A burning world

Review. The bottom of the air is hotter than ever. In this month of September, the smoke from the fires in California is visible as far as Europe. The Pantanal, a wildlife sanctuary in Brazil, has been on fire for two months. 2020, the year of the worst records? That would be to forget 2019 and the start of this overheated millennium a bit quickly. Ravages, the journal co-directed and co-founded by Frédéric Joignot, former journalist of World among other things, reminds us of reality.

Catastrophes, disasters, deserts, ecocides, mass extinction of species, massacres and pandemics: from self-destruction to zoonosis through denial of the infernal environmental spiral underway, the program of this issue lies in its explicit title: After the fever, the heat wave. It is in fact a return for this magazine which appeared in 2008, then absent for seven years, before getting a makeover this summer to breathe a stifling air of time.

The era inspired writer Margaret Atwood to write a short and punchy text on the “Fourth age” of the history of mankind, that of the deserts. New words appear: “megafeux” for example. These phenomena represent less than 3% of the total number of occurrences of forest fires, but are the cause of more than 90% of the areas burned, according to the American essayist and expert Gary Ferguson.

Barbecues melt

In California, which no longer knows a year without a flame season, it happens that in the gardens barbecues are founded which are intended to withstand the hot weather … Sometimes also “Aluminum car wheels form a puddle on the ground”, reports the philosopher Joëlle Zask, and the DNA of people “Incinerated” during these disasters does not identify their excessively charred corpses.

Read also “We have just suffered two severe heat waves, but we are not taking action”

What could be more Hollywood than images of glowing cataclysm? Ravages publishes those of photographer and filmmaker Jeff Frost, spectacular. The gigantic flames also sweeping Fort McMurray in Canada, Portugal, Siberia are inscribed in our collective memories and awaken archaic fears. “It’s like a big black storm coming, but it’s not a storm, it’s a fire! Large fires create their own winds, they create their own weather conditions ”, Harriet Alexander testifies, report to Sydney Morning Herald, about the terrible fire that consumed millions of hectares in Australia between July 2019 and February 2020.

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