In a lifetime spent – by preference – in the woods, I’ve faced danger a few times. Rock climbing, and having the rock I was holding onto break off in my hand. Accidentally walking between a mother elk and her calf. Breaking through the ice, while crossing a stream on a winter camping trip.
The Oregon fires last fall were the first time I ever felt all humanity was directly endangered. Listening to the news, I heard an Oregon firefighter say, he felt like he was fighting the whole world. The first thought that leapt into my mind was, “Yeah, but who started this fight?”
I’ve believed we were in a human-caused climate emergency for years. The wildfires of 2020 brought it home to me. I was working as a temp for a chiropractor, watching the sky turn red overhead, as patient after patient called to cancel their appointments: “I can’t come in! I’m being evacuated!”
I spoke to one eighty year old man, as he watched flames approach his home. He didn’t want to leave. His son was arguing with him: “You can’t fight a firestorm with a garden hose!”
So I sent texts for Joe Biden and was thrilled when he was elected. I write my Congressional Representatives regularly on climate issues.
Last week, I was happy to receive a newsletter from Congressman Blumenauer, saying that he is working with Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on legislation to mandate the declaration of a national climate emergency. Read article here.
Last fall, watching fire clouds tower over me, I began writing a song, Open Your Eyes! Composer Stephen Bennett related to it instantly, because his parents live in California, where similar fire clouds threatened their home. Thank you to the members of Climate Reality, and to all people of good will and good science, who are working hard to (as Congressman Blumenauer puts it) “halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of this climate crisis.”