The Heat Dome Inferno Monster Speaks!

[This script was audio-recorded and played aloud at the June 27 “Hot & Bothered” XRPDX action in front of City Hall, one of several events for Heat Week. At the repetition of “hot and bothered” the participants in the action waved their fans. – Ed.]

Yo, Inferno here! Apparently you Oregonians just can’t beat the heat!  If I do say so myself, I’ve had a couple outstanding years. Those wildfires in 2020… worst air quality in the world! Were you hot and bothered?  

And THEN I went and outdid myself last year with the Heat Dome: topping 118 degrees. I claimed 96 Oregon lives with that hot mess!  Yeah baby, climate inaction delay means death. We’re not just talking heat deaths… there’s all my cousins, starting with the Pollutants. They cause 50,000 national annual deaths, not to mention even more from floods, hurricanes, tornados, and my bestie – EW, you know, Extreme Weather. 

Your elected leaders make it soooooo easy… just fiddling around while Portland burns. Yeah, they promise a few resiliency measures here and there, but you don’t scare Inferno with a few heat pumps (Hahaha!). In fact, I got a feeling they’ll be the ones catching heat when they start putting in air conditioners only to find out that just fuels my flames… more energy use… more emissions… yeah baby, that’s what keeps me going! And you all are gonna Take the HEAT! Hot, but are you bothered? 

On reducing emissions you’ve really done little!  Those Zenith tar sands and Bakken oil bomb trains are still barreling through your neighborhoods… MMMMMM…

Zenith was unloading fossil fuels on that 116 degree day last summer. Fossil fuel exports are like superfood  to a Flame Demon like me… and talkin’ about crash and burn… yeah, burn, baby, burn!!! 

Now the summer of 2016 – the Mosier derailment followed by the inferno!? What a day! That was a big accomplishment for me! By any chance, were you hot and bothered? 

A few environmentalists try to hold Portland city officials’ feet to the fire (hehehe), but for naught. In 2020, the city issued a Climate Emergency Declaration and then did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for two whole years to substantially reduce emissions.

Ya just gotta LOVE these so-called leaders!  Helping those temperatures inch up slowly… like you’re the proverbial lobsters in the pot. Hot and buttered, my friends? 

In their budget process this year, they [the City Commissioners – Ed.] bragged about spending .002% to reduce emissions. WELL THAT SUITS ME FINE!  Their INACTION paves the way for MY destruction, so I’m bringing it on! In a dead heat so to speak (hehe)… no apparent winners (other than little ol’ me, and you know I’m sweet as blazes). You all must KNOW you’ll be getting hot, so I can’t figure out why you haven’t BOTHERED to do anything. 

And just when I thought things couldn’t get better, they start talking FREEWAY EXPANSIONS! Whooppee! Those extra vehicle miles traveled are just the little energy boost I need… more greenhouse gas emissions…YUMMY!  Now we’re cooking with gas (my favorite, by the way – methane’s so much stronger than plain old CO2 and fracking is deeeeelissssh in so many ways!) But I digress. Enjoy your highway to hell, my friends. It’ll be hot and you’ll be sooooo bothered.

Yep, as long as folks don’t get together and demand annual emission reductions then I’ve got it made in the shade, especially since this town is just filled with heat islands… no shade equity… no carbon sequestration… it’s my kind of place! 

Speaker, Michael Fairhurst:  And that is why we need to TURN UP THE HEAT on our electeds. We need to demand in line with the climate science that states we need a substantial downturn in carbon emissions by 2025 with emissions halved by 2030. Starting now, we need concrete action steps to reduce emissions by at least 10% annually. Spending .002% on reducing emissions [out of the annual City budget of $6.7 billion – Ed.] is a monstrous and deadly joke and we need to hold our leaders accountable. Any day now they should be releasing their annual report on the Climate Emergency and we need to be in their council chambers, letting them know that we don’t want HOT and we ARE Extremely BOTHERED! 


See this news item by KGW TV featuring the Inferno Monster:

About Diana Meisenhelter

Diana Meisenhelter has been involved on the Action Team of XRPDX since January 2019.  She served on the Extinction Rebellion US National Restructure Working Group proposal for a year and a half.  Active in antiracist, social justice, labor, and environmental organizing since the early 1970s, Diana has over 50 years of experience in movements for justice.


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