Image: Steve Duin/The Oregonian
The forecast is for increasingly volatile and unpredictable weather patterns "that are UNPRECEDENTED since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Our experiential framework doesn't encompass these cataclysmic events. We just assume the future will echo the past. The world is changing. Extremely rapidly. All the management rules have been built around the assumption of a stationary climate. For the foreseeable future, for generations to come, change is what we need to manage, not the status quo." In the U.S., by noon Wednesday, more than 666 square miles of the Southern California tinderbox - Los Angeles went 150 consecutive days this year without rain - had been charcoaled. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is at its LOWEST LEVEL IN 20 YEARS. And drought continues to devastate the southeast, particularly in Alabama and Georgia, where the folks at Coca-Cola are increasingly "concerned" about sustaining their bottling operation. Will we do better, before water shortages and the climate crisis swallow us whole? Because the dry subtropic zone is expanding, pushing the jet stream and western Oregon's traditional drizzle zone farther north, the Northwest may experience alternating decades of dampness and drought that wreak havoc on the landscape. And as we reach the limits of available water, available food and available space, the conflicts between the haves and have-nots will turn brutal. The 2002 fish kill in the Klamath River "is just the tip of the iceberg." "We can continue to worship before the altar of the status quo or get off our knees and begin wrestling with this runaway change. We can bridle the beast or be stampeded by it, but we can no longer pretend the horse hasn't left the barn."