Community Opinions

COMMUNITY OPINION: Lessons from the fire

Mary Zanger shares her thoughts on recent fires in the region.

This community opinion was contributed by resident Mary Zanger. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

My commute skims the airport making me believe what I don’t want to believe; for instance, an airport photo of the fire retardant being loaded into the plane, the thick red mixture dripping bloodlike from the loading hose oozing over the spout. In addition, I see rear views of a plane headed for one of the hundreds of fires. Another reveals the smoke blurred vision for a driver on Hwy 101 at Betabel overpass.

Although my eyes smart, my throat coughs and my tongue can taste smoke, I now understand how suffocating smoke can be. Life can’t live in this atmosphere. There are no guarantee that fires will stop.

Now we look at the damage. Our precious California forests are a carbon sink for us. That means that trees suck out the carbon and blow back oxygen. Forests also behave as water sinks. Without water sinks we have mudslides.

By building cities we push back forests thus crowding plants and animals. Fires kill and upset animal life. We forget that we are animals living in the forest of our planet.

Any imbalance affects us all. This is where pandemics can start. When nature is stressed viruses can mutate and jump from animal to man as is the current case.

Although no photo catches our attention, something else does. The lure of free money captivates us. “County hopes for tax windfall” reads a newspaper headline or millions in taxes if Strada Verde is built out. Sounds like easy money; but think a moment. The developers anticipate wealth for them. What is our cost? The land is private but the air, water, riparian waterways, creeks, rivers and roads belong to us taxpayers. Those are our precious limited resources. We do not want our resources polluted, nor do we want more clog in our already clogged highways. Especially in this dual threat of climate change fires and pandemic we have a right and a duty to vote “No on N.”

Mary Zanger

Mary Zanger