Trump’s “Make America Rake Again” Ignites Climate Change Debate

The devastating California wildfires should completely erase any skepticism about the crisis of climate change. However, President Trumps suggested that the fires resulted because America isn’t raking its forests and dismissed climate change as a major cause.

It seems incomprehensible America could have a Commander-in-Chief so ignorant of science or the basic facts about forest management and climate change. While visiting fire devastated areas in California last week, Trump suggested he got the raking idea after talking to the President of Finland.

“I was with the President of Finland and he said we have — much different — we are a forest nation. He called it a forest nation,” Trump said. “And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem. So I know everybody’s looking at that to that end.”

Following Trump’s statement, the Finnish President denied ever promoting raking as a forest fire prevention. However, that didn’t stop Trump. In an interview on FOX News with Chris Wallace, Trump again came out as a forest raking advocate.

“I was watching the firemen the other day, and they were raking areas, they were raking areas where the fire was right over there,” Trump said. “And they’re raking … little bushes, that you could see are totally dry, weeds. And they’re raking them — they’re on fire. That should have been all raked out and cleaned out. You wouldn’t have the fire.”

Finnish social media have had a bonanza mocking Trump’s crazy forest raking fire solution. Finnish Twitter is having great fun with the latest #rakenews.  Here’s a sample from Finnish twitter accounts:

“Just this afternoon I was busy meeting my raking quota.”

“And it’s not just rakes. Some Finns are showing how they vacuum the forest to really get the job done.”

“Here in Finland we rake the forests even in winter, just in case.”

“Good luck Mr. Trump! Best raking regards from Finland!”

“I grew up in Finland. a) it rains all year round. b) we have a lengthy and cold winter. c) Finland is a sparsely populated country with just over 5 million people, with land size 3/4 the size of CA and most of it forests and lakes. d) no friggin body is raking the forests.”

“Other countries got in on the act as well with Germans lamenting the fact that their un-raked forests are vulnerable.”

Putting aside Trump’s ridiculous raking claims, the real effects of climate change have made California hotter and drier than ever. Western wild fires are growing bigger and consuming more acres each year. Since 2000, California has experienced 15 of the 20 largest fires in its history. Its annual average temperatures have increased 3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. Simultaneously, California has had multiple years of drought which has lengthened the dry season each year. Autumn rains are coming later in the season, sometimes not until November and December.

The California Natural Resources Agency predicted in an August climate change report that:

“Heat waves will grow more severe and persistent, shortening the lives of thousands of Californians. Wildfires will burn more of the state’s forests. The ocean will rise higher and faster, exposing California to billions in damage along the coast. California has already warmed since the beginning of the 20th century as a result of the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases. That figure could rise to between 5.6 degrees and 8.8 degrees by 2100.”

It’s clear Democratic Governor Jerry Brown believes California warming and fires result from climate change and aren’t related to raking their forests.

“In California, facts and science still matter,” Gov. Jerry Brown said. “These findings are profoundly serious and will continue to guide us as we confront the apocalyptic threat of irreversible climate change.”

While California burns, Trump and most of the Republican Party remain silent about the growing threat of climate change. Blaming the fires on poor raking habits is the latest excuse for a party held hostage by the fossil fuel industry.


by Rick Smith
Posted 11/20/18

5 Comments on "Trump’s “Make America Rake Again” Ignites Climate Change Debate"

  • Trump got you again with this silly rake B S . It’s nothing more than just another diversionary tactic so democrats can go off on a tirade . What we need is to get back into the Paris climate agreement and that wont happen till the work gets done on electing the next new and vibrant batch of democrats in 2020 . The battle for political control is not over .

  • Maybe he could volunteer for the USFRS (United States Forest-Raking Service). But then again, with all that hot air emanating from his mouth, he probably should stay well away from anything flammable.

  • The kids in Finland get a rake for Christmas and also use it as a hockey stick. That’s why there
    are so many great hockey players from Finland. Raking really builds up the upper arm muscles.

  • Arrrrgh. Trump thinks Finland’s boreal forests are the same as the mediterranean forests of California. The gross ignorance, it burns. Literally.

    Of course he and many others are carefully avoiding any discussion of the two enormous elephants in the room. One is climate change, of course. But the other is that local governments in California control most land-use decisions and they keep letting individuals and entire communities rebuild in areas that have burned before and will definitely burn again. And much of that rebuilding is generously subsidized by the feds, meaning U.S. taxpayers. And instead of requiring the new rebuilt homes to be more fire-safe than the old ones, requirements for the new homes are sometimes reduced to lower the cost of rebuilding. It’s crazy.

    Bloomberg had a good story about the problem just a few months ago, with interesting facts and stunning maps. Apart from the huge tragic loss of human life, the resulting fire destruction is insanely expensive. In case anyone wants to skim, here ’tis.

    • As an aside, I’ve worked on prescribed fires in Iowa, and part of that work was raking firelines. When working on prescribed fires, you want to work with people you can depend on, people who have common sense. I know some people with different political views than mine who would be great to work with on fires. But Donald Trump? NOT.

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