Beyond that, the concept of the wisdom of the crowd shows that the solutions we need are often discoverable if we ask enough people who know something about the topic!
People ask how us if the smoke is affecting the grapes? What about the people and the communities? As importantly, what can we do to improve this, as a community? The problem is both macro and micro: global warming, but also weak electrical lines, rural spread and decreased logging. So, we are asking, what can our community do on both levels?
Clearly the hospitality industry has been damaged, but what about the health of agricultural workers who spend their time outside?
The fires and smoke are impacting our community’s mental, emotional, physical and economic health? What will the long-term effects be and how can we address those in advance?
Here are some ideas that I have accumulated from friends and media about reducing the incidence of fires.
Changing the policies that reduced logging in the state, which traditionally managed the forests and maintained the paths. Previously two wood fired power plants operated in California using the debris from the lumber industry. New technologies have made wood a much clearer energy source.
Hardening of the electrical grid in at risk regions to prevent fires. Decentralization of the electrical system to reduce the number of lines through encouraging environmentally smart power systems. This would reduce the dependence on vulnerable electrical lines.
Urban planning and tax policy to encourage more people to live in denser housing. Limiting the number of people living in rural or ex-suburb regions. In a weird paradox, cities are ‘greener’ than either suburbs or countryside homes because of the reduced carbon emissions from heating, cooling and transportation.
I have my own ideas as an herbalist about ways to help people overcome the effects of smoke, but is there anything that can be done wide scale?
Napa County, through preserving the farmland and concentrating housing within the city limits, is a great example of a green city. We are a bit more spread out than ideal, but this is an agricultural city so we need a place for our SUV’s, pickup trucks and gear.
Like everyone else, I have my own limited perspective, so, I am asking people whose opinions I trust to share their personal insights and hopefully the wisdom of the crowd will bring good ideas to light. Thank you,
Ralph & Lahni
Space and Time Productions