Once again I give my heartfelt thanks to our Methow Valley Aero Methow Rescue Service team. I could not have had better care. Ian, Laura and Shane, thank you!
I also had the very best of care at Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak. It is comforting to someone in need to feel confident in a situation where you are depending on others, and I certainly found it with emergency room Dr. Ronald McCluskey and Nurse Lacey. My heartful thank you.
Kudos for Conservancy
My book club recently read and discussed “Billionaire Wilderness” by Justin Farrell, a book which addresses the wealth disparity in the Jackson Hole area and how the new monied arrivals are changing the valley by driving up land prices and forcing out the middle class.
Those new arrivals are also donating huge sums to the local conservancy to preserve open spaces which in turn limits the amount of private land for building. The parallels to the Methow Valley were obvious and resulted in a lively discussion about how our valley is developing. Farrell’s (otherwise flawed) book somewhat diminished my prior rosy view of conservancies, but I nevertheless continue to support the goals of those organizations.
What gives me comfort for our valley is the clear impression I have that the Methow Conservancy is a well-run and thoughtful player in our valley economy and environment.
It collaborates with other valley nonprofits to ensure that our way of life is protected for all, not just the wealthy.
Issues of growth are difficult and offer no easy solutions. As we grapple with in the influx of the wealthy fleeing Seattle, the Methow Conservancy will continue, I believe, to play an important role in that development. While reasonable minds can differ on how to manage growth and open lands, we are lucky to have such a high-quality and forward-thinking organization involved in this important work.
Help the ecosystems
I know my friend, Solveig Torvik, will not mind me disagreeing with her column tacitly endorsing Bill Gates’ new book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” Here is the major shortcoming of Gates’ prescription: eliminating greenhouse gas emissions (his aim) is necessary but far from sufficient to avert climate collapse.
Photosynthesis is the solar-powered process by which plants, algae and cyanobacteria absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, break it apart, and use the carbon to build biomass (also known as organic matter). The oxygen we breathe is another convenient product of photosynthesis. This process is eventually reversed – either by decomposition or burning of the biomass. The carbon is converted back into CO2, releasing energy, and returning to the atmosphere. Cycling of carbon between atmosphere and biomass is central to climate stability.
Photosynthesis by land-based ecosystems absorbs more than 13 times the human-caused carbon emissions, storing half of that in biomass. The important thing to understand is that there is no other mechanism for removing meaningful amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. If we are to survive, we must protect our ecosystems from destruction. Nowhere is that recognized in Gates’ book. This is pretty typical of the technologically oriented, and it displays a woeful obliviousness to our reliance on natural systems. Really, really, smart, insanely rich guys can be wrong, just like the rest of us.
Globally, many ecosystems are under extreme stress. Ecosystem collapse is happening right here. Our forests are being destroyed by wildfires far more extreme than those they evolved with. Lower-elevation forests are not growing back. The loss of every acre of forest reduces the capacity of the landscape to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
Please, do everything in your power to promote rapid, large scale forest health treatments. Forests are essential, non-renewable resources for preventing climate catastrophe in the coming decades. Ecosystems will need a lot of help to survive the changing climate, and the time available to provide that help is short. Also, if you happen to know Bill, put in a word for ecosystem protection. Maybe he will write another book.