Friday, April 18, 2008

Faith, Love, and Salmon















It was the kind of day that held promise.  The temperature moved past 70 for the first time in six months, and robins were hanging out in groups of three plucking out morsels from the soft earth. 
Renewal was palpable.  Hope was suddenly more than a sound byte.  I found myself being kinder than usual; less cynical, more enchanted with my motivation.
When the media got finished with it's latest spin about "bitter, gun loving, disillusioned" Americans I could still cope.  It doesn't take a genius to see through half the crap that passes for news these days.  I'm particularly fond of how the story shifts from the real news to those who cover the news.  By the time the local Oregon news was presenting the defense of the couple whose religion prevented them from getting adequate medical for their child suffering from pneumonia, the cloud cover changed.  What happens when you put the life of a child in the hands of your faith is that your child can die.  It happened.  What's to defend?  That kid never had a chance, did she?
I had hardly recovered from March Madness to learn that Kevin Love is leaving UCLA after one year to play in the NBA.  May he mature with his millions.  I really had thought that his education was worth more than an NBA contract.  Oh I know how it is.  I know that the money is available now, that he could get injured, that it could all vanish in an instant.  It's difficult for someone who has seen what I've seen, especially during my years at UCLA, to get my head around the idea that kids play only one year.  I never expected more from Jason Kidd, he never wanted a degree; I just thought Love might be different.  But why should I expect more when even amateur sports really aren't anymore.  
OK, more clouds but no rain yet.  
That evening I went to my monthly Trout Unlimited meeting and learned that salmon, as we know them and where we know them will soon be extinct. In the next century, many of the rivers needed to maintain salmon will be warming. In fact, according to the speaker, Jim Martin, the water temperatures necessary to maintain the salmon population won't be cold enough. As the earth warms, snow is less frequent and rivers warm. The young fish will be easy prey for the warm water species of fish that will thrive. Unless we maintain the headwaters, and reconnect the major rivers like the Columbia as a free-flowing river to the ocean, we'll find ourselves without salmon. Yes, there are things we can do now, but we may not.  Yes, they may survive in a few places in the world, but given climate change, global warming, power dams, no political will, lots of government bureaucracy, and uncontrollable population increase... we're fucked.
Here's the thing.  Later on that same evening was uncomfortably warm.  I kept thinking about how to trumpet the urgency I felt.  Then, in a moment of clarity I realized that all these issues are connected.  They really are the same issue because it all comes down to quality of life. How much is worth fighting for. Continuity is important. 

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