Washington, D.C. (March 16, 2022)—Today, Rep. Ro Khanna, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, held a hearing to examine the urgent need for the federal government to adopt better wildfire preparation measures and discuss the human toll of wildfires that are becoming larger and more severe due to drought, global warming, and other climate stressors.
“The climate crisis and misguided land stewardship of the past have given rise to catastrophic burning across our Western forests,” said Chairman Khanna. “I have seen this problem first-hand in my district with fires that have blanketed Silicon Valley with unhealthy levels of smoke for weeks. To solve this problem, we need to listen to local and indigenous communities, not special interests that seek to dominate the conversation. I look forward to talking with the witnesses including the head of the U.S. Forest Service to reach consensus on the best strategy to prevent against these fires.”
The Subcommittee heard testimony from Randy Moore, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service; Carole King, celebrated singer-songwriter and land conservation advocate; Ali Meders-Knight, Mechoopda Tribal Member and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Practitioner; Dr. Michael Gollner, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California Berkley and Deb Faculty Fellow, Berkeley Fire Research Lab; Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Chief Scientist, Wild Heritage, Project of Earth Island Institute; and James Hubbard, former Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Agriculture.
Members and witnesses discussed why careful forest management is crucial to mitigating the damage from increasingly severe and dangerous wildfires, which are being exacerbated by drought, global warming, and other climate stressors.
Ali Meders-Knight reads her prepared spoken testimony.
Ali responds to a statement by Carole King, addressing a common yet devastating misconception of how colonial society views "nature" in the United States.
Ali responds to questions from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the ecological consequences of colonization, and how the reviving Indigenous stewardship practices can protect us all in the time of climate change.