9/11, wildfires, and a *&%$*# bounty on the moon

President* Trump,

It’s fitting that early this 9/11 morning we had to close all the windows to guard against the unhealthy smoky air and that all day today we’ve needed to stay inside while huge swaths of the West burn. Connecting the dots is arguably somewhat circuitous, but the 9/11 attack 19 years ago certainly helped propel us to this moment, this moment when we have an isolationist, malevolent POTUS with strong dictatorial leanings who’s written off everyone, in every state, who isn’t lapping up his lies and is subsequently ignoring the fact that we’re on fire over here. Actually, it’s more likely you’re giddy that those of us in the West are having an especially rough time right now – you’re that much of a jerk (and then some).

Even though I know you could give a rat’s ass, my sister and her family are on Level 1 evacuation watch because of the encroaching Holiday Farm fire near the Eugene/Springfield area where they live. Fortunately her in-laws don’t seem to be on evacuation watch this year (they were three years ago) so she and her family could go stay with them on the Gorge if they have to. My brother’s daughter and her mother are less fortunate – they’re on Level 2 evacuation watch (the pictures she sent my brother that he shared with me look like End of Days time) and I don’t think they have anywhere as familiar or easy to go as my sister and her family do.

At this point, over 1 million acres have already burned in Oregon and it sounds like the major fires are 0% contained. There’s also worry that this could be a mass fatality situation given how many people are missing. Governor Kate Brown has said that this is a once in a generation fire situation in Oregon. I hope to goodness she’s right, but it seems highly unlikely. People keep using phrases like this – “once in a generation wildfire,” “30-year flood,” “50-year drought,” “once in a century pandemic” – but as most sentient beings know, we’re wracking up these staggeringly destructive “natural” disasters every dang year, with each new year dwarfing the previous ones. To state the obvious, it hardly seems sustainable. Maybe Mother Nature has had it with us and she’s in her own “burn it all down” mode to save herself.

And now there’s news that NASA’s offering a bounty on the moon (https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/09/10/moon-mining-nasa-search/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories-2_moonmining-1240pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans). They’re talking about f*cking mining the moon. There’s all this hand-wavy shit about setting out “safety zones” around mining and “exploration” sites and how this is all somehow within the bounds of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which says that no country can lay claim to the moon or other celestial bodies. Sounds like so much bullshit to me. Really, what it looks like is that some very expensive lawyers have done some slick parsing of the language to get around the wise attempts to save the rest of the solar system from our careless greed and our hoarding ways. It’s like the supremely spoiled rich kid who’s trashed his own lavish set of toys and his play space and can just order new toys and a whole new space in which to trash them. Plus, in the process, he’ll continue to extract from and trash his existing space to make the machinery (and extract the fuel to power it) to instigate a new round of trashing. It’s basically the exact opposite of what we need to be doing.

It’s lunacy, really.

Surely it makes sense to figure out how to handle ourselves sustainably where we actually live before we go trooping off to our nearest (and dearest) celestial body where the oversight will be non-existent.

Seriously, what is wrong with us?

May we be safe from ourselves.
May we be willing to clean up our act here rather than take our destructive, wanton ways to the moon.
May we be strong and generous for and with one another.
May we accept we have to go it alone, that our POTUS is worse than not there for us.

Tracy Simpson

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