Dear Editor: I have enjoyed certain freedoms during my life and the one I have enjoyed most is “location freedom.”
We have been fortunate to have lived in some beautiful places, having spent many years living in a small travel trailer. In fact, we figure we pulled it about a quarter-million miles.
What this has done is given me a personal perspective – a visual reference beyond the news.
I can feel the sadness and suffering of those displaced by the ever-increasing climate-related “inconveniences.” Imagine having an hour’s notice to pack up your belongings and escape a wildfire. We have driven through more than one such event.
A visual that haunts me still is seeing families pull out of their driveways in Yukon, Canada with the back of their truck loaded with possessions, knowing that what remains will be ash by morning.
This happens hundreds of times right here in our nation, as people scramble to figure out where their next meal will come from to feed their families.
Watching the news of Gatlinburg, Tennessee on fire hit my heart, as we worked with many of the small-business owners who lost their shops; and some, even their cabins. This was not just a news story, it was as real-life to me as to those directly affected.
When storms hit the Florida coast and floodwaters rise inside living rooms, I can visualize times spent with family on that very couch that is now ankle deep in yuck.
I have watched houses fall into melting glacier-fed rivers in Alaska because of extremely high temperatures melting the glacier a few miles upstream.
Those same families are now battling unsafe air filled with wildfire smoke. Friends have had to leave their homes and fly to the lower states to find clean air for their children who suffer from asthma.
I have heard personal stories of stranded polar bears in villages where I once walked. Those same villages now are unable to get their subsistence salmon because the salmon are not returning.
As California and the west is burning, I can visualize natural places that will never be as they were. Just two years ago, we were evacuated from two wildfires here. It caused us great hardship that we are still trying to dig out from.
And now, we hear stories of “dead zones” off the coast where nothing lives, including the fish that feed so many fishermen’s families.
Infrastructure is also greatly affected. Driving along U.S. Highway 101 from Brookings to Coos Bay is quite frightening and gives a feeling of being unsafe, as you see where the road has fallen off the cliff towards the ocean.
We have many such stories – too many to ignore. Yet, there are still deniers. Maybe due to fear.
Maybe because it is inconvenient. It certainly is inconvenient to the thousands already displaced in this country and millions around the world.
Please learn all you can before you decide how it will affect your family.