Reflections from the Community: Hiking the Klamath Basin

August 22nd-30th, 2015

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Hikers and activists enjoying Spencers Creek, OR. 

 Albert Einstein, once said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking used when we created them."

Then decades later Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "There comes a time when silence is betrayal."

 I think these two quotes are worth remembering at a time when our country and the world is facing the challenges brought about by climate change/global warming. We have to bring new thinking to this challenge and, at the same time, we cannot remain silent without betraying the future for generations to come. This task at times seems overwhelming; but we've gone beyond the point at which we can stay on the sidelines as spectators. 

My participation choice was to, first, educate myself (I recommend reading Naomi Klein's book "This Changes Everything") and then join an action called "Hike the Pipe". This is a hike along the 232 mile route of a proposed 36" natural gas pipeline from Malin, southeast of Klamath Falls, to Coos Bay in order to export the gas to Asia If Albert's up there watching us, I'm sure he would say this pipeline idea comes from the same thinking that has created the problem of climate change.

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Community members hiking the PCT in solidarity with Hike the Pipe! Aug, 30. 

On August 22nd I was in Malin with a group of people at the site where the Ruby Pipeline turns left and heads to California. This is where the Pacific Connector Pipeline will begin. The next day I began the hike through the Lower Klamath Basin (farmland). Before 90 degree heat, a bad knee and a very active mosquito population convinced me I'd be better off as part of the support staff on the hike walking "backpackless" at times, I learned the Basin has many friendly people even though all may not think the pipeline is a bad idea. Because farming is, by necessity, a limited employer, I appreciate their perspective on the value of the local jobs that may be generated by the pipeline construction. In my conversations words like "tree huggers", "environmentalists" made me realize solving the problem of climate change will require all of us to respect each others viewpoints.

Thirteen years ago I was biking across country learning first hand how friendly and giving Americans can be. I'm sure the Hike the Pipe will reconfirm that observation. I encourage anyone who can to come to events in Shady Cove (Sept. 5th, 12th ), Winston (Sept. 15th) and Coos Bay (Sept. 26th) and join the hikers. In a sense, the hike is a moving conversation about finding solutions to a situation that challenges all of us.

For the sake of future generations, our children and grandchildren, let's not be silent.           

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