Drugs Not Fire

Rebecca Solnit made what initially seemed to be a good metaphor for climate change until Professor McDaniel illuminated its faults. Perhaps most obviously is the fact that the world is not one person’s house, but everyone’s collective home. Furthermore, in my opinion, the idea of a fire doesn’t necessarily apply to the phenomenon of climate change as well as another metaphor can.

I think that what is missing in her metaphor is something that symbolizes the detrimental addiction we have to crude oil. That is what’s causing the fire. Climate change – the deterioration of our atmosphere, extinction of species, destruction of habitats, and empowerment of oil companies – is better likened to the deterioration of an individuals life from drug addiction – the potential of bringing others down with you, loss of money, destruction of friendships, and empowerment of cartels.

Unlike an isolated housefire, a drug addiction can effect surrounding individuals more profoundly. Moreover, it is significantly more gradual, as is climate change. True, the oceans are rising exponentially, but the immediacy expressed in Sonlit’s metaphor of a burning house is inaccurate and neglects the greed for oil that is the perpetuating undertone.

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