As we head into next week’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the IPCC report on climate change is still ringing in our ears: “climate change is a code red for humanity.” We’re running out of time. Climate change isn’t just something in the future–it’s here, and now. That’s why we’re hosting Climate Stories, a storytelling contest asking OLCV members how they’ve experienced climate change in their own lives. Submit your story by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
When I think of climate change, I think of trees snapping in the night, thudding to the ground during the ice storm. I think of Mt. Hood looming hazily above the blue hills, growing barer and barer each summer since childhood, now snowless, the color of steel. I think of salmon floating on their sides, cooked by warm, dying water. And I think of the fires–fires at the edge of the city, fires in the Cascades, in the Gorge, in the Coast Range. All of my beloved hiking spots. Communities. Homes. Lives. Our entire state, on fire. Red, unbreathable skies, thick with smoke.
I’ve seen a lot of change over my lifetime. When I was a kid growing up in the Portland area, the rivers didn’t run quite so low, and there was never any wildfire smoke keeping me inside. I’m in my late twenties now. Not so young, anymore, but not old enough for things to have changed this much. This is the climate crisis at work. Oregon is in many ways unrecognizable. I grew up here, and yet I live in a different place now than I did when I was seven, or twelve, or sixteen. And the next generation–gen Z, the youth–they’re inheriting an Oregon that will be even more different, even more drought-ridden, and burnt, and snowless. Unless we take action in time.
With COP26 coming up, we need to do all we can to convince our elected officials to take quick, bold action. Our Climate Stories can help show them just how much climate change is already affecting our lives.
So write down your wildfire story, or how your favorite forest has withered over the years. Tell me about the time you saw the remnants of a disappearing glacier, or how the unbearable heat impacted your health this summer. Write about the way Oregon has changed since you, too, were a kid, or how your friend lost their home in the wildfires, or how you miss Eagle Creek, and Opal Creek, and all the hiking spots lost to fires. Send your stories to email@example.com, with the subject Climate Stories. They can be anywhere from a few sentences to a few paragraphs–it’s up to you.
We’ll announce the top three stories at the beginning of next month, as well as the prize for the first place winner. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing your stories on social media, so check out our Facebook and Instagram pages! I’m looking forward to reading your stories, and I hope that, together, we can inspire our elected officials to continue taking action.
Communications Coordinator, OLCV