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Adapting to “The New Norm”

September 1, 2018

Unhealthy air, a warming planet, Harmful Algae Blooms…we’ve been getting the memos and dire calls to action since our childhood. Now the writing is on the wall. It’s actually way beyond the wall - the signs are everywhere.


What do these messages say to you and how does it make you feel?


Once upon a time before science had an explanation for everything, humans feared and revered Mother Nature’s dominion over our lives. It may be that those days have returned - perhaps this collective awakening is the first step.


It struck me hard this summer - we can not take our naturally functioning ecosystems for granted. When our rivers are swimmable, when our air is clear, it’s a blessing, not an entitlement. We all have a collective role in being a teammate to our motherly captain in restoring a balance that took a millennia to perfect.


At this moment in time, there's no doubt we are behind and playing catch-up. Is it too late? Is the outcome already decided? Are you ready to throw in the towel? It’s tempting and easy but we hope not. 


Willamette River-ly speaking, we have lots of fight at HAP but we cannot face these challenges alone. You have observed and been a participant in the impact our work has had in Portland - creating positive culture change and doing what many people thought was impossible.


What is HAP's magic sauce in creating positive culture change? It’s simply empowering people like you to be change agents and messengers, providing practical solutions for our community to work towards, and being relentless at seeking out, cultivating, and building a critical mass of cooperative, capable, committed, and fun people.  We are River Huggers not River Haters.


There's little time for talk. Looking at the tea leaves it seems that the new norm of environmental surprises will continue as temperatures increase and ecosystems correspondingly adapt.


Thank you for having the courage, creativity, and open mindedness to be hopeful! As we adapt to our "new norm", let’s continue to seek out the lowest hanging fruit which provides the most meaningful impact, and have the faith to know that little things lead to larger, positive outcomes.  Lets not let perfection be the enemy of progress!


In between, may we cherish and have reverence for our planet and its complex functions.  The fight ahead will be hard, may we make the time to seek out the natural spaces we fight to protect, and be greatful for its power to restore us.


Your Ringleader,