A Montanan's Frustration with Hurricane Harvey

A Montanan's Frustration with Hurricane Harvey

Compassion Coming From a State That's Receiving No Compassion

I want to first offer my condolences to all affected by Hurricane Harvey, in Houston and around the country and the world. It has been a horrific tragedy in many ways, including the shock for those who have lost all their worldly possessions let alone those who have lost friends and family. And I encourage anyone and everyone who can afford to, to help with disaster relief through reliable resources. This article is in no way meant to minimize the tragedies and impact of Hurricane Harvey across the Southern United States.

That all being said, I would like to explain why the national media coverage has been unnervingly frustrating for me.

My beautiful home state, Montana, has been burning up for months with very little coverage or outrage of the lack of help we've gotten from our Federal Government. As of July 24, 2017, Montana has considered the numerous large wildfires a state emergency, with the executive order coming from Governor Bullock. After already leaving multiple fires to burn for months, this executive order finally allowed for Montana to utilize resources such as the National Guard and other state services to combat the destruction being caused by fires.

To put this in perspective, on August 29th, 2017 evacuation orders were given to more than 1,100 homes in the Seeley Lake area of Western Montana. Thousands more homes and families are being put in danger by various other fires throughout the state including those in Lolo, MT and throughout Ravalli County. There was no way of knowing that these fires would become such huge problems to these areas due to the fact that they were quick to ignite through lightening strikes. Because of this, there was very little warning for people to get their personal items or pets and livestock together before having to leave their homes. Thousands of people are being forced to find temporary housing situations and are scared of losing everything.

Firemen and women have been putting their lives in danger's way for months with very few chances to catch a couple hours of sleep and rest. Resources are scarce and with so many large fires on the doorstep of populated areas of the state, they seem to be outnumbered in many ways. Already two firefighters have lost their lives protecting their fellow statesmen. And without reasonable resources available, it's possible more casualties are to come.

While I am not one of those directly affected by the wildfires, as I haven't had a close friend or family member die and I haven't had to move my belongings out of harm's way, there is another issue affecting Western Montana.


For weeks the city of Missoula, MT has been blanketed in thick smoke, along with many other valleys in the area. The smoke has been so terrible that we are unable to see the usually prominent mountainous backdrop of the state we love so much. Almost everyone I know has had health concerns due to the smoke varying from headaches to vigorous bloody noses. For populations at risk to even more harm, such as the elderly and young children, the smoke has been even worse causing people to visit hospitals and clinics - looking for some kind of relief.

The reason all of this information is pertinent to Hurricane Harvey in any way whatsoever is the fact that our Federal Government has refused to come to the aid of the people of Montana for months. It is frustrating that the mainstream media has, if talked about it at all, kept the fires in Montana as fluff pieces. It is frustrating to wake up one day to Facebook suggesting I give aid to those in Houston when Montana has been left to fend for itself. It is frustrating to feel as though our lives and well being are seen as less important simply because we live in a less populated state, rarely thought of by our fellow countrymen.

So this is a hopeful call to action. My hope is that this can be an eye-opening moment for the country - to see that there are others in dire need of help. I hope that our Federal Government will see the need for more resources in Montana and declare a Federal state of emergency before fires begin to threaten larger cities. I am worried that Montana will fall farther to the bottom of concerns of the United States of America. But I am hopeful that the compassion of the American people can focus on two tragedies at once and come to the aid of Southern states as well as Montana.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Sun Is Always There For Me

Whatever the day may bring, I know I can always count on one thing.

The sun is always there for me.

Whether she is shining down on me on a warm September morning, or hiding beneath the clouds on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I know I can always count on her.

The sun is always there for me.

After a long morning with spilled coffee and a failed exam, I lye in the grass and wait as the sun provides me with warmth, kissing me in the form of sunspots and light brown speckles.

The sun is always there for me.

As I sit beneath the rays, my eyes close as I look up. “Too bright,” I think, as I turn over and watch the colors of my vision change reality into warped images, making everything a little more beautiful.

