching almost every single Canadian province. Little to nobody is safe from the effects of this growing concern. In addition, the wildfire season usually commences much later in the year. Having wildfires this early is a clear testament to rising climate insecurity, and the instability of weather patterns and seasonality. Many natural disasters are flowing from environmental mismanagement, and we are seeing the planet slowly and sadly burning in front of our eyes. With the autumnal and winter seasons being pushed back further than ever, along with record temperatures across the nation, these are all variables creating a breeding ground for the easy start and development of monster fires. Simultaneously, the onset can also be pointed at lightning and cases of arson. This creates this inevitable tinder-dry environment that could turn a minor, manageable fire into a gargantuan one.

The blame can be significantly pointed at corporations’ attempts at exploiting resources in Canada. Of course, these corporations are not concerned with the need for sustainability, but rather short-term gains that can be dug out of the ground and into the pockets of wealthy shareholders. This does no good for the environment and is exacerbated further by big oil companies burning increasingly more fossil fuels, ultimately leading to poorer air quality.

Having wildfires this early is a clear testament to rising climate insecurity in weather patterns and seasonality

Still, the right plan to tackle this would be to hit the issue at its heart, starting with stripping back the ease with which oil companies continue to extract and pollute, as well as other forms of resource extraction, such as felling, that contribute to poor soil quality, such as slash-and-burn methods. However, as nations conduct environmental agreements alongside peers and despite these efforts to halt environmental destruction, they nevertheless provide avenues and outlets for companies to expand operations that inevitably hurt the environment. It makes such great speeches and efforts by world leaders such as Justin Trudeau seem fraudulent and almost people-pleasing rather than attempting to stamp a boot on the ground and produce any significant change. Instead, they are creating more freedom for corporations to extract fossil fuels, which they might term as efficient energy sources despite their general environmental costs. Net zero will never be reached at this rate, with nations attempting to care more about economic growth for TNCs and corporations than the health of their national environment.

All in all, it’s a terrible, tragic situation to see the natural beauty that Canada has to offer becoming scorned and squandered. All of this with the intention of pleasing corporations, and especially oil companies who are opening new tunnels and routes to burrow beneath the earth, with searching eyes for black coal or oil sludge.


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