Environmental writer and activist Jeffrey St. Clair tackled global warming and other environmental issues in Hoover Library last Thursday.
“There’s a lot of rumors going around, but I’ll tell you right to your face, global warming is not a myth,” St. Clair said.
St. Clair, who lives in Oregon, observed the effects of global warming in his city.
While California experienced months of unusually heavy rain and mudslides, Oregon was also experiencing dramatic weather changes.
Oregon experienced 50 days without rain during the winter; there was no snow in January, and in the winter, the mountains that would receive 800 inches of snow a year, only received 40.
“In Oregon, the heat goes on,” St. Clair said. “Seventy-five [degrees], brilliant skies, nice.”
But the weather ought to be gray and in the sixties, St. Clair added.
St. Clair began his speech reading a passage from his book, “Been Brown so Long, It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature.”
“I suggest that you travel to Glacier National Park,” St. Clair said. “In 10 years, you won’t see any glaciers.”
St. Clair noted that in the early 1900s, there were hundreds of glaciers in Glacier National Park; however, global warming is eliminating them daily.
St. Clair spoke about the diminishing salmon population of the Pacific Northwest, calling it an “Ecological Equivalent of a black hole.”
“People often think of the spotted owl when they think of the Pacific Northwest.” St. Clair said. “But it’s the salmon.”
St. Clair shared a story about a Native American tribe whose entire culture was centered on the salmon.
The tribes predicted that there would be half a million fish passing through the river on a particular day, however, the tribe only received 157.
“The Colombia Tribes saw this as another sign for the end times,” St. Clair said. “Once the salmon are gone, the Northwest would have lost the core of their identity.”
St. Clair is concerned about the devastation of the environment.
“The Bush Administration blamed it all on the sea lions, “ St. Clair said. “Not the dams, not the cattle trampling on spawning beds, not overfishing, not the hydro-electrical power companies. No. They blamed it on the sea lion.”
“Sea lions, the Al Qaeda of the ocean,” St. Clair said. “Why is it with the Bush Administration [that] death is the default for any dilemma?”
St. Clair also spoke about a place called “Cancer Alley” located in Louisiana.
In one ten-mile stretch, there are 50 petro-chemical factories that are spewing its chemical atmosphere into the Mississippi River.
He referred to these companies as “Factories of Mass Destruction.”
“These are the realities that the government denies,” said Professor of English Bill Cook.
About 30 people attended the event.
St. Clair is the author of “Been Brown So Long, It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature” and co-editor of Counterpunch.
Alexandra Lozano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.