Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Increased wildfires? A new WPA & CCC could help with that!

On Monday, December 17, the following was reported: "Warmer and drier conditions in coming decades will likely cause the burned area from wildfires in the U.S. to double in size by 2050, according to new research based on satellite observations and computer modeling experiments." (See article here)

During the Great Depression, the unemployed helped fight & prevent wildfires. The CCC is especially remembered for its work in this area; and rightfully so, since the forests were the domain of the CCC boys. But the WPA also helped. For example, WPA workers created 6,337 miles of new firebreaks.

Since we have about 5 million Americans who are classified as long-term unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and since we have millions of young adults who are neither in school nor working (according to a recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation), why not train & employ some of them to fight today's wildfires and prevent tomorrow's? Some could fight fires directly and some could work in support positions. Offering job opportunities to the jobless, and protecting our forests & parks from destruction, seems like a much more positive response to the problems of unemployment and wildfires than the endless political games & brinkmanship that occur in Congress today.

Our forests burn, while some of our political leaders are busy signing anti-tax pledges and casting laid-off Americans as lazy "moochers," "parasites," and "takers." Honestly.....it's pathetic.

(Image above is a WPA poster, provided courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

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