I Lost My Home in the Woolsey Fires — Is Climate Change To Blame?

I Lost My Home in the Woolsey Fires — Is Climate Change To Blame?

I lost my house in the Woolsey Fires on November 9th, 2018 and I can't help but ask myself if climate change was a contributing factor in the complete destruction of my childhood home, neighborhood, and community.

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It's been four months since I've been home. It's been four months since I last sat on my bed staring at my corkscrew board covered with frozen memories from when I was little to now. It's been four months since I walked down the stained and intricately woven Persian rug, my mom has had since I was born, stretching from one end of the house to another. It's been four months since I sat outside on the porch, watching the trees sway back and forth in the last golden rays of sun. Home is where I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, it's where my youngest brother took his first steps as a baby. It's where I grew up for fifteen years of my life. I woke up and fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing against the headlands of Point Dume in Malibu, California.

On November 9th, 2018 I lost my childhood home and neighborhood in the Woolsey Fires. Just a day and a half before was the mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, just twenty minutes away from my house, and five minutes away from where my brothers and I went to swim practice. Processing the heartbreaking turn of events in those couple of days was one of the hardest situations I had to process—if not the hardest. On November 8th, the night before the fire blazed through Malibu, one of my high school friends called me letting me know she was evacuating from a fire that had started in Thousand Oaks, just a couple of miles away from where the shooting occurred. She sounded calm but more annoyed about evacuating. Growing up in California, you're kind of used to evacuations happening from over the years, evacuating that night wasn't anything of terrifying. Still in shock from the shootings, and now many more of my high school friends evacuating I could only hope that everyone I knew, and those a part of the Thousand Oaks community were safe.

The next morning, I woke up to the news of the fire having spread from Thousand Oaks, jumping the 101 freeway, and traveling down the mountain through Agoura into Malibu. My house is above the water, I remember thinking. It will never get there, it never has. Within just a couple of hours, I had received the news that my home was burning to the ground, my dad and brother witnesses after staying behind in an effort to save our house.

It's been four months and I find myself looking back at photos, videos, google images and whatever I can find of my house. The way in which it was sitting comfortably atop our driveway, my favorite tree in the front yard's branches shaping into a beautiful and bright green bulb, shading the grass below.

As I find myself trying to remember all the moments I had growing up in my house, I can't help but ask myself if climate change was a factor in the destruction and loss of homes that not only I, but my entire community suffers from. The Woolsey fire was in fact, the most destructive wildfire ever in Los Angeles County, burning 96,949 acres.

I had grown up accustomed to fires happening in Southern California, while only ever evacuating twice ever in the fifteen years I had been living here. But losing my home and everything in it was something unimaginable.

It astounds me how far the fire reached from the hills in Thousand Oaks to just near of the headlands in Malibu, located above the water. Point Dume was the furthest the fire could have reached, any farther and you're in the water. After doing some research, I found that climate change is a principal factor in how much the Woolsey fire burned. Higher temperatures dry out vegetation and soil, creating more wildfire fuel. Climate change also shortens the California rainy season, which means the fire season lasts longer. Santa Ana winds are also affected by climate change, which helps fires move so quickly like Woolsey, destroying everything in its erratic path.

I still feel like my childhood home is still standing, being protected by the tree in my front yard. It's luscious and vibrant green leaves swaying back and forth, causing shadows to twinkle on the grass. Southern California will continue to be affected by the factors of global warming, due to the increase in hot and dry weather conditions that intensify the destructiveness of wildfires.

My heart will always be in Malibu, I am so thankful to have grown up in a such a safe and beautiful community. I keep in mind the effects we are making on the planet as human beings, and how I can individually, reduce my carbon footprint in whatever way that may be. Global warming is affecting our environment and it is affecting us. Every environmentally friendly change you make matters.

I can't wait to go home.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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10 Ways To Start Your Days Off Right By Bringing A Little Joy And Positivity Into Your Morning

"Listen to the birds sign a sweet morning song."

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I'll be the first to admit, I'm not exactly what you would call a "morning person." That being said, I think it's high time I bring some joy into my mornings. I mean, life is beautiful, and by not enjoying mornings, I think I'm missing out on a potentially enjoyable part of life.

So if you want to start enjoying your mornings like me, here are ten things you might want to try doing to start your days off right.

1. Make a happy and healthy breakfast.

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Make some toast, eggs, fruit, granola, or yogurt. OR, break out the bacon and have a good time. Any of those options sound like a good morning to me.

2. Drink a fresh cup of coffee (or tea).

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For me, I don’t think anything could beat the smell of a coffee being made in the morning. So whether you’re into coffee or tea, use a nice warm drink as a way to bring a little joy into your mornings.

3. Smile when you wake up.

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Start your morning with a good old-fashioned smile. Look in the mirror, look at how wonderfully made you are, and take a moment to smile and take that in.

4. Try to stay off of social media when you first wake up.

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I know, it’s all too easy to become glued to your phone these days, BUT I think that’s a few moments of time away from it, and away from social media, can be a good way to stay positive in the mornings.

5. Journal your thoughts going into the day.

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Take a pen, pencil, and a piece of paper, and take a moment to write down your thoughts, feelings, emotions, or anything else on your mind going into a new day.

6. Put on clothes that make you feel happy.

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Put on whatever outfit makes you happy, whether that’s a cute sweater or a t-shirt. Wear something that makes you feel good.

7. Watch the sunrise.

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OK, so I know you might not be able to do this every morning, but I think that watching the sunrise is the perfect way to start any day. What could be better than taking in all of these wonderful creations?

8. If you can, sit outside and enjoy our planet.

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On that note, take some time to sit outside and enjoy the early morning and the world around you. Start your morning off with some time to really just sit back and take it all in.

9. Spend some time reading something you enjoy.

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Grab a good book, a magazine, or whatever it is you might like to read. Take some time to clear your mind, and then fill it with lots of good writing.

10. Listen to the birds sign a sweet morning song.

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Arguably my favorite thing on the list, I truly can see no downside to listening to the birds chirping away in the morning. If you can, take some time to listen to nature’s sweet morning song.

Hopefully you can try one of these tactics to brighten up your morning, and in turn, maybe even brighten up your whole day. We live in a wonderful world, and I think that it's time we start to recognize that.

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