”Dude, what the hell is this?”
the Two girls in their teens, leans forward to see this year's majbrasa on the vinterbleka and kylslagna the area south of Stockholm. Their dissatisfaction is not to be mistaken: Swedish walpurgis night celebrations are cotton candy, föräldraföreningens pond and a cover band on a flatbed truck. But above all it is a mighty bonfire burning in the middle of a field.
In the years there is no fire. This year is the large pyre exchanged for a dozen small eldkorgar fed with disciplined birch wood inside the round gate. A fire watch in a yellow vest tells us that a single spark from a real valborgseld had been able to get it knastertorra the woods on the adjacent hill to burn up in no time. The small eldkorgarna is a sad sight, but perhaps also a sign of the human capacity to adapt their habits for new circumstances.
. Our home, the earth, was from the beginning a ball of melting rock that was bombarded by fiery meteors. Slowly solidified, then the planet's film over the bubbling magma and closed the fire inside. It may have been this inner fire that had bacteria and micro-organisms to grow into the first life, it was the fire that killed the dinosaurs. Humans learned early on to burn the plants with fire – and as long as we have lost control of the fires. Fire has always existed. And finally, there is the one who decides.
Read more: Review of Sven Olov Karlsson's book ”the fire patrol”
I read about the fire history in Sven Olov Karlsson's breathtaking book, ”the fire patrol”, which deals with the big forest fire in Västmanland 2014, when the flames are high as church steeples devastated an area three times as large as Stockholm. Karlsson writes both objectively and sensuously about how the man literally puts fire on the preconditions for its own future and about the lack of preparedness for the consequences of this behavior. As climate change increases forest fires in number and severity – at the same time that the same climate change, accelerated by the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide the fires spew into the atmosphere.
On the way similar to the whole modern civilization, one big metaphorical majbrasa: we collect so much dry fuel we can and teeth.
perhaps The most daunting with Karlsson's book is that it is written so recently and yet it seems so distant. The book came out in 2017, before last summer's forest fires in Sweden in the pre-apocalyptic megabränderna in California the same fall, before the rekordtidiga start on skogsbrandsäsongen in Sweden. Everything he writes come true so quickly. A manager at the U.S. skogsvårdsmyndighet told me recently that his first encounter with a ”fire he has not been able to imagine” took place in California in August 1987. Today he says: ”It seems as if every year we see a new ’worst brand’ that we had not been able to imagine. And so the year after another new. There are no limits.”
His observation is supported by both research and experience. ”What we see now is a really big bogeyman”, said recently the fire chief Johan Szymanski, who led the fire fighting at fires in the river Valley last summer. The forest fires in Sweden has this year already begun in april and before this year brandsäsong is the groundwater levels so low that the probability of a repeat of last year's fires increases. In this way, similar to the entire modern civilization is one big metaphorical majbrasa: we collect so much dry fuel we can and teeth.
With the climate change we have, so to speak, armed to nature with a deadly weapon. When it gets warm enough and dry, it will not help how many helicopters, or brandflygplan society than send. It becomes, as the expressive västmanländsk sawmill owner says in Sven Olov Karlsson's book, ”to piss in a blast furnace”.
All that the modern city-dweller has taken for granted will be lost if the stable fund of nature, against which our lives have happened, the bursting.
Paradoxically, are a part of the solution inside among the trees. New research from the university of Zurich in Switzerland shows that there is enough space in the world's forests and natural areas to plant additional 1.2 trillion trees on earth – a number that would be able to store enough carbon dioxide to neutralize a whole decade of emissions from fossil fuels. The forest is and will remain an effective barrier against the livsförnekande path that we have embarked on.
in Addition, it is a concern for all. The forests have long seemed to be at a safe distance from the urban human life, but climate change and the fires makes them move closer to society's centre. What happens when the heat, the drought and the winds are pushing the fire towards some of the larger cities in Småland or in the county of Västmanland?
american writer Roy Scranton, we perform a complete conversion of our way of life or climate change will end our way of life. Much of what the modern city-dweller has taken for granted will be lost if the stable fund of nature, against which our lives have happened, the bursting of: the technological and moral progress, it is quick and cheap travel, offer all year round in grocery stores, swimming at the beach and skiing in the winter. Goes also the safety from natural disasters, the belief in a better future for our children and the freedom to choose where we want to live, who we want to love and what we believe in. But also, one might add, the banal luck to see a beautiful valborgseld rise against the evening sky in a dark and frozen land far up on the globe.
”What the hell is this?” asked the girls at the set fire.
this is The world in klimatkrisens time.
Read more by Björn Wimans chronicles of the climate crisis – and about the book ”Late on earth. 33 thoughts on the world's biggest news”.