Fires to Blizzards: Living in an Unpredictable Time

by | Jan 29, 2021 | Voices

I am frustrated but I’m breathing
Third day waking up to the dark
Power yet to be restored
Generators all around, hum and rumble loudly
Almost everyone seems to have a generator now – is this the new norm? Is this how we adapt to survive the effects of climate change?
After 84 mph winds rushed through our hills
Tearing down shingles
Flipping over trampolines
And uprooting ancient trees
Off goes the light – another public safety power shut-off – something millions of California’s have grown accustomed to
As I laid awake to the howling wind
I saw the giant dark shadows shaking outside my window – dangerously close to snapping off as the wind whipped around the house
The next nights buzzing with motors running – the constant noise sounding like a vacuum in my head
Imagine what we could hear when power is down, the wind has calmed, and generators were silent…
would birds be singing?
Would it be a chance to connect with our own backyard community?
Would we be still to hear our earth crying….

I am angry but I am walking
I look up and I see the blue sky
I look around and I see the green of trees

My steps begin to ground my thoughts
It’s mid January, the green grass on the golden hills should be returning
But the rains haven’t come
Instead high winds funnel through our valleys
Creating the perfect condition for a waging wildfire
Our season no longer only summer and fall but now all year
I am sad – because it will only continue to get worse
The rains come in February and March now
creating a longer lasting fire concern
The snow pack is tiny as it melts quickly bringing on early spring and a hot dry summer without the snow melt through July
Three days without power is small example of what is to come
As we continue to live the way we do
As we continue to emit CO2
We can only expect more natural disasters – people will be displaced – power will be lost – ecosystems and towns will be destroyed
So yes I am angry about my power being out
Because it’s a wake up call to something much bigger
Look around.
What place, community, species, activity would cause you ACT oppose to SIT?

So what do I do when I feel powerless
I educate myself and others
Knowledge is power
We can look to what we know and what we need to learn
To find a better solution

Because I do worry, that next time my home won’t be so lucky
That the next high wind event with dry conditions will result in my community being the next Paradise
It’s not a matter of IF – it’s a matter of when
We cannot escape the force of nature
But we can change our actions and mindsets to build resiliency as a peoples


  • Margaret Cooper

    Margaret is a UC Davis alumna with a degree in Environmental Science and Management and Spanish minor. She is driven by youth empowerment, environmental education, and outdoor accessibility to address climate change in her community. She loves being part of the Turning Green community to build confident future leaders and advocates for environmental sustainability.