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Anointed LA Times Smears Rural Residents as "Climate Deniers"
Without evidence of course.
Climate: the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation -source.
Deny: : to declare (something) to be untrue ; to refuse to admit or acknowledge (something) -source.
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Climate (change) denier has become the new facist, racist, sexist, or even homophobe these days with certain individuals of a certain worldview.
It’s over-used to the point where its actual definition is no longer understood.
In a back and forth where the slur is dropped oftentimes reveals more about the person who dropped the slur than the person being targeted.
Here’s a hint:
We open with column from, you guessed it, the LA Times: “Column: Rural climate skeptics are costing us time and money. Do we keep indulging them?”
It begins with far less arrogance than the title suggests with the story of a former Pasadena resident, who fled the smog, traffic, and noise of “The Valley-adjacent” to the fresh air vistas of Rural California. There, outside Greenville in Plumas County to be exact, he settled down with a position with the US Forest Service, married, had a family. His father-in-law owned a local jerky shop and passed the business onto him.
All’s well until the narrator switches to lecturing us dear readers with prose that matches the tone of the title.
Select excerpts below, emphasis mine.
Even though it’s extraordinarily beautiful, with thick forests and pristine rivers, rural Northern California isn’t for everyone — nor should it be.
This is the part of the state where climate change has become a full-fledged existential threat. Sure, Southern California is prone to its fair share of disasters, but it is in Northern California where catastrophic wildfires aren’t just likely but are certain to destroy remote small towns for decades to come.
Greenville, which burned down in last year’s Dixie fire, should serve as a potent reminder of this risk. But maddeningly, the people who love living in these rural wildlands don’t see it that way. Instead, they look at it as just one more challenge to overcome, like spotty cellphone service and far-off grocery stores and hospitals.
It’s a belief so widespread, so divorced from the terrifying reality of climate change, that the rest of us in California can’t keep ignoring it. Doing so is simply costing too many lives and too much money, and wasting too much time. Soon, living in rural Northern California won’t be as safe, as sustainable or even as beautiful as it once was.
For starters, who are these people and who gave them the moral authority to decide where other people can and should live? Who exactly are these areas for? We get no answer.
To add to the rich irony, this is coming from two people who live in what’s nothing short of a failing, dystopian city with hundreds of thousands living at or just above sea level that allows open air drug scenes and for people to live virtually anywhere in the public right of way - some have even caused large fires themselves.
Not to mention the skeletons in the closet of the LA Times.
The authors lament that residents of rural areas who wish to rebuild because their desires to do so apparently shatter their catastrophic climate crisis narrative. They reject the fact that humans are actually quite good at mastering and overcoming a great variety of threats from mother nature including climate change. Rebuilding in these areas has little to do with denying the fact the climate is changing and/or humans are contributing to that. The urban corporate journalists masquerading as environmental activists are most likely just disconnected from nature and haven’t a clue about how fires work. The LA Times probably purged level-headed rational thinkers from their payroll long ago.
In a typical Cluster B Authoritarian (Michael Shellenberger’s book San Fransicko also provides a deep dive into this mentality) move, they also assert they speak for the rest of “us in California.”
The hell you do not.
This is another example of the authoritarian mindset that has parasitized the state and its politics.
Veterans of rural areas are typically well aware of the risks of living in such areas after typically having lived there multiple generations and basing their livelihoods off rural occupations. It tends to be the newcomers, often from the cities and with the attitudes of the authors, hilariously to whom “the mountains called so they came,” who are surprised and out of touch with rural reality.
Case in point:
The Sierra Nevada town of Greenville, devastated in the Dixie fire. Why the blaze was able to enter Greenville at all, tucked away in the Indian Valley about 100 miles northeast of Lake Tahoe, has become the stuff of conspiracy theories. But what it left behind is undisputed fact.
Spoiler alert. The authors fail to list a single “conspiracy theory.”
As for “undisputed fact,” it’s so strong they insisted on repeating it again a few paragraphs later.
Why the Dixie fire was able to enter Greenville at all, tucked away in the Indian Valley about 100 miles northeast of Lake Tahoe, has become the stuff of conspiracy theories. But what it left behind is undisputed fact.
Streets of empty lots where homes and businesses once stood. A non-functioning sewer system. Soil so contaminated that millions of dollars in environmental restoration will be needed. Stumps where trees once provided shade from the sun.
In Greenville, the Dixie fire left streets of empty lots where homes and businesses once stood. A non-functioning sewer system. Soil so contaminated that millions of dollars in environmental restoration will be needed. Stumps where trees once provided shade from the sun.
Much of what lies ahead for Greenville is also fact — though many residents would dispute that.
This is where the authors really get preachy and obnoxious. Apparently they believe that repeating certain phrases over and over again works like a spell too.
