Ashland shows the way on climate change
Most of us are attracted to the written word, the hand-drawn image, and we respond to it. When I first moved to Ashland in 2015, after living in foreign countries for 26 years, the concept of climate change seemed to loom everywhere.
I was very inspired, caught up, by the huge salmon which was displayed over the band shell in Lithia park, where the children from many schools had pieced together their drawings and messages of what they valued in their environment, and created that massive message, “Help us save our environment!”
Suddenly, in Ashland, it became possible to participate in groups that cared about climate change, to read about it in daily newspapers and in newly published books, and to work with a viable process to address our government representatives to do what needs to be done to address climate change. These tools were not available to me where I had lived in other countries: People there complained about the effects of climate change, but no one had grass-roots access to being part of the solution, it seemed. Ashland proved such an opportunity. I joined the Citizens Climate Lobby, which lobbied for a fee on carbon emissions through a bipartisan group, and I learned what I could do: write letters and show up to events and meetings. All of this in response to those messages from kids on that salmon, years ago.
And now, as the Mail Tribune reported on Nov. 24, there is a national assessment of climate change, one to which many of us can respond. It is not a lovely salmon hanging in the sky in Lithia Park, but a document filled with facts that can provide us with fuel to work with others, to write letters, and show up for meetings and events to work for progress toward slowing down climate change.
Also, there is hope in a bill, HR 7173, which focuses on energy innovation and carbon dividend, that is being proposed in Congress. Now is the time to write representatives and government leaders to act on legislation.
The children wrote and still write, it is for us to carry on. There is a spate of organizations that dedicate efforts and direct volunteers to address the needs in our city, state and nation toward solutions for climate change. I am sure that the work you do with your chosen group will show up for your kids and their kids as you participate, and in years to come, to prove that the written word, the grass-roots documents and eventually the laws, make a difference, all in response to the written word.
Thank you, Ashland, for your teachers and children to show us the way.