“Nature makes a mockery of our vanity”

Whitewater-Baldy Complex wildfire, Gila National Forest, New Mexico, USA. June 6, 2012 photo by Kari Greer. Credit USFS Gila National Forest. By July 7, the fire had burned 297,845 acres.

In case you missed it, there was a column in Thursday’s New York Times from Timothy Egan about the West’s wildfires and climate change.

Quite typically, Egan weaves together science, on-the-ground observations, and beautiful writing to make a whole heck of a lot of sense of what’s happening in the world around us:

It is one thing to hear that 3,215 daily high temperature records were set in June throughout the United States, following a winter and spring that were the warmest ever recorded. Numbers are like box scores.

It is another to look up from the eerie serenity of the Holy Cross Novitiate here in this chalk-dry hamlet west of Colorado Springs and see the ridge on fire, as if bombed from aerial assault, as the Rev. Kevin Russeau did. The 1922 novitiate is built of marble that was shipped from Chicago after a zeppelin crash destroyed a building there. It is supposed to be fireproof, protecting men devoted to a life of prayer and humility.

You can read the column in its entirety here: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/05/the-fires-this-time/

If you’re not familiar with Egan’s columns, you can read more here. And be sure to check out his fantastic 2006 book, “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl.” It’s a riveting read.

And get ready for some New Mexico-based climate change coverage and storytelling from KUNM’s conservation beat in the coming months. We’ll be taking you all over the state and helping listeners understand New Mexico’s climatic realities.

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