Michael Kodas visits Western to discuss importance of journalism

Students gather around Michael Kodas to listen to his speech about the importance of journalism

Michael Kodas visits Western to discuss importance of journalism

Carley Clegg
Photo by Jan 21, 2019

Author and adventurer Michael Kodas visited the West Wing of the Leslie J. Savage Library at Western Colorado University to argue the importance of truth by explaining the suppressed facts of massive wildfires.

On Nov. 13, Kodas spent approximately 90 minutes covering numerous fires in recent history along with his personal experience around them for an audience nearing 100. He explained that many of humanity’s worst forest fires—such as The Fourmile Canyon Fire in 2010, The High Park Fire and Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012, and The Black Forest Fire in 2013—are the result of poor human practices.

These practices include, but are not limited to, poor forest management, lack of funding for firefighting and a lack of firefighters that causes many crews to consist of 50-80 percent prison inmates. He also stated the fires in the United States are expected to double in power by 2050, burning a total of approximately 20 million acres, a size nearly equivalent to that of Maine.  

All this information was followed by Kodas explaining that these facts and the journalists attempting to share them are usually silenced, sometimes by even the government. Kodas also stressed the importance of journalists bringing the truth to citizens, so they may work to protect themselves from the growing threat of wildfire.  

Snacks and beverages were available for those in attendance. The talk finished with a brief summary of Kodas' books “Megafire: The Race To Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame” and “High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed,” along with over 30 minutes for questions. 

Story by Western freshman Jamie Rivera.