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Is California Doomed to Keep Burning?

Years of unchecked development and bad climate policy have set the state on fire. Where do we go from here?

Illustration by Samantha Mash

What will it take to save California? Around the world, fire season is growing increasingly severe and increasingly lethal. This year, wildfires have destroyed more than five million acres in the American West alone. The August Complex fire, which is burning in California’s Mendocino Forest, has become the largest in the state’s history. On Episode 17 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene speak with the historian and urban theorist Mike Davis about the decades of poor decisions in residential development and fire management that led us here. In the second segment, Naomi Klein, the author of On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, explores how the converging disasters of 2020 should shape the future of climate policy.

Later in the episode, campaign reporter Walter Shapiro previews the vice presidential debate. If it’s anything like past VP debates, it won’t alter the race and it’ll be entirely forgettable—but are there other reasons to watch it?