The sun is always there for me.

I watch as my nail polish fades from blue to green, changing along with my mood. They too know the warmth and comfort the sun radiates.

The sun is always there for me.

Her warmth shines down upon the plants, providing me with nourishment and company. I am grateful today.

The sun is always there for me.

She paints pictures in the sky like watercolors. Red, yellow, and orange hues melt into one as the sun sets and says its daily goodbyes. Gone for the night, but always back for more.

The sun is always there for me.

Each day a new beginning, filled with uncertainty.

I might not be sure what will happen today or tomorrow. But whatever the days may bring, I know I can always count on one thing.

Cover Image Credit: Gabriella Scaff

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Climate Change Is REAL

The cold weather we've been experiencing is just as important as global warming.

Since 1880, the global average temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit–around 1.1 degrees Celsius for all you non-American folk out there. While that doesn’t sound like a huge amount, the effect that this heat has on our planet is catastrophic.

The sun naturally gives off a wide range of electromagnetic radiation waves, a majority of these being ultraviolet rays that come in three forms: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. These rays differ in their effects on us because of their wavelengths and energies, but UV-B–a shorter wavelength radiation that is mostly absorbed by the sun’s natural ozone–is quite harmful to us. It can cause cancer, intense sunburn and damage to your cell’s DNA.

With the increase in pollutants that humans are releasing into the atmosphere, the ozone layer that has been protecting us is depleting. The molecular bonds within the ozone layer are destroyed by chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) gases, which are contained in things like aerosols (hairspray), refrigeration (air-conditioning) and solvents (laundry detergent).

The use of these products has created a hole in the ozone, making us vulnerable to the dangerous UV-B rays.

This is only made worse by the increase of ‘greenhouse gases’ present in our atmosphere, and multiple studies have found that this change has been caused by human activities.

These gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH), are capable of trapping energy from infrared radiation, the form of energy that essentially makes things hot and is, therefore, preventing the heat from leaving the stratosphere, causing a global increase in temperature.

While I ramble on about global warming, it is important to note that cold weather still happens during the year. You've probably read about or are currently experiencing the current bomb cyclone that is ranging through the Mid-West, Northeast and just recently the East Coast.

You might be thinking "What is this girl rambling on about? It's freezing, we could use a little 'global warming' right now". The thing is, global warming is just one portion of the overarching worldwide problem of climate change.

The regional and global weather is affected by ocean patterns, upper winds, level of Arctic sea ice and the shifting shape of the jet stream. The Arctic sea ice levels have decreased dramatically in the past few decades, with between 0.17 to 0.2 millions square miles being melted every decade.

Last year set a new record for the lowest maximum sea ice extent ever. The jet stream, fast flowing air currents from the Arctic, naturally shift to blow cold air to various parts of the world such as Europe and the United States.

However, recent research has found that the decreased in Arctic sea ice has caused more divergence in the jet streams path, causing extreme winter cold into the mid-latitudes.

Of course, the bomb cyclone isn't the only extreme weather we have seen because of climate change–the hurricanes that swept the US Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico and Eastern Seaboard are thought to have been influenced by the warmer air.

The Hurricanes are fueled by the increased ocean temperatures, as well as the higher percentage of humidity in the air and are able to turn into the devastating storms we had during Summer 2017.

Here lies the problem: I can sit and preach all day about the causes of climate change, the issues it has caused and will cause for our society and the ways we can prevent it–but I am only one person. Trump's administration has continuously shown that they strongly doubt the human impacts on the changing climate, and without proper legislation and corrective measurements put into place, the issue is only going to grow.

You can help by doing whatever you can to use less fuel, fewer aerosols, minimal air conditioning and you can act now by signing one of the petitions down below. My hope is that we will begin to see real change in the way we treat our planet and that we can work towards bettering our world.


OCEANA Arctic Climate Change Petition

Tell Trump to #ActOnClimate

NRDC Climate Action Petition

Trump must acknowledge and address Climate Change

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