Hello. I’m Paul Thornton, and today is Saturday, August 27, 2022. Let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.
So far, the summer in Los Angeles may seem mild, but those of us who regularly consume weather news are sweating for a disaster unfolding halfway around the world. You probably haven’t read much about it in the US media, but large parts of China are drying up in the midst of a catastrophic heat wave that lasts more than two months – not a few days or even both or three weeks that would make for a heat emergency in historic California, but a all summer.
The prolonged heat wave has upended daily life in much of China, home to 1.4 billion people. Hydroelectricity generated by dams is in critical shortage as the rivers that spin the turbines dry up (portions of the mighty Yangtze River, the world’s third largest, have been reduced to a trickle similar to that of the LA River ). In China’s Sichuan province, there are reports of residents fleeing to underground bunkers to escape the searing heat on the surface. These are some of the worst-case scenarios, once thought to be decades in the future in the absence of meaningful emissions reductions, that we may soon face in places like Lake Mead and parts of the United States that have experienced their lowest overnight temperatures this summer.
What does this have to do with our opinion content? I would argue a lot, because the ongoing climate emergency colors almost everything that happens in Los Angeles. We live in a metro area that makes big claims about global warming and passes laws meant to drastically reduce our emissions over time, but we remain a structurally car-dependent cityscape where life expectancies are shortened to cause of air pollution and hundreds of people are killed each year. in traffic. Hopefully that’s starting to change, as the city of Los Angeles has moved to make a small section of Griffith Park Drive permanently off-limits to drivers, prompting the Times editorial board to ask readers for their thoughts on the location of the next car-free street. be. Several dozen of you have already sent us your suggestions, many of which will probably be published soon.
While this may mean growing cultural acceptance of car-free public spaces (and streets are public spaces), this is a minor change considering what is needed to mitigate the mass extinctions and thermal emergencies already underway in places like China. Understanding what’s at stake, the Editorial Board praises Governor Gavin Newsom for pushing California to set new emissions goals and meet them quickly, but wonder why he waited until the 11th hour of the current legislative session to call for such sweeping changes. Still, the editorial board says, lawmakers should accept Newsom’s offer to act.
Even with these changes, and even if humanity were to immediately reduce its production of greenhouse gases, disasters like the ongoing mega-heat wave in China and the European summer of record high temperatures and wildfires will prepare for the coming decades and will get worse. The planet has already warmed more than 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1800s, and we are now seeing the adverse effects of this extra energy in our atmosphere.
Closing certain streets to drivers and halving emissions are great steps to take, but ending our consumption of fossil fuels as soon as possible seems increasingly like the only way to ensure the survival of civilization on this long-term planet.
The climate-altered future of the West is bleak, even in daylight. Though I bristle at reflections on disasters in California from the East Coast, I find this observation by David Wallace-Wells of The New York Times on our changing relationship with fire: “Ten years ago, Californians often feared fire, even though they lived in uncomfortable housing. Now, more and more, they fear the smoke – each pyrocumulus cloud or fire tornado is an airborne toxic event that extends outward from the flames. A decade ago, coastal residents might have found solace in the hundreds of miles between inland fires and their homes; now they are wondering about the wind patterns that could bring particulate pollution to their doorsteps. New York Times
California isn’t boring, but its license plate certainly is. Before calling on readers to send us their ideas for a new Golden State plate, columnist Laurel Rosenhall offers her stark assessment of what appears on the bumpers of nearly all of California’s 31 million registered motor vehicles: “Our home state of California must have the least inspired license plate in America. Just a plain white background with blue letters and numbers and a red “California” scribbled across the top in a cursive font As if that weren’t bad enough, the bottom portion of the plaque reads “dmv.ca.gov,” which might be the most boring letter combination ever.
Four thousand abused beagles have been released from captivity. One found a home in Sherman Oaks. Robin Abcarian visits the local family who adopted Nancy, “a beautiful, slender beagle with sad round eyes so typical of the breed”, one of thousands freed from grotesque conditions at an Envigo-owned kennel that produces dogs for research. Abcarian addresses the “heavy” ethics of animal research: “It’s much easier to accept the practice when you don’t have to look a sensitive creature like Nancy in the eye. But when you see pictures of the horrible conditions at Envigo’s facilities, it’s even harder to understand the reality. Is animal research really necessary? Los Angeles Time
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Canceling Biden’s debt will help millions, but it won’t end the student loan crisis. Jonathan D. Glater and Dalié Jiménez, both professors of law at the University of California Schools, welcome the massive cancellation of federal student loan debt, but warn that much more needs to be done: “The whole picture…remains grim. This massive cancellation – politically unimaginable just five years ago – is not the end of the student loan crisis. Congressional action is still needed to reform the way the government funds higher education. Canceling payment obligations for those with balances today does little for those who have started borrowing to start school now or will do so in the future. As one freshman law student asked, “What about us?” LA Times
Let us now praise the great masters. Author and former Times writer Joy Horowitz sings about the wonders of “M. C,” her history teacher at Beverly Hills High School. Salem Lutheran Elementary in Glendale, I was a cripplingly shy 6 year old child who was hard of hearing and unable to read anything but my name.The idea of learning to read after almost all kids ruled that out Kindergarten terrorized me Miss Stenshoel, a twenty-something teacher transplanted from Minnesota, was supernaturally patient with the handful of students in the “blue” group far behind, eliminating the intimidation of learning anything again. Decades later, I have a career built on the foundations of reading that Miss Stenshoel helped me build, and nothing I write can ever fully express my gratitude. Los Angeles