William Ripple, Christopher Wolf,  Thomas Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William Moomaw.
BioScience, Volume 70, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 8–12,

Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.

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11,258 scientist signatories from 153 countries (list in supplemental file S1)

Submission to the Washington Post in response to the insane editorial by Julie Parrish of Timber Unity: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/12/bad-forest-policies-political-indifference-kindled-oregons-wildfires/

Author Alan Journet, Co-Facilitator, So8uthern Oregon Climate Action Now Submitted September 16th 2020

As a rural Oregonian with some understanding of forest issues in Oregon, I take exception to the Julie Parrish commentary: ‘Bad forest policies and political indifference kindled Oregon’s wildfires.’ This commentary pretending to address wildfires was merely a Timber Unity Board member’s partisan diatribe.

Astroturf organizations appear to represent the grassroots but are bankrolled and driven by special interests using the organization as a front to promote their views.   Masquerading as a grassroots organization that purports to represent rural Americans, but actually represents timber and fossil fuel industries and Republican politicians, Timber Unity is a perfect example.  Small wonder that the column was written by a retired Republican Legislator and Board member apparently lacking expertise in forest issues.   Lacking reference to reputable forest science concerning western wildfires, the column just offered a litany of standard political opinion amid nonsense about Oregon forests.

The column’s descent into criticism of the Democratic led Oregon legislature and Governor, and Portland residents was pure partisan propaganda.

Anyone paying attention to forest science will know that a major contributor to the western current conflagration is global warming and its climate change consequences.  Yet Parrish dismissed climate change with a vague reference to ‘weather’ offering unsupportable claims about forest policy being driven by Portlanders promoting overgrown forests for ecotourism.  No doubt Parrish thinks Portlanders also cause forest fires in Washington and California.   What we need is an informed discussion about western wildfires.  Parrish failed to offer this, so I’ll give it a try.

The first reality is that western forests have developed in an unusual winter wet / summer dry Mediterranean climate that occurs globally in few places.  Mediterranean climate soils and vegetation dry out annually each summer and fall resulting inevitably in frequent fires.  Vegetation is fire prone, fire adapted, and fire dependent!  While we will inevitably live with fire, we must learn to understand an manage it to protect human health.

The second reality Parrish ignores concerns historic events potentially stimulating dense forests.  In the early 1900s acreages burned in our western forests were vastly greater than today.  Two explanations for the subsequent forest trend are available. One involves the successful campaign of fire suppression initiated in the early 20th Century.  This resulted in invasions into dry forests of the region by fire intolerant species such as Douglas fir greatly increasing forest density and fire risk.  A second explanation involves climate. The warm dry phase evident during the early decades of the 20th century was replaced by a cooler moister phase lasting from the 1940s through 1970s – naturally reducing fire risk. In the 1970s, the climate returned to the earlier warm, dry phase.  At the same time, the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases was increasing. Global warming dominated climate from then onwards, superseding ongoing natural climatic fluctuations.  Again, the summer drying of soils and vegetation increased restoring the previous fire regime.  From the 1970s onwards, as evident from Oregon Department of Forestry data, the acreage of forest annually burning increased again.

When Parrish and Timber Unity ignore fire suppression and climate trends as influencing the fire problems confronting western states, they ignore scientifically demonstrated evidence. Until we acknowledge that our forests need managed fire, and that the causes for the increasing fire risk of the last few decades are not partisan disagreements, we will fail to solve the problem.

What Timber Unity proponents need to understand is what many rural Oregonians already appreciate: global warming is definitely happening, and the coming climate crisis will threaten the viability of many ecologically and commercially important forest species. Concocting unsubstantiated causes for wildfires, like insufficient logging, doesn’t help solve the problem.

When Oregon legislators attempted to pass a bill in 2020 that would have put the state on a path towards reducing state-wide greenhouse gas emission, Republicans, Timber Unity, and the special interests that fund them conspired to block the effort.  Abetted by Timber Unity, Republicans then walked out of both chambers of the legislature. They thwarted both climate action and discussion of over 100 proposals before the state legislature. These included some bi-partisan proposals addressing forest management.  After Republicans deserted the legislature, the message was clear: only Governor Brown and the remaining Democratic representatives are serious about promoting sane forest management in Oregon.

The racist overtones contained in the gratuitous assault by Julie Parrish on Black Lives Matter, offered on behalf of Timber Unity, may satisfy some elements in that organization, but they are an embarrassment to Oregonians and should be to the Washington Post.

Cathy Tuttle, The Urbanist, September 15 2020

I woke up coughing this weekend–no, not from Covid-19–from wildfire smoke that’s settled on Seattle like a clammy yellow shroud.

Last Friday was a better day because all five members of the Seattle City Council Governance and Education Committee–Councilmembers González, Mosqueda, Juarez, Lewis, and Sawant–unanimously passed Councilmember Pedersen’s Resolution 31933, the Carbon Note, and sent it on to a full Council vote on September 21st. Councilmembers González and Mosqueda were instrumental in working to edit the resolution to be more actionable by Council Central staff, and aligned the resolution with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. The Mayor’s Office also testified in favor.

