City & Government, Cottage Grove

Make your voice heard at Town Hall

Oblique view of Grinnell Glacier taken from the summit of Mount Gould, Glacier National Park. The relative sensitivity of glaciers to climate change is illustrated by the dramatic recession of Grinnell Glacier while surrounding vegetation patterns remain stable. Source: T.J. Hileman, courtesy of Glacier National Park Archives

COTTAGE GROVE – Finally, I am getting to enjoy some proper Oregon weather. Although I am not native, I have been here long enough that if the winter weather is too dry and warm, I get nervous.
People are often blissful to get the mild end of the stick: warm, sunny and dry, and they are out enjoying it. Can’t really blame them. It takes a little extra juice if you have to be out in the rain working; mud sticks to your boots, your tools and soaks into your soul.
It struck me as odd when it was unseasonably warm this December. When we did get a little of the wet stuff it was hardly worth writing home about. Finally, there were a couple of pretty decent showers – or so I thought; my opinion changed once I did yard work and discovered it was dry as a bone just a few inches down.
My leaf piles – which I use as mulch – were in the same condition. There was a light coating of dampness covering a sea of dryness below.
At last we are getting the good stuff – real rain and some snow, too. I am not wishing for a repeat of Snowmageddon 2019, but whatever precipitation that comes down during the rainy season replenishes the groundwater for wells, soaks the forests and fills our reservoirs; it gets us through the dry months.
Our climate is changing. More than seven billion humans on the Earth are all consuming, exuding and using the fossilized carbon from living things that accumulated through hundreds of millions of years.
I can’t help but wonder what it is going to be like in 10 or 20 years as arid vegetation that has thrived here for so long is replaced by trees and plants that can deal with drier roots.
During the Global Climate Strike in September, while holding a banner that said ”Science not Politics,” I had discussions with people who say they don’t believe in science.
Well, I got news for them: science doesn’t believe in science.
Science is a process of continual refinement. It has had some imperfect ideas along the way – phlogiston theory and the Ptolemaic system of the universe are a couple of examples. But bad ideas don’t last in science because rigorous testing and verification is part of the scientific process. Scientists who cheat and fudge data are inevitably found out as their results are put to the test.
My dad will be 94 years old in April. Besides his time in the Navy in World War II and a couple of years working in Chicago, he has lived his entire life within 50 miles of where he was born.
That is rare in our mobile society.
He certainly has noticed the change. He told me the story of how it got so cold in north Florida that the pipes burst under the house and the sink froze off the wall. These days, you are lucky if you get a mild frost in the same latitude.
He also remembers the ground ”spewing up” from water in the soil as it froze and pushed up the dirt. It has been a while since that’s happened in my old neck of the woods.
I am a firm believer in being prepared, not scared. But how do you prepare for a changing climate? Things are moving fast. Heat records break every year. As the spectacle of the Australian fires rivet our attention, it makes you wonder: can it happen here?
There is a chance for you to put in your two cents at the Cottage Grove Climate Action Town Hall on March 14 at the Cottage Grove Armory.
There will be breakout sessions where citizens will be brainstorming on how to make our community more resilient in the face of a changing climate.
I know it may seem like this is rather advanced notice of the Climate Action Town Hall, but with a situation this large you need to put on your thinking cap and put some serious thought into what we can do.
I’ll remind you when we get closer, but for now, as you think on it, write down those ideas so they will make it the Town Hall.
Generations of Grovers will thank you!
Dana can be reached at 541-942-7037 and [email protected].

WHAT: Cottage Grove Climate Action Town Hall
WHERE: Cottage Grove Armory, 628 Washington Avenue
WHEN: Saturday, March 14 … 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Visit Cottage Grove Climate Action on Facebook.



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