‘I support you’
Dear young climate activists: You are fantastic. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Large scale change like the one we need happens because social movements drive it. If you are being insulted, keep in mind that you are better than that. The people in the Civil Rights movement suffered insults and violence. Just think about the folks who sat at the segregated lunch counters again and again to desegregate them. They ultimately prevailed. These events took place not too far back in our nation’s history.
Political change comes from grassroots pressure, even in the face of adversity. And remember that being part of a system where many of your daily actions involve using fossil fuel does not mean you cannot challenge the system or that you’re a hypocrite. That’s you participating in democracy and you willing to question, challenge, and change your own behavior. You are not our hope for the future, but for the present. I respect you, I respect your independent thinking and action, and I support you. Thank you for being brave.
Having attended Representative Greg Walden’s Town Hall meeting on March 15, I was pleased with the well-organized, mostly respectful (except for a few rude interruptions) and informative meeting. This was different from last time.
Mr. Walden was open, knowledgeable, polite, respectful and desiring to hear what people said. I agree with most of what he has done and proposed. However, there are three areas where we differ: 1. The situation at the southern border is an emergency! 2. While I agree with him that climate change is real, it has changed many times in the past without man’s contribution and is a natural phenomenon. 3. Fossil fuels should still be used. Natural gas, clean coal and perhaps others are essential in many ways, including food production. Without them, it is estimated by some, that widespread starvation would occur.
Rep. Walden and the “Climate Strike” students blame carbon dioxide (CO2) as the main culprit. The students’ information sheet claims that “if our emissions cannot get below 350 PPM by 2030, these effects will become reversible.” How do they know this?
The current CO2 level is about 410 PPM. Patrick Moore (Greenpeace co-founder) makes some interesting points about the matter. He states that “we had both higher temperatures and an ice age when CO2 level were 10-times higher than they are today contradicts the certainty that human-caused emissions were the main cause of global warming.” He also states, “There is no scientific proof that human emissions of CO2 are the dominate cause of minor warming over the past 100 years.”
Concerning fossil fuels, he says that if they are stopped, “it would be likely that half of human population would perish.”
I agree with his overall summary of the “science” involving climate change, calling it “fake science.”
Editor’s notes: Patrick Moore is not credited as a co-founder of Greenpeace, and has been denounced on their website for “exploiting long-gone ties with Greenpeace to sell himself as a speaker and pro-corporate spokesperson, usually taking positions that Greenpeace opposes.” The Moore quotes mentioned are in reference to CO2 levels from 450-500 million years ago and do not account for geographical and solar factors that differ from modern day. NASA maintains extensive data on climate change, including CO2 levels, and documents that the current CO2 levels of 411 PPM are the highest in 650,000 years. For the entirety of the last ice age, the period of 115,000 years ago through 12,000 years ago, the CO2 levels were never above 280 PPM and fell continuously on average throughout that time. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded there’s “a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years.”
As a former and (soon-to-be) resident of Hood River, I am interested in how the city is proceeding on development. At the last city council meeting, I was perplexed by the language of their attorney guiding the council. However, I applaud Erick Haynie for tactfully pointing out some key words in Hood River’s Comprehensive Plan, Goal 8-1, which clearly states, “Existing park sites will be protected from incompatible uses ...” Not can be, or might be, but will be protected.
This language is not ambiguous nor is it confusing, yet four members of the city council chose to defy this goal by saying it was ambiguous, voting to dismantle Morrison Park. These four people are deciding what is best for Hood River in comparison to the many hundreds of people who crafted this Comp Plan. Not to mention the many hundreds of people who want to save Morrison Park, and other parks, from reckless destruction.
In the current council decision, Morrison Park will not be protected in any fashion. It will be destroyed, and other parks are in danger as well by this very decision. Council members say that the park will still be there — reduced by 55 percent — and that the residents of the housing unit will use it. However, parks are supposed to be used by everyone. If a small green space is in front of an apartment complex, would you use it? Or would you feel that you could not use it because you don’t live there.
We do need more affordable housing — no one is arguing about this. But are there other ways to do this? Sure, there are. There are other spots — notably other acreage that the city owns that is north of the park. There is the ODOT site on 20th and Cascade. What about being creative and decreasing building permit fees for individual owners so that they can afford to build in Hood River?
Selling off Morrison Park for $1 is unconscionable. Please let your elected representatives know that they need to follow Goal 8 to protect our parks.
Sold for $1
In the news last week, tens of thousands of students around the world walked out of school to protest inaction on climate change. Students chanted, “We are here, we are loud, because you are stealing our future.”
