When Your House is on Fire

Rebecca Solnit starts off her essay about climate change with one of the most emotion-provoking events in recent memory—9/11. Her point isn’t simply shock value; it’s to bring up a point about rational responses. When the first plane crashed, it was a reasonable response to want to get out of the buildings. Despite this, many people were told to return to their offices. It was the incorrect response to a disaster, and Solnit says we are making that same response to climate change.

She moves from 9/11 to a different comparison, one of someone’s house being on fire and their refusal to acknowledge it. It’s a decent comparison, but one that doesn’t really hold up. In reality, everyone’s house is on fire, and some people are well aware of that fact and are doing things to change it. In class, we discussed other metaphors that might work in the place of the house on fire. I believe the one that could work is the idea of a society of drug addicts.

Our society is addicted to fossil fuels, because we need our cars and planes and recreational vehicles. We have been slowly heading down this path since the early 20th century, starting ever so slightly until cars and gasoline became everyday staples of our lives. It has caused problems with the people we interact with everyday (in the case of the metaphor, the middle east or neighboring countries.) At some point, all of the drug use will catch up, in the form of consequences like a depleted ozone and extinct species. It will even cause mood swings (change to weather patterns in areas). The only thing that can help to stop the problem is rehab, which helps the population realize the need for changes to green energy and a more responsible use of the planets resources. Otherwise, the drug addicts might wake up to find their house on fire.

Leave a Reply