Ducks, Carbon, the Battle of Clover Creek

At 2:00 PM Pacific time on New Year’s Day, 2015, the Ducks of Oregon, will meet the Seminoles of Florida State at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl and on the flat screen at Green Springs Inn.

This game will be one for the ages. The forces of rectitude, led by the upstanding Marcus Mariota (unblemished except for a speeding ticket) will meet the notably blemished Jameis Winston and the avatars of athletic corruption. From a political viewpoint, it will be the state that invented the bottle bill and public beaches against the state that stole the White House for a Texan.

In terms of of symbolism, there’s a lot on the line here. Thrill or agony, count us in.

But what does the New Year hold for the real world, the realm of forests, lakes and rivers, amber waves of grain, tar sands and frackable shale formations?

Most sentient beings (this does not include Republican Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, incoming chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee) agree that our planet is getting warmer, that the climate change curve is getting steeper, and that the future of complex human organization, aka civilization, is uncertain. The question is, “What can an Oregonian do?” We may be less blemished than Floridians, but we are few and we are far from the seats of power.

The choices are not hard to understand. As a species, we will invest our collective wealth in either (a) extracting, transporting and burning more carbon or (b) rebuilding our global energy economy on a carbon-neutral basis. More carbon means faster climate change; less carbon means we may have time to adapt. Either way, the cost is in the trillions and we have only so many trillions.

The bad news is that the financial votes have been counted and the winner is more carbon. The trillions are going into fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline and big Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) pipelines.

But maybe we are not helpless. What if one of those LNG projects turned up right in our back yard, say on Clover Creek Road? (Clover Creek runs from Keno to Dead Indian Highway, through the greater Green Springs.) Would any of us go camp on that right-of-way? Would we march to Salem? Would we tell our US Senators, neither of whom is Jim Inhofe, to just say “no” to politics as usual?

Pipeline Summer, anyone?

Meanwhile, use the gift offer on this page to spend some time on the Green Springs this winter, or treat someone who might appreciate the experience. We think you will agree: it’s still a beautiful planet.