Climate change is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid or deny. It has become part of daily life for too many people on every continent. During the past couple of years, the world has seen unprecedented wildfires — from Australia to the Amazon, in the Arctic, and in Central Asia. Last year, Colorado and California also experienced their worst fire seasons on record, causing devastation on a scale never seen before. Changes in climate have not only made forests more susceptible to fire directly, but warmer and drier conditions have increased the vulnerability of many forests to pests and invasive plants which are altering our ecology and leaving forests ever more vulnerable to uncontrollable fires.
Wildfires on the scale we’ve been experiencing pose great risk to human health and cause unprecedented environmental and economic devastation. Air pollutants can spread thousands of miles to contaminate the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. This panel will discuss increased wildfire activity, the root causes of climate change, and the cost to human health and society.