To the Editor - The Oregon 101
Dear Editor, Have you ever been to Oregon? Specifically I'm wondering about your experience with a quaint stretch of highway: the 101 that lines the Pacific coast in the great OR. It’s one of my favorite routes in the country; from Newport down to Yachats and on to Florence you’ll find miles of fine summer driving with the great blue lapping ragged cliffs beneath the spin of your wheels. Its one of a number of natural cathedrals our country offers us, yet another vein on the trails through America where we can roll our windows down and let the breeze whisper therapeutic nothings in our ears. And so I suppose it’s with that – and other natural American masterpieces – in mind that I write to you today. At times the 101 comes within a baseball’s toss of the Pacific, at some points even bridging an infolded bay or two. While the Pacific sits out there, protecting its blanket of diamonds in untouchable majesty, kindly posing for as many awed snapshots as we can manage, a select few of us humbly take its temperature and can surmise beyond a doubt that it, and the rest of our ancient planet, has a terrible fever. To be sure I do not mean only that it’s warmer than it should be, but that even something of its magnitude is succumbing to the nature-changing hand of one Homo sapiens. In its life time, that dominating ocean to America’s west has witnessed awesome fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature, bringing and shooing thousands of species to and from the North American continent, even glaciers whose timid exodus from the north stretched for Mason Dixon latitudes. Yet in all that, reaching almost 700,000 years into its youth, the Pacific has never known a planet colder than today by more than 6 degrees (C). From that humble spectrum, it has gleaned a wealth of wisdom; where a hypothetical “1” on that scale can summon glaciers from earth’s waters and lower her oceans, an unprecedented “7” or “8” can banish the memory of glaciers and invite the tides further inland than any species in this geological age has seen. We would be wise to try and accelerate our own accumulation of wisdom so it resembles that of the grey-bearded Pacific. While it is tragic that parts of the Oregon 101 will certainly be swallowed when sea levels rise, the realization that our affluence doesn’t buffer us or our coastal cities from the same rise will likely come with a human cost. So, your editorial highness, what are we waiting for? I don’t mean to be snide or mocking; I am honestly lacking a piece of the puzzle. In order for there to be political and social mobilization to match the scale of our problem we as a race need to experience a drastic maturation. So let’s get started. My concern, my fellow Americans, is that at the doorstep of this global event, the most innovative and politically liberated country in the world is sitting on its hands. Being twenty-two, I’ll mark the first tally in the column which chooses to invest profoundly now in a clean energy system and avoid my generation’s inheritance of an unfixable earth. I earnestly welcome, in fact beg, your responses.