Firefighter extinguishes conspiracy theories with cold hard facts

Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.


Can we please get off this timeline of insanity?

Thankfully, there are voices of reason out there. Pretty much any rumor you hear or see gets fact checked pretty quickly, so unless you're so far gone that you think every single fact checking website is "in on it," it's not too hard to find the truth.

And sometimes, the truth comes in brief, refreshing, not-unattractive packages.

A firefighter who goes by the TikTok handle @wildlandmike shared a quick response video to a young woman's ridiculous conspiracy-laden video about the Western fires. His delivery is perfect, and Twitter users are going gaga over it.

It doesn't hurt that Wildland Mike fits the "hot firefighter" stereotype, and many of the responses were...well...thirsty. (As a colleague asked this morning, "Do they not let ugly people become firefighters or something?") Good-looking experts spewing facts is a double whammy of attractiveness in the disinformation age. It is what it is.

But the comments also highlighted the unfortunate fact that this girl making the conspiracy video has an actual reach.


Just for funsies, I looked her up on TikTok. She has 2.6 million followers, SO THAT'S NEAT. Most of her content doesn't appear to be this off the wall crazy, which actually makes it worse. Kids are going to follow her to see her talk about her dog or her having lived in an amusement park and then get hit with a conspiracy theory video. It's also entirely possible that she makes conspiracy theory videos for a joke or as satire or something, but DON'T YOU KNOW SATIRE IS DEAD AND PEOPLE BELIEVE BATSH*T CRAZY THINGS IN 2020, @cierra_mistt???

Seriously, is there some kind of humanity reset button somewhere? Has anyone looked for one in earnest? Maybe it's hidden under the edge of Flat Earth or on the belly button of Sasquatch or something.

At any rate, more firefighters fighting fiction with facts, please. It's the content we all need right now.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

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2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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