The, uh “undisputed fact”, really boiled down to the burned down leveled town. Nobody denied that happened - at least in this story.
The climate will continue to get hotter and drier. Rain and snow, once a common occurrence, will become exceedingly rare. Perhaps most troubling is that wildfires will become more frequent and more intense, transforming the very ecology of the northern Sierra Nevada.
Forests that haven’t burned in decades are now very likely to burn multiple times in one decade, climate scientists say. And once they do, they are unlikely to come back as trees, but as a mix of brush and shrubs.
“No one should be deluded into thinking that having shrubs is going to be less fire risk because they burn like crazy, really hot and fast,” said Jonathan Kusel, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Sierra Institute for Community and Environment.
Apparently this is what many residents are disputing? Although the authors fail to cite a single person making these arguments. Strangely enough, there are models and studies that suggest some parts of CA will actually get wetter due to climate change. Apparently that’s not the correct Science though.
Meanwhile, it will become far more difficult to build homes and businesses that are resistant to flames. That’s because an increasing number of wildfires raging through Northern California will be severe, rather than low- or medium-intensity.
“There is sort of an engineering limit to how much fire resiliency you can build into a structure, unless you literally make them concrete, metal boxes,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA.
Apparently larger buffer zones between wildland and human settlements aren’t a thing any longer?
Nor is firefighting?
Fiat Academia didn’t send their best.
What’s happening in Northern California is twofold: First, human-caused climate change is exacerbating the heat and drought of aridification. Second, decades of fire suppression have allowed forests and wildlands to grow thick with vegetation, priming them to burn hot and fast.
There’s some debate over which one is more to blame for these massive wildfires. But Andrew Ayres, an environmental economist and research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, says they both are.
What’s strange is the authors seem to be leaning their climate denier slurs onto those who are only attributing the causes of fires to poor forest management and not the climate. Then here they actually find someone to tell them both are to blame for the fires.
As a side note, the LA Times are notorious cheerleaders and often run cover for Governor Newsom. Last year during their biased coverage of the campaign to recall the Governor, they failed to cover the fact he mismanaged fire prevention efforts. We’ve covered time and time again here on GLF how horrible their energy coverage is too. They will never admit they endorse a politician who regularly pushed for policies that objectively made things worse on the environmental front in CA.
And yet those who live in Northern California tend to focus almost exclusively on the overgrown vegetation as the cause, faulting the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the U.S. Forest Service for not doing more to reduce the risk.
“We’re in the middle of a national forest,” said Bret Cook, a lawyer who lost his home in the Dixie fire and represents many homeowners in their lawsuit against PG&E. “The federal government needs to be more aggressive.”
Or as Kim Greene, the mayor of Weed, lamented during the first of two major wildfires to hit Siskiyou County this year: “You can log it, you can graze it, or you can burn it down. The state of California chooses to burn it down.”
Are these really the examples the authors with to use to attribute to people who are downplaying climate change and over-emphasizing human forest management?
The columnists are too arrogant to entertain the idea that people who actually live in these places and see them change over time might actually have some legitimate things to say. I think they call these “lived experiences,” in the world of the columnists.
Often this line of thinking veers into grievance politics, insisting that catastrophic conflagrations wouldn’t be happening if left-leaning, big-city environmentalists hadn’t killed the logging industry in their right-leaning rural small towns. From there, the victimhood can morph into extremism, isolationism and paranoia.
This is another example of Cluster B behavior. The authors are projecting hardcore here. Also rich as hell coming from people who are almost certainly of a cult that embraces victimhood, aka Wokeness. The LA Times knows their audience (upper class “anti-racist” “Progressives) and normal people presumably got kicked out of the org a long time ago.
They’re also trying to insert the political binary which I’m sorry to say is a midwit-level of analysis. CA’s rural communities are a mix of people from all over the political spectrum. Few are likely to fit in the neat boxes these two project.
Careful thinking with nuance isn’t welcome here, especially when we’re being lectured to by Noble Anointed Ones though.
Shelby Leung, a firefighter in Greenville, grew up hearing his elders talk about a time when giant pyrocumulus clouds weren’t the norm in Northern California. When his tribe, the Maidu, managed the land more sustainably.
“They would just burn every season — every fall and in the springtime,” he said. “And a lot of it was, like, patchwork where they would burn around their homes. It was just clearing that made it safer.”
Leung is convinced it’s possible to do that again. Count him among those with a deep connection to the land who have chosen to stay in Greenville. But there are others, many of them Maidu people, who couldn’t afford to leave if they wanted to.
Even before the Dixie fire, the town’s poverty rate was more than double that of California. Many who lost everything to the flames didn’t have insurance. Some ended up living in RVs. Others of more means were able to buy or rent homes in other parts of Plumas County.