Also in the news last week, Hood River City Council — after two years of intense opposition — voted to rezone Morrison Park for the purpose of building a low-income housing development. The five-acre park is slated to be sold for $1.
Morrison Park is untamed — no climbing walls or grassy play area — which is why it is considered by some to be an “under-utilized” park of little or no value. In contrast, it is filled with 80-inch-tall native white oaks, evergreens and an understory of shrubs, all of which combat carbon emissions and provide food and shelter for wildlife. When a tree “breathes,” it inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen, the exact opposite of humans. Trees also absorb ozone, a potent greenhouse gas. In cities, forest tracts play a particularly vital role in flood control; their massive root systems developed over decades slow down water flow and prevent it from overflowing storm drains and pouring into basements.
Balancing the need for affordable housing with the need for protected open space is not simple. But this is not an “either/or” situation. We can — and should — expect our elected officials to dig in and find a solution that doesn’t sacrifice our long term assets for a short term “fix.” The lack of affordable housing was an issue 15 years ago and it will be again 15 years in the future. A vote to change the zoning of Morrison Park sets a frighteningly dangerous precedent; which park will be sacrificed next time around? Pressure from development is relentless and zoning was established to keep this very situation from happening.
Wildfires, blizzards, heat waves, flooding — climate change is unfolding just as scientists predicted, only faster. Saving the planet must be foremost in every decision. I respectfully ask city council to protect Morrison Park. I don’t want to tell our children, “We didn’t steal your future, but we did sell it for a $1.”
Dear Congressman Walden:
Thank you for voting for House Resolution 183, condemning intolerance and bigotry. As you know, that resolution was motivated by controversial comments of Rep. Omar (D-Minn.), but ultimately passed with overwhelming bipartisan support — including Omar’s.
Specifically, the resolution condemns anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination, and bigotry against minorities “as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States.” It affirms that “whether from the political right, center, or left, bigotry, discrimination, oppression, racism, and imputations of dual loyalty threaten American democracy and have no place in American political discourse.”
H.R. 183 further affirms that “white supremacists in the United States have exploited and continue to exploit bigotry and weaponize hate for political gain, targeting traditionally persecuted peoples … with verbal attacks, incitement, and violence.”
Building on these considerations, the resolution “encourages all public officials to confront the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry … to ensure that the United States will live up to the transcendent principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and equal protection as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the first and 14th amendments …”
As my congressman, please ask yourself:
- Has the U.S. president acted, in words and actions, consistently within the spirit and letter of H.R. 183?
- Has he used his authority to effectively denounce and combat bigotry and associated violence?
- Has he specifically acknowledged its growing threat, condemned, and taken steps to combat white supremacy?
- Has he responded to white supremacy violence, including the horrific carnage in New Zealand, with appropriately forceful words and actions?
If you answer “No,” as I believe you should, please lead a bipartisan motion of censure by the House of Representatives to the president. Unlike impeachment proceedings, formally censuring the president’s feeble response (even encouragement) to intolerance and bigotry would be mostly a moral statement. But times like ours require strong moral statements.
By taking this stand, you would help reset boundaries and expectations for presidential behavior — while being true to your recent calls for bipartisanship, and helping the Republican Party regain needed moral compass.
In the Garden
Let me make a radical suggestion.
Sanity is the ability to act in a way that enhances your chances of survival. We were intelligently designed by our lifestyle in the Garden by the genetic stability of thousands of generations of hunting and gathering. We were created in the Garden as adults, but we convinced ourselves we left it as children.
Adults knew the Garden as God. If our behavior was not suitable to God, we would die. The adults who ran the show regulated our behavior through ritual to act in accord with the Garden and be grateful for what it gave us. We acted in a way that enhanced our chances of survival.
One day, Eve invented agriculture and we gradually began to believe we could play god and buy and sell the Garden. Only children would believe this. Only children would steal from each other, abuse each other and wage wars.
After the Fall, we created immature cultures run by children in adult bodies. Adults accept responsibility. They do not seek power. Their goal is to take care of everyone. Children in adult bodies refuse responsibility for others. Their goal is to gather wealth and power.
Almost all of our post-Fall cultures have been psychotic. We never did leave the Garden. We just started to act like gardeners, believing we owned the place, pretending to improve it, and instead began to destroy it.
We are still destroying God’s ability to save us. Most likely we won’t survive. Have a nice day.
If ever there was a local issue calling for a vote of the people, I believe it is the idea of using Morrison Park for housing.
Did the city learn nothing during the sadly failed attempt at permitting Barrett Park?
Clearly, it’s not easy to add parks. Let’s not give any away that we already have in place.