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Jon Krosnick and Bo MacInnis  August 24 2020, Resources for the Future

A discussion of U.S. attitudes to the climate crisis – downloadable

This is a story about frustration, about watching the West burn when you fully understand why it’s burning — and understand why it did not need to be this bad.

Elizabeth Weil, August 28th, ProPublica

What a week. Rough for all Californians. Exhausting for the firefighters on the front lines. Heart-shattering for those who lost homes and loved ones. But a special “Truman Show” kind of hell for the cadre of men and women who’ve not just watched California burn, fire ax in hand, for the past two or three or five decades, but who’ve also fully understood the fire policy that created the landscape that is now up in flames.

“What’s it like?” Tim Ingalsbee repeated back to me, wearily, when I asked him what it was like to watch California this past week. In 1980, Ingalsbee started working as a wildland firefighter. In 1995, he earned a doctorate in environmental sociology. And in 2005, frustrated by the huge gap between what he was learning about fire management and seeing on the fire line, he started Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology. Since then FUSEE has been lobbying Congress, and trying to educate anybody who will listen, about the misguided fire policy that is leading to the megafires we are seeing today.

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Guest Opinion by Louise Shawkat in Sunday Medford Mail Tribune / Ashland Daily Tidings, August 30th 2020

This year, Earth’s Overshoot Day was Aug. 22. That is the date when humanity has consumed its budget of natural resources and its budget of waste production for the year.

The planet has its own ecological budget, broken down by country. Once a country uses up its biocapacity and ecological reserve, it falls into ecological deficit. This is somewhat like our household budget; the difference, however, is that there is nowhere from which we can borrow to counter the deficit.

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Simple changes in management could double carbon stores in Pacific Northwest forests.

Margaret Morales, Sightline, August 5th 2020

The temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest are the Olympic athletes of the carbon world. They can store more carbon, acre for acre, than nearly any ecosystem on earth. A single acre of old growth in the Oregon or Washington Cascades holds the equivalent of a year’s worth of emissions from 250 cars.

But most standard, plantation-style commercial forests in the region perform like once-premier athletes sidelined by injury: they hold less than a third the carbon of old-growth stands. In the face of mounting pressure to reduce emissions, this shortfall offers an opportunity.

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Notes on Saturday August 8th ‘Cherish the Chetco’ by Coastal SOCAN leader Ed Patterson
This is just a quick summary of our Cherish the Chetco activities.  We set up our canopy yesterday outside the Riverside Market because the Loeb park where we were last time was closed.  Even with the canopy it was very hot.  We posted our banner and had lots of information about SOCAN plus lots of water and snacks.  The event lasted from 9 to 4. We were next to the organizers, South Coast Watershed Council and Solve who ended up sharing our canopy which made our event much more enjoyable.  We were the only two this year.  Actually I didn’t expect the attendance we got because of Covid. There were several from our Coastal SOCAN list.
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I thought the participation was good, considering Covid, with over 25 participants and many who checked out kayaks from the market.  Kayak rental was free.  People went to the beaches that were opened  or floated down the Chetco collecting trash.  I thought the collection was large considering the fact that the turnout was much smaller than last year.
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We had some very good discussions with many people and had two sign up for our emails.  Two people came to our table and told us they were campaigning for Kat Stone.  I told them that I had heard her interviewed and would love to have the opportunity to talk to her and I gave them our card.
We also had a gentleman who talked about  the book “Who Killed the Electric Car”.  He explained that he was looking at everything from an energy standpoint.  I didn’t grasp his approach so am looking forward to reading the book

Augusta Wilson, State of the Planet Earth Institute/Columbia University, July 30, 2020

The phrase “every disaster movie begins with a scientist being ignored” resonates more than ever as two disasters unfold: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. One is occurring with horrifying rapidity and one more slowly; both would be far less damaging if scientific advice were heeded earlier.

In the United States, the Trump administration has responded to the COVID-19 crisis using tactics it honed in the climate arena: ignoring or burying relevant scientific information, pushing misinformation, and silencing scientists who warn us of the dangers. This pervasive “see no evil, hear no evil” approach has handicapped the U.S.’s ability to respond to both of these unfolding crises.

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Nancy Hamilton, Bob Keefe and Anne Kelly, Oregon Business, August 3rd 2020

In time of COVID-19, we must create a more resilient economy – Gov. Brown’s bold climate plan will help us build back better.

The twin public health and economic crises wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic are unlike anything we have seen in modern history. With new cases rising, they are not going away any time soon, and come as an even bigger crisis bears down upon us: the climate crisis.

As we navigate the tenuous waters of economic recovery, it is critical that Oregon keeps an eye to building back better through investments in programs that create lasting jobs and a stronger, more sustainable economy. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Kate Brown and her Executive Order No. 20-04, Oregon is already moving in the right direction.

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