" The Water Came All At Once "
Rev. Peter E. Bauer
I have been watching with concern the reports of the flooding that has beset the Pacific Northwest this week. I saw pictures of flooded streets in Portland, Or : Southwest 10th and Hoyt, Northwest 21st and Lovejoy, even worse flooding for Southeast Portland, Johnson Creek, Oak Grove and huge problems down on the Oregon Coast. Towns like Tillamook, Wheeler, Clatskanie hit hard, receiving a lot of road damage. A 60- year old Portland woman died when a fir tree uprooted by the water smashed into her home. It's an unnerving feeling when you see pictures of US 30 and I-5, roads which you have driven, be forced to close due to landslides.
I know that turbulent weather is not just limited to the Pacific Northwest. We certainly get our fair share of abrupt weather changes here in Texas. But it is one thing to receive 14.54 inches of rain in South Texas, it's quite another challenge to receive the same amount of rain at Bonneville Dam. Yes, the additional water amount will certainly help generate a lot more hydroelectric power, but there is concern what the additional water level will do to the Columbia River gorge, let alone to the salmon run.
I have seen the fall out of water coming all at once in other places like Biloxi and Gulfport, MS in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I used to teach graduate school for the University of Southern Mississippi. The building where my classes met was an old hospital that was damaged by the hurricane which was refitted to provide classrooms. Only a few blocks away was the Gulfport bay where several buildings, including an entire church were swept off their foundation, in the storm.
Growing up in Portland, I always liked the rain. It felt soothing and calm. The rain always pretty much fell gradually. I always carried my umbrella. Somewhere along the line the weather patterns changed and now the Northwest experiences a lot more severe storms than it used to when I was a kid.
I'm praying for a solid agreement to be reached at the Climate Conference that is currently meeting in Paris.
Majuro is a large coral atoll of 64 islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is the legislative district for the Marshall Islands, an area known for World War II wrecks and extraordinary deep sea diving. Majuro Tourism: Best of Majuro, Marshall Islands - TripAdvisorwww.tripadvisor.com › South Pacific › Marshall Islands. I had the experience of an unexpected landing on Majuro several years ago. The Continental Airlines 707 flight that I was on from Honolulu, Hi to Agana Guam had to make an abrupt stop at this atoll in order to refuel. What an unnerving experience! The plane descended into what I thought would be the water of the ocean. Suddenly I saw this little strip of land with a one runway and then noticing that the ocean water was literally lapping up against the tarmac. This occurred almost twenty years ago.
There is now concern that residents of the Marshall Islands will have to eventually move due to rising sea levels. For the citizens, this is a major trauma because their land is considered to be sacred. The head of the Marshall Islands delegation to the Climate Conference in Paris stated that he uses Skype to communicate with his friends in the Marshall Islands to inform them "we don't have to move yet. "
We need to remind ourselves that everything we do has an impact on our planet. The air quality has changed, the temperatures are getting hotter, the water levels are rising. What will develop in the future ? Will there be sustainability for all of us here on earth ?
My prayer is that we can get smart about all of this and figure out a way that we can save this earth home we have for ourselves and for the future generations.
With hope, may this be realized.
May it be so.