Tag Archives: climate change

The NFL: Where Billions are at Stake

The forests of California, Oregon and Washington are being decimated. But pro football is back, so who cares?

The West Coast is suffering a growing crisis. The death toll has yet to be totaled, because health effects from breathing this particular toxic air are yet to be estimated. While people in the rest of the country have been paying attention to Covid-19, the West Coast is showing the world a climate-change fact of life. Fires are decimating Western forests and air quality far out West has turned beyond unhealthy.

That’s why I have been running my air conditioner constantly, even when the temperature outside never makes it above 70. Longview, Washington is on the northern periphery of the Western air-quality crisis, and my A/C recycles high-quality air inside the apartment, keeping bad air out.

The adjectives used to determine air quality are as follows: 0-50 is good, 51-100 moderate, 101-150 unhealthy for sensitive groups, 151-200 unhealthy, 201-300 very unhealthy, and 301 and above hazardous. Longview today registered 384; Tualatin, near where my cousin lives, 411.

Turn your attention, please, to San Francisco, where the NFL dictated the 49ers play football against the Arizona Cardinals today. Hmmm, the City by the Bay’s air-quality number was 193, qualifying as “unhealthy.”

But deep down why should we care? These players are being paid handsomely, right? So why not send weekend warriors into the smoke-filled confines of Levi’s Stadium, amid “lucky” ticket holders who can see the made-for-TV spectacle in person (minus the commercials, of course) and simultaneously fill their lungs with carcinogens? What better way to convince a bored, quarantined America that it’s good to play outdoors under “unhealthy” conditions.

Yes, as long as football graces American TV screens in the fall, everything’s okay. Just like we can depend upon the CDC for the most accurate guidance going forward. Perhaps some of football’s millionaires can give us more guidance after smashing their noggins against one another for three hours.

Today is no longer Sunday, but please pray for America.


Like many people around the world, I was heartbroken to see last year’s news coverage of massive blazes that destroyed 20 per cent of Australia’s natural forests.  Thirty-three people were burned to death attempting to flee the mega fires, while 400 more Aussies were determined to have perished from the smoke.

It’s already recorded that Australia suffered the hottest, driest summer of record prior to the catastrophic fires that destroyed so much forest land, but do you think it’s all climate change to blame for how bushfires turn catastrophic?

That’s a live burning stick. The black kite picks it up on the unburnt side and flies off with it to a nearby area. Hundreds of birds are attracted to the opportunity presented therein.

Meet Australia’s arsonist: the black kite, known to aborigine people as the karrkkanj. In order to cause grasshoppers and small reptiles to reveal themselves, these colorfully beaked birds actually pick up a burning stick, carry it to a nearby unburned area and drop it in the bush to create a new blaze. No wonder fires can grow to unmanageable extremes.

I learned this by watching a video chronicling this grotesque occurrence in a three-part 2017 PBS series entitled, “Magical Land of Oz.” Obviously, there are far more depictions of the Down Under continent’s extraordinary wildlife throughout each episode, but I was astonished at this particular quirk of nature.

If you’re looking to while away some hours during this era of self-quarantining, you could do a lot worse than to order this DVD from Public Broadcasting. And know you’re supporting public television. Here’s a link to that PBS series.

In the meantime, if you know an Aussie, tell him his country is for the birds!