The smoky skies of Ashland have cleared enough that I can go for a walk with the dog without coming home and coughing. Nothing like reacting negatively to environmental smoke to get you to appreciate breathing! The past couple of months have been challenging. I’ve been blessed to experience most of my life in fitness and in health, but the smoke from surrounding forest fires that lingers in the valley over the summer months attacked me this year, putting health and well-being out of reach.
For the past six weeks, I’ve been trapped inside. . . a lot. And the thing I missed the most was spending time on the deck hammock, looking up into the oak tree and getting lost in the patches of sun and sky that filtered through the leaves. Whereas summer used to mean home-made popsicles on the front porch and harvesting herbs, now it means staying inside and changing the air filter.
This summer tale is not just mine. It’s becoming all too familiar a story. The climate is changing and when temperatures rise, ideal conditions for forest fires rise too. I fear that this is the new normal for the west. What’s equally as sad is that there are things we could be doing to help the situation. But it will take government and organization and a willingness to listen to scientists who’ve been studying the problem. My greatest hope is that we find the courage to take action. Action number one: Vote out any idiot who doesn’t think that Climate Change is real! That’s at least a start.
Outside my windows, the west is on fire. Smoke hangs thick in the Rogue Valley. Friends and neighbors wear masks when they venture out. Below us are the fires in California, burning so hot that they create their own weather. Above us fires from central Oregon eat away at brittle terrain, battered by an ever-spreading drought. And further north Washington state burns like nobody’s business. Each time the wind shifts, choking smoke from a different direction blows into the valley where I live.
Climate change is not a possibility up the road. We are living in climate change. If you are a denier and want to get up in my face about how the climate is always changing, I can only offer you this: Our lack of conservation and egregious polluting continues to contribute to the extreme and unprecedented weather events we are experiencing, and that is the truth.
The west is getting drier and the east is getting wetter. Tornados and hurricanes are stronger, and as Bob Dylan once famously sang, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Therefore I call bullshit on any stupid politician telling me that they don’t believe in climate change. What does this new and volatile model bring, other than more instability? And I am asking that question of both climate change and our political body. Take your pick.
I was happy to see President Obama talk about climate change in Nevada yesterday. I am always happy when an elected official recognizes and offers intelligent discourse, acknowledging that our planet is sick. She has a fever and you can see it on the west coast of the country. I still hold out for action. It’s not yet too late.
So here’s my new word: Pro-planet. Words have power. We all know what “the 99%” means, not because it was defined by someone, but because our collective consciousness defined it to a point where it became a political battle cry, underscoring the chasm between our growing have and have not society.
I want a word, a word that I can hurl at politicians who want my vote. A word that defines a deeply held, moral conviction. Do not give away your vote to a single person who is not Pro-planet. We once had a proud and noble government that worked for the people. It has been slipping from our grasp for decades and not only are we paying the price, but the planet that we live on is paying a price. I only have one bullet in my arsenal and that is my vote. My vote, coupled with your vote and other votes can become stronger than money and the propaganda that money breeds.
I want a Pro-planet president and a Pro-planet congress and senate. In the meantime, the world is burning outside of my windows.
I have never asked anyone to “like” my posts or re-blog, or anything like that. But this is not about promoting my self; this is about creating a word that can grow teeth and traction. Please “like” this on WordPress, Linked-In and Facebook in order to spread the word. Please re-post my essay. Let’s see if we can collectively define a word that has the potential to instigate change. Start referring to yourself as Pro-planet.
Signing off today as Pro-planet. I love this earth and I choose to stand and be counted in that way.