Grateful & Hopeful
As we transition from the season of thanks-giving to the season of hope, I find myself reflecting on all of the things that I have to give thanks for, and the reasons I have to be hopeful. This year has pushed us to our limits in so many ways, and by doing so, it has also shown us where those limits are.
We have faced numerous fires, both literal and figurative – flames scorched over 45 million acres in Australia and over one million acres right here in Oregon; worldwide, there have been earthquakes, floods, murder hornets, and plane crashes – not to mention our current global pandemic; our nation has been ablaze with sexual misconduct, political turmoil, and racial injustice… the list goes on. The lives of so many – plants, humans, and non-human animals – have been lost, homes and habitats have been destroyed, and yet, I am grateful, and I am hopeful.
I am grateful because amidst all the chaos – and because of it – people are finding creative solutions to long-standing problems; people realize how connected we are and how resilient we can be; people have gotten angry and gotten organized. There has indeed been one disaster after another this year. Many of such severity that I do not doubt that the word “unprecedented” has been used an unprecedented number of times.
Finding our limits helps us understand what we stand for and what we won’t stand for. The problems we have encountered this year have reached every facet of our society and every part of our world; education, environment, health, financial stability, life itself – all have been threatened this year. When there are numerous and diverse problems, there are also numerous and diverse opportunities to get involved, ways to take action, ways to make positive change. This year, at different points, and for different reasons, each of us has felt overwhelmed and upset. I urge you to pay attention to what you’re angry about and why. Then, use that passion and energy for good. Never before have we had such an opportunity to get involved, and get connected – the ways we do so might not look the same as they have in the past but everyone can play a role in the new world we can create, and now is the time to do it.
Book Club: We will meet on Saturday, December 19th via Zoom to discuss books about racial prejudice and privilege.
Material Lending: As part of our Home Explorer Program, we will be lending materials such as water quality monitoring test kits and microscopes in the coming months!
MLK Jr. Service Day River Clean-Up: Save the date (Monday, January 18th) and stay tuned for more details.
Radio Show: We’ll soon host a new radio program, called “Living Downstream” on KQUA! In the show, we’ll share information from local experts on environmental topics such as water quality, wildlife rehabilitation and waste disposal. There are a couple of ways to get involved – you can listen and learn; or, you can be interviewed for the show and share your knowledge with others.
Scenes of the Umpqua: Do you have a photograph that captures the grandeur of the Umpqua watershed? We are putting together a photo compilation of plants, wildlife, and landscapes in our region.