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Raising Up Voices

by | Jan 25, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

I have been toying with the idea of “common ground.” For about a year, I have been pondering what to do with this idea. Common ground in what issue? How would I seek it out, recognize it when I see it, and create something visual from it?

After the attack on the Capitol Building I had a shift. I do not want to raise up all the voices in the room. There are voices that are shouting into microphones, but I do no good by amplifying those voices. Whose voice is not being heard? Who has solutions but isn’t being listened to, or allowed to act?

©Kristen O’Neill, Coastal Mountains Near Scott Creek, Acrylic on Canvas, 12″ x 36″ – Notice the burned hill in the fog on the right – this was where a forest fire had run nearly to sea. This same spot burned again in 2020.

I plan to look at land use and forest fires issues. We have demonized the forest fire. I grew up with Smokey Bear telling me my job was to prevent forest fires. Now, after decades of improper management, we have large, overwhelming fires that choke us out for months, cause mass evacuations, burn up homes and whole towns, and sometimes end lives. 

How can we do better? Who is speaking in this field, and what are they saying? 

How can we shift from the mentality of “fire destroyed 500 acres” to “fire swept through 500 acres”? 

I seek understanding. I am okay with being wrong, changing my mind, and challenging my mindsets. I am reaching out to select individuals and groups, hoping to gain more wisdom, and hoping to hear a voice that I want to raise up to the megaphone, and promote.

I recently watched the webcast Renewal in Our Burned Forests: What Does the Future Hold? presented by Oregon Wild. Lots of amazing images and ideas were shared. You can see it for youself here: https://oregonwild.org/about/blog/webcast-renewal-our-burned-forests.

One fact that stood out to me right away was that burned forests have released about 10% of their carbon, and “salvage logged” forests about 40%. And forests that are not logged come back quicker. Fire is a natural part of life in a forest. Trees, plants, and wildlife all need this to occur. If fires come through every 100-200 years, and old growth forests are 800+ years old, we can see that fire is not the evil destroyer that it has been made out to be.