‘The Climate Crisis Is Now’: Haunting Video Highlights California Wildfires | Forest fires
IIn chilling new video released by Fridays for Future, the youth-led climate movement inspired by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, filmmakers capture how escalating wildfires have devastated scenic California landscapes in the hope to trigger an urgent call to action.
The short video, titled “I love you, California,” sees the camera slowly panning over the aftermath of the megafires: apocalyptic scenes of smoldering canyons, communities reduced to rubble and once-lush hillsides transformed into blackened moonscapes. The film’s soundtrack is a haunting rendition of the California state song, accompanied only by the sounds of a quiet, rustling wind.
“California’s regional anthem, adopted in 1951, celebrates the beauty of California’s rich and diverse natural landscape, from redwood forests to natural exports of honey, fruit and wine,” the filmmakers said in a statement. . “Today, those words ring more painfully than joyfully for the locals who are forced to watch those same forests and grain fields burn year after year.”
Fires have always been a part of the landscapes of the western United States and are an essential part of many ecosystems that have evolved alongside them. But the climate crisis has turned the dial, fueling a brutal new type of wildfire more likely to sow devastation in its wake.
In the past six years, the state has seen its eight largest fires on record, 13 of the 20 most destructive fires, and three of the five deadliest fires.
The release of the film coincides with the Global Climate Strike, a series of international protests culminating around demands by young people for policymakers to act, launched on Friday. Centered around the theme #PeopleNotProfit, this year’s actions include calls for transformative legal remedies to address systemic inequalities exacerbated by the climate crisis.
Although the video is only a part of the actions organized in the United States, it highlights how life in the most populous American state has already been marked by dangerous environmental changes which are expected to intensify in coming years.
“The climate crisis is no longer an abstract future or a news story about a distant country. It’s here — it’s now,” Katharina Maier, national coordinator for Fridays for Future US, said in a written statement, urging others to join the movement.
Rising temperatures have worsened drought conditions in the American West, leaving parched plants ready to burn. Dry, dying vegetation has turned into tinder that ignites the flames faster and higher, creating conflagrations that cannot be controlled.
These types of fires are increasingly harmful to the environments they once helped and far more dangerous to the communities that were in their path. As conditions change, the fire season has also prolonged strain on resources and fatigue for first responders. The problem is expected to get worse as the world continues to warm.
“Growing up in California, it’s impossible not to see the devastating effects of the fires on everything around you,” said Kiyomi Morrison, California-born second-generation junior art director for Fred & Farid, the California-based agency. Los Angeles who produced the video in collaboration with Fridays for Future. It’s her voice that resonates in the images, and she hopes it will inspire action towards a different future.
“As one of the dire realities of climate change,” she said, “I hope this can raise awareness about the current path we are headed on.”