Here in California, the wildfire is an emblem of catastrophic carelessness. A single cigarette butt, dropped in moronic innocence, can easily set off something like the fires we've seen this summer in Lake, Shasta, Tehama, San Diego, Mendocino and Riverside Counties; Joshua Tree, Plumas National Forest, Yosemite, etc.
It’s been nearly 100 years since Congress authorized the City of San Francisco to build the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Yosemite National Park. This is the dam that turned Hetch Hetchy Valley into Hetch Hetchy reservoir, providing water and electricity to San Francisco and surrounding cities. John Muir and a emerging Sierra Club fought against this project proposal for nearly 12 years before Congress passed the Raker Act in 1913, giving San Francisco the authority to build the dam, power generators, and delivery system to the Bay Area.
Last week, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park launched a major new exhibit called “Earthquake.” It has a walk-through model of the earth, an interactive space to teach earthquake preparedness, and even live ostriches. (Apparently, there’s a connection.) There’s also an earthquake simulator resembling an old Victorian home, bringing us right back to the big one in 1906.