Archive for April, 2013

In Appreciation

I awoke at 3:00 a.m. feeling trapped, half-breathless and nearly crushed by the weight of anxiety. The day before, in a far different mood, I had come upon rosy bells hanging in a dense veil on a flowering currant that I hadn’t known was on our property, and later, gazed in awe at glittering points spangling the night’s slate sky, with silhouetted black spires of firs and a still-leafless Oregon white oak in the foreground. But at that three o’clock hour of torment, I could conjure no such felicitous visions. Rather, what flashed before my eyes were scenes of despair: bleached and dying coral reefs, ancient forests leveled; fish, salamanders and insects lying dead and stinking beside murky fetid waters; mountain tops blasted off, mined, heavy trucks rumbling where once hikers trod and birds sang. I imagined animals crying out, the last of their species, or wailing ghosts of those already gone.

I wanted to blot it out. Shake it off. Truly wake from this non-sleeping nightmare. But how? What to do? I vote, sign petitions, write letters. Still, I feel helpless. Desperate. How can we fight the fabulously wealthy corporations and individuals who buy legislation that allows them to rape the Earth for their own profit?

A few hours later, still feeling swollen-head groggy, I stumbled to the computer and, breaking through my black fog, there was an answer!

“VICTORY!” the message said. “McKenzie River Protected. We won!”

This was a message from WELC, the Western Environmental Law Center. WELC, representing Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands, had succeeded in stopping the Goose timber sale, 2100 acres of forestland near the community of McKenzie Bridge, thereby protecting domestic water supplies pumped from the McKenzie’s clear waters and preserving sensitive wildlife habitat and a potential wilderness area.

So that is exactly how we can fight the vested interests, and their money and power. We do it with our passion, with our knowledge of what is in the common good, and with the help of dedicated, informed professionals.

This is my open thank-you letter to WELC. (Here I excerpt liberally from their website at WELC combines legal skills with conservation biology and environmental science to address major environmental issues in the West. A public interest law firm, WELC does not charge clients and partners for its services, but rather relies on charitable gifts from individuals, families and foundations. WELC uses the power of law to protect wild places for all of us and for our progeny, giving a voice to all of the West’s creatures.  WELC fights dirty energy and promotes clean energy; protects endangered wildlife such as salmon, Sierra amphibians, pronghorn, gray wolf, lynx, and spotted owl; preserves wilderness and wildlife corridors.

WELC is the reason that I should not despair in those dark hours of the morning. Working closely with communities and relevant stakeholders, they are powerful and effective in Court, giving all of the West–humans, non-humans and the land, air and water that sustains us all–a voice. They are proof positive (to once again borrow  from their website) that a small group of committed individuals can change the world.

Thank you WELC. Thank you for your knowledge, your hard work, your dedication, your passion. Thank you for giving me a reason to be able to sleep more comfortably, perhaps even past 3:00 a.m., and to dream more hopeful dreams. You allow me once again to visualize flowering-currant blossoms and nights of stars with a reason to believe that the birds, bugs and furry creatures, along with my great  grandchildren, may be able to enjoy them as well.



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