As part of Bark’s 2016 Summer Base Camp, 350PDX was invited to help organize a focus on climate change and the effects of deforestation from Sept 2 – 4th. During the weekend, over 80 people participated from different organizations and places to make it successful. The primary goal of Base Camp, which consisted of two 2 week camps was to bring people together to gather on-the-ground information about the area threatened by the Forest Service’s Hunter Timber Sale project. The camping included a variety of free workshops and activities each evening at camp, from live improv theatre to climate action training! This camp out was a significant way of encouraging more people to get involved to advocate for the protection this amazing forest.
On Sept 3rd, there were three presentations from 350PDX, BARK and Center for Sustainable Economy during the hiking in different parts of Mt. Hood National Forest. The presentations were very informative and the discussion took part on forest service system, forest type, species of trees as well as its contribution to store carbon from the atmosphere. They also discussed forest canopy and provided some potential data on carbon storage. The presentations were supportive in favor of old growth forest as it creates healthy soil with lots of organism and also stores more carbon. They shared the forest service history regarding cutting and replanting that was taken earlier and which did not succeed. They also informed that the forest service is going to again log off the pine trees that are currently there and plant hemlock and doug-fir trees. The same plan is even less likely to succeed because the area is in worse health than before. They also informed about the soil quality and value of variety regarding the forest types which contain good nutrition. The difference between the old growth area and the clear cut area was stark. In the old growth area the ground and air was moist and there were carpets of green moss and healthy plants. In the clearcut area, it was dry and stunted.
While hiking, everybody was demanding for protecting the remaining old forest as they are fire resistance and can store carbon from the atmosphere comparatively much higher than younger forest.
The camping provided opportunity to everyone to share their views on deforestation, environment and climate change impact issues. There was also two international participants from Bangladesh and Haiti who are currently working with 350PDX and shared their experience from their countries regarding the scenario of climate change impacts which already hit their agriculture, land, forest, social life and livelihood.
The organization “Plant for Planet” also took part in the camping and dedicated a day with all. The young ambassadors of the organization also presented a powerpoint presentation on global warming issues which include water, population, migration, geographical area etc.
Though the campsite was primitive, it provided all necessary materials to set the camp and made everyone comfortable with its natural beauty.
At the end of the camping day it was observed that the participants were very concerned and action oriented to protect the environment from the global warming reality, as this is the matter of sustainability of our planet and the future of our next generation.
Written by Mukta Akter, International Fellow at 350PDX from Bangladesh, and supported through the IREX and Community Solutions Partnership programs.