Are we in hell?

Dear President Biden,

It’s still way, way too hot in way, way too many places but yesterday Seattle was overcast and the high was somewhere in the mid-70’s (it was comfortable enough and I was busy enough with work that I didn’t check my NWS app at all). I actually cooked dinner last night and we took an early evening walk sans sunhat and sunscreen. It was dim and cool by 9pm and we went to sleep around 9:30, something neither of us has been able to do for weeks. The clouds are still hanging around this morning and it was cool enough that I needed my sweatshirt for the first third of my walk. In other words, things are apparently back to normal around here.

I did notice, though, that the larger leafed bushes, vines, and trees are suffering – the leaves are brittle and browning much too early. And the sections of Shasta daisies along the west side of the power plant in full sun that I’ve been reporting on the last several weeks are mostly wilted and looking done. The ones in the sections that are shaded look perky and happy, making the demise of the others even more pronounced.

Have you seen the news about the town of Lytton and the reports on the spike in sudden (likely heat-related) deaths in BC? I’m sure you have, but it’s so freaking scary that I’m going to recount the basics for you here. First, the town of Lytton was decimated by wildfires and it appears that not everyone has been accounted for yet. Second, the BC coroner said that since last Wednesday, 486 people have died suddenly, which is a 195% increase over normal sudden death rates, and she thinks there will be more people found dead and that there are more such deaths coming.

So far the numbers in Washington State and Oregon are much, much lower than in Canada. Even if they do go up some as anticipated, it’s really unlikely that we’d approach anything like the losses BC experienced, and frankly it’s beyond me how this could be. I think the temperatures were fairly similar across the whole upper left swath of North America and my sense has always been that we’re much worse at meeting our people’s basic needs around housing and medical care than they are in Canada, so it’s strange that BC was hit so much harder than we were with regard to heat related deaths – unless we’re simply that much worse at keeping track of our people and knowing when they die. I think we all need to be tracking this for the foreseeable future in order 1) to make sure that we aren’t horribly under-counting heat-related deaths, and 2) to ascertain what led BC residents to be so disproportionately vulnerable to heat-related sudden death so that everyone throughout North America can take steps to mitigate those vulnerabilities ahead of the future extreme heat events we will all no doubt experience.

Then there are the tornadoes you all had earlier today.

And the swarms of locusts.

And the unprecedented, mass flooding.

As in, what the hell? Are we in hell?

You know how when a person has finally had it and they simply can’t take ANY MORE CRAP and they blow? Well, I know one shouldn’t anthropomorphize non-humans, including the planet earth, but it sure seems like our poor planet earth is telling us in no uncertain terms that its had it with us.

I think we’d better start listening to Planet Earth and we’d better not let the GOP-devils “negotiate” climate actions that include any burning of fossil fuels whatsoever. We’ve got to be done messing around on this.

May we be safe from ourselves.
May we be willing to make the hard calls.
May we hold a strong line when it comes to doing what needs to be done.
May we accept that even the earth can only be pushed so far.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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