I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

The March of Folly

What happens when ideology trumps science - and common sense?  Armageddon, apparently.

An update from the Texas Forest Service yesterday, Sept. 7, 2011.

"Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 19 new fires for 1,490 acres, including new large fires in Red River and Rusk counties. In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 172 fires for 135,051 acres."  http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=12888
Oooooh.  Scary stuff.  And look at their drought index:  Texas is dryer than clothes hung out to dry on a windy summer day.

No wonder fires are  burning and have been burning for a long time. 

"Wildfires are burning across central Texas right now, the product of an historic drought and high winds from Tropical Storm Lee. An estimated 3.6 million acres have been scorched since November, with the flames approaching the city limits of Austin; damage is expected to exceed $5 billion. In the macro-sense, this is climate change-caused problem, with Texas' climate set to become dryer and dryer over the ensuing decades, making extended droughts the new norm."
Please note that's November  of 2010 !!!!  These Texas fires are not merely nature gone mad:  humans have contributed to the outbreak.  How?  That's where belief systems came in ....
"Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a GOP presidential candidate, scoffs at the notion of human-induced climate change, even suggesting recently on the campaign trail that scientists are manipulating data to make money. He also has declared a weather-related state of emergency every month since December. Meanwhile, Texas' state climatologist has warned that his fellow citizens should get used to this climate of extremes."

Not only does Mr Perry scoff at the reality of climate change while Texas dries out around him, and refuse to discuss action on climate change, he has slashed firefighters' budgets.
"The state of Texas has been battling wildfires for almost a year now. The wildfire season began in November last year, and Gov. Rick Perry and cash-strapped state lawmakers took a stance against raising taxes and against putting their hands too deeply into the states rainy day fund. So in order to save some money, Perry and GOP allies slashed funding for the agency responsible for fighting wildfires ‑ in the midst of a historic wildfire season that's seen more than 2 million acres burned by fire. The Texas Forest Service is slapped with about $34 million in budget cuts over a two-year period, which is roughly a third of the agency's total budget."

Why on earth slash government budgets for essential services when one could raise taxes?  Belief systems - less government good - taxes bad.

Perhaps someone should hand Mr Perry a copy of The March of Folly by Bbarbara Tuchman. 

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