Last month the East Oregonian did a story about some young folks from Heppner who were trying to raise awareness and have a conversation about climate change. I applaud them for their efforts.
My generation came of age during the 1960s and 1970s. We were going to change the world, and in some ways we collectively did. Major legislation was passed aimed at cleaning up our air and water, protecting endangered species, and bringing more transparency to government. Along with this, the powerful fossil fuel industries and large corporations bought their way into politics. We went on to raise families and have careers as our economy developed around consumption and having the latest and greatest things. Some of what we developed was fantastic and useful; some set us on the path to climate change, bolstered by an exploding world population.
Now, most agree that climate change is happening, and there is overwhelming scientific agreement that humans are responsible for part of this.
Although there is general agreement in recognizing that we have a problem, we seem to lack the will to make the personal and organizational sacrifices needed to mitigate and adapt to a changing future. As long as we use the excuse that what we do will not make that much difference, or that someone else needs to take a hit — not me, nothing will change. Climate change will not discriminate — conservative or liberal, rich or poor — we will all be affected. We will continue to see hotter and drier summers, larger wildfires, more invasive species, earlier spring runoff and lower summer streamflows. June was the hottest month ever recorded worldwide.
My generation is aging out. It is time and it is so appropriate for the younger generations to take the reins for their future. We can learn from them and they will live in a different world than the one we grew up in. I applaud the young folks who are insightful and courageous enough to get involved with their future. Hats off to them for raising our consciousness, and along with others, pressing us into action wherever that may lead.