Photo by Emma Trevisan on Unsplash

I always get disheartened when I hear about raging wild fires like those in California the last few weeks. They seem to get worse every year now. It’s hard not to imagine a world sometime in the future when all our forests are gone.

My instinct in these moments is usually to find some silver lining or broader perspective that allows me to stay focused on the positive, to ward off despair.

But I am also trying to remind myself that it’s important to let myself just be with the sadness sometimes. There are many incredible, positive things happening in the world today. But there are also many scary, difficult things happening as well. The loss and sadness are real.

There’s a fine between focusing on the positive and being in denial about the negative.

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.


  1. Not to miss the point, but fires are part of a healthy forest ecosystem, not a means by which we permanently lose trees. Often worsening fires are because as humans we see fires as dangerous (which they are) so we suppress them, which causes the underbrush to build up and up, which in turn makes fires less frequent but bigger, which increases our fear, and the cycle continues. Certain species of trees actually require fires in order to reproduce.

    • Totally. And in the past our efforts to prevent wildfires have actually made them worse/more frequent.

      I do know wildfires are a healthy part of the cycle. I also worry that wildfires are getting worse and getting to an unhealthy point due to the climate crisis.


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