But now housing prices are higher than ever because demand has outstripped supply — a twist on the affordable housing shortage that has long plagued Los Angeles, even without wildfires.
The Ideology at both the LA Times and the target audience is most likely to point out that the previous inhabitants of the land managed it better than modern occupants do. This is 50 Shades of Grey type erotica to their target audience.
But hilariously, the authors issue a bit of a self own by pointing out that the Maidu tribe practiced a form of prescribed burning which is something forest managers in the Western US resisted for generations thus causing, in part, the reasons the forests in the West are burning so severe and hot. Strict environmental regulations at the state level in California make prescribed burning difficult to do too. Those who are NOT members of Native Tribes have also known for generations that forests and grasslands are supposed to burn as well. But apparently the LA Times scolds wants to cast them as “climate deniers” instead.
Of course they turn this into a poverty and affordability issue. Apparently it’s news to some city-folk that there is indeed a lot of poverty in rural areas. If that’s the case then they certainly didn’t get the memo they are also the cause of a lot of these issues every time they buy up a second property to AirBnb in a mountain or desert town. This being California, a lot of these residents (urban and suburban as well) fall further into poverty or have trouble breaking out due to the state’s notorious bureaucracy as well. The policies which make this worse are often cheer leaded by the LA Times themselves.
The situation in Greenville, which has already played out in other scorched towns across Northern California, raises important questions that few in government seem willing to answer.
Are taxpayers who live in lower-risk cities willing to subsidize people who live in higher-risk rural towns, even if those people don’t have the means to live somewhere safer? And which is the fairest, most equitable use of public resources?
“People are OK basically gambling and not taking insurance,” said Solomon Hsiang, the chancellor’s professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and a co-director of the Climate Impact Lab. “And then when disaster hits, they’re stuck with it — or taxpayers are stuck with the bill if they’re receiving relief.”
And yeah, who in Government wants to answer such questions? Such a thing would be political suicide.
There’s a bit of rich irony in all of this too. Rural people actually provide a lot of the goods and services urban folks rely on - take agriculture for example. Who really subsidizes who? It’s not as easy as they want to portray here. The scolds at the LA Times seem to assume all urban or suburban people think the same as them. That’s also not the case and there are plenty of people in both areas who find the ideologies the LA Times often promotes while brown-nosing what is essentially a feudalistic state horrific. Normal people in these places also pay disproportionally for things such as actual police protection while the coastal elites retreat to their hills with gates and sometimes even private security.
In all this arrogant nonsense, the authors leave out the fact the State of California has intervened so much in many markets- most notably the insurance industry which has notoriously distorted some of the actual costs of living in these types of places. The people who are even paying for it are most likely not paying for a product which properly hedges them from these risks. If the insurance market did charge for the appropriate amount of risk, the LA Times would be scolding them for “price gouging.”
The strangest thing about the piece though, is the authors fail to identify one person who is even remotely a “climate denier.”
No seriously, go read the whole thing.
The closest the two authors get is somehow projecting this label onto people who still want to live in these areas and rebuild after a horrific fire.
And this of course:
The answers to these questions will be revealing, particularly in terms of the hypocrisy.
For all of the anti-government, Trumpian rhetoric in Northern California about residents breaking away to form a right-wing State of Jefferson, most of their towns wouldn’t exist without massive public investment from liberal cities. And yet, if these same residents are forced to take on more financial responsibility for the risk of rural living, there will almost certainly be pushback.
They just cannot quit the Orange Man, can they? (They conflate libertarianism, anarchism, etc. with “Trumpism” which last I checked Trump was a heavy Statist just like they are). After all yesterday when the news broke out that not one but both Nordstream pipelines were reported to have been intentionally sabotoged, the Noble Heroes of Democracy at the LA Times were blabbering on their front page about January 6th.
It gives them something to battle against and as a result, they create more of the very problems they whine about.
Narcissists feed narcissists. Trump won’t quit because they can’t quit Trump.
If they’d quit letting Trump live rent-free in their heads, then the pro-Trump folks wouldn’t have as much fuel to “own the libs.” These journalists just cause the problem they claim to be trying to fight against.
The day when the LA Times, as with many other corporate press rags, are taken about as seriously as a supermarket tabloid cannot come soon enough. They have deceived Californians though and though, helped support the despots who “lead” the state, run cover for them when they screwed up, deceived voters about why they are so disliked. They’re baiters of every single hot issue from race to trans and sell false narratives to try to make a dime. And they’re doing the same thing here.
As for climate denier, it’s just a low-grade slur meant to alienate those who aren’t goose-stepping to the views of the most extreme of climate catastrophists.
They want two things: a civil war and an apocalypse.