Climate

A note from the editor

Zach Khramer

When we started talking about devoting an issue of the magazine to climate change in Oregon, I approached the matter of the title obliquely. My notes are full of words like heat, burn, and extreme. These words are eye-catching, but they’re also indirect.

My colleague Rozzell Medina convinced me I was on the wrong track. Everyone wants to talk around climate change, he said, so we should face it head on. So there it is, the word itself, in big letters on the cover. 

As I write this note, the Bootleg Fire, currently the largest wildfire in North America, is tearing across Klamath and Lake Counties. Hundreds of people have fled their homes. Two weeks ago, a three-day heat wave scorched much of the state. About a mile and a half east of my house in Portland, the air temperature reached 124 degrees Fahrenheit. Across Oregon, more than a hundred people died from hyperthermia. It is easy, in times like these, to despair for the future.

In this issue, you’ll read about many people who are taking action—as individuals, in small groups, and across whole jurisdictions. These stories give me hope. The planet is getting hotter every day, but we can still change course if we face it, together, head on.

Ben Waterhouse, Editor
b.waterhouse@oregonhumanities.org

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Discussion Questions and Further Reading