From John on the Trail, Day 1

September 4th, 2015: Day 1 on the Hike

John_hiker.jpg

I'm writing this snug in my tent on my first night with the hike, not
ready to sleep; my mind thinking about floating down the Rogue RiverĀ tomorrow
to Shady Cove. Over dinner heard from the other hikers about how much
beauty they've seen so far on the hike, about some of the people they've met, like the high school
students working on local restoration efforts in Butte Falls, and the many landowners who have been fighting this pipeline for ten years now. On the drive down here from Eugene, I knew we were getting close to the hike when we started seeing NO LNG signs out in front of people's houses.

Pictured: John Abbe, preparing for the hike. Eugene, OR

Last week I went to a town hall with my congressional Representative
Peter DeFazio's, along with dozens of people of other concerned
citizens. I was not surprised, but I was still disappointed. I am
looking for leadership that will persistently, loudly, stand up and call
for the needed society-wide mobilization to reduce CO2 concentration in
our atmosphere back to 280-350ppm. He said he would have to have a new
Congress before he would step up in this way.

DeFazio has also given up on stopping the proposed Pacific Connector
Pipeline and Coos Bay export terminal in southern Oregon. He said that
all he could do was to try to mitigate some of the worst impact near
Coos Bay by trying to get a minor re-routing of the pipeline. I think he
sorely underestimates the people's power. We are going to stop this
pipeline, and we are going to turn the corner toward right relationship
with the natural world (and each other, and ourselves) faster than most
people imagine. He can either help lead in these efforts or he can be a
footnote, albeit a footnote who at least tried, inside the box of what
seemed possible. This is a time that calls for the seemingly impossible.

People I talk with about climate often want to know what they can do,
and there are so many ways you can help! You can join a hike or write
letters to the editor, you can join groups who are making a difference
such as Rising Tide, or 350, or Citizens Climate Lobby, or Interfaith
Power & Light. You can simplify your life. You can start a neighborhood
energy cooperative. You can spread the word about new research (the good
& the bad), and hopeful projects. You can go to a rally, or work on the
fundamental fixes needed in our legal, political, and economic systems.
You can make art that changes the story. Pick something that seems
likely to you to make a difference, and something that will bring you in
frequent contact with others who care and are doing something about it.
Celebrate your successes, and learn from all of our mistakes. Try
something different. Take care of yourself and each other, and Just.
Don't. Stop.

I'm not stopping on this hike until I get to the Pacific Ocean. Hope I
get to see you or hear from you along the way!

John Abbe,Ā johnca@ourpla.net

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