Imagine that in 40 years’ time you are hiking the Eagle Creek trail with your favorite children and teens. It is 85 degrees in early March, and you remember a time when temperatures were much cooler. You think back before greenhouse emissions started to level off, to the fire of 2017. That was the summer of smoke and ash. That’s when Portlanders got a reminder that clean air, never to be taken for granted, can change as quickly as the wind changes direction. The water still falls in cascades in the Gorge, past lichen that grows nowhere else on the planet. Although there are signs of devastation on the trail, you also see abundant green signs of a forest recreating itself.
One of the young people asks you about that year of the fire, the hurricanes, and the floods, when it became so clear that climate disruption was escalating. She says, “People knew about the dangers of fracked gas and methane then, right? Did you know?” She pauses, “What did you do to stop it from coming to Oregon?” Read more