I’m not sure just why this photo and story was posted on Facebook. I thought it was a serious post, and then I looked at the profile of the person who posted it, and if the person is really that young, then they are not old enough to have written the piece which means it was copied and pasted. Was it posted for political reasons? At this point, I really think probably so.
In 1988, I had a four year old. I wasn’t even living on the west coast anymore. But, at that time I had uncles driving truck, and hauling timber in Oregon and an uncle who harvested the timber and then hauled it. He had the trucks and the skidders! So, I understand the idea that the timber fed families, paid there heat bill, etc. etc. etc. I also understand the pride of work, and having family who does the work. I get it. And in 1988, I might have agreed with the idea of “marketing of militant environmental groups…”
Hindsight is 20/20 of course. I can look back and see that all the troubles over the Spotted Owl was not a hoax. That the environmental people though perhaps quite active and verbal actually had a point, and were simply trying to voice some information that we all really needed to HEAR. Even the economic policies that the person who posted the photo were supposed to protect the environment and ensure that there was timber to harvest for the next generation, and so on.
And what I am about to say, I’m sure will be hated by those in the Timber industry. Along with anyone who supports (cough) Mr. (cough) Trump (cough, he doesn’t deserve the respect he was just given….cough).
I did not see that photo in 1988. I saw it in 2019. And all I got was a sinking feeling that I never realized just how much timber was hauled off these mountains and out of the valleys. All this photo did was make me incredibly sad for all of us on this planet.
Climate change is real folks! I have really been seeing the changes in the world in the last few years. Dramatic changes in weather patterns. I noticed that on my own. So, I was already pretty much convinced. But, I’m now a student at OSU, and for my first quarter, one of my classes is: Intro to Climate Change. It is a science class that counts now only as science credits but as the lab credits as well. I can’t believe how much information there is to take in. It’s amazing!
I’m not going to go into the science of it here. There are plenty of websites out there that accurately explain what is going on with our climate. I’ll put some links in at the end for you even. But, suffice it to say that not only am I convinced, but my doubting Thomas husband is also convinced. He no longer see’s this as a ‘political hoax’. I will tell you what. I was shocked that he changed his mind so quickly. I took only a couple of well made documentaries showing some of the science. Wow.
So, why did the photo make me sad. I was sad that many trees were cut down. And in 1988 there was probably no law that required that the area be replanted (pretty much immediately) as there is today. I am sorry for the loss of all that potential carbon storage. Really, that is what trees do very efficiently — is store carbon. Believe it or not carbon is not the worst greenhouse gas in and of itself. Methane is the worst. But, Methane has a relatively short life in the atmosphere, carbon can live in the air for hundreds of years. That is the fact that makes carbon so bad for the atmosphere.
Scientists are using proxy dating (no…not that kind of dating) — using ice cores, tree rings, coral rings, pollen, and other really cool things to see the atmosphere was over thousands and more years. Humans have basically doubled the amount of carbon in the atmosphere mostly in less than 50 years. It all started of course, over 100 years ago, and that is when climate change was first detected and announced by scientists.
The models produced by scientists project climate change at (usually) 3 different paths, with the variables usually listed at 1. All carbon emissions stopped 2. Carbon emissions at today level (about 440 ppm) and 3.) a higher level. No matter which model you choose the future does not look bright for our children and grandchildren.
But, we are not at the tipping point yet. We are close. We need to be mindful about what we are doing to our environment. It really is the only one we’ve got. When you borrow something in general you return it in better shape than when you got it. That is how we should be aiming to do for our children. We should be doing it for ourselves as well. Everyone’s health and welfare depend on us realizing what is going on, and doing something about it.
My sadness at seeing the photo, is another level of realization that climate change is on the way. Well, actually, it’s here. That mankind has been very unkind to the planet and cutting down tons of trees is really just the beginning of the whole mess. What people don’t realize is that even if we stop carbon emissions right now our great grandchildren would still be living with the consequences of too much carbon in the atmosphere. That is why I am sad. Suddenly the economic consequences come to my mind, the human consequences, consequence for the critters in the world — severe weather, droughts, possible stopping of the great currents in the oceans that help to cycle the warmth and coolness around the world like a conveyor belt. All the possibilities are mind boggling, and saddening.