Forterra champions work for our future

For many years, Forterra (formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy) has been helping to preserve lands for current and future generations, which are critical to the health of our regional environment (this in turn affects the health of our global environment).

As the recent rapid shrinking of Greenland’s ice, the unprecedented melting of North Sea ice, along with the droughts and other wild weather felt by many U.S. citizens during the past summer have demonstrated the climate crisis (now aptly being referred to as a “planetary emergency” by experts) is upon us. Our extreme and wild weather is evidently the new “normal.” Get used to it.

For those who have not read the latest research, have been convinced that it is a (natural, not human-caused) “climate cycle,” or that it is some plot to sell more electric cars, simply look out any window. The haze hanging over UWT’s campus is likely not merely fog; it probably contains smoke from the drought-related wildfires now burning large areas of Washington.

With this year’s droughts and newly broken all-time heat records, there are vast expanses of the USA that are still tinder-dry and in danger of igniting. There are also major drought-related crop failures in the US that will translate into higher food prices by next year.

What can the average UWT student do to diminish the consequences of such large-scale climate alterations? Get educated, get involved. Your children may thank you for your efforts or curse you for your inaction. Use your coveted right to free speech while you still have it. Silence is affirmation. There are many local people working within many organizations to create positive changes for our civilization.

Forterra is one such group of do-gooders who are into many sorts of human-civilization-saving ideas. Preserving farmlands for growing food, reducing urban sprawl, converting abandoned rail-lines into regional (non-polluting) trails, along with planting more trees are among a few of Forterra’s endeavors.

On September 19, local dignitaries honored long-time Rails-to-Trails advocate and Forterra champion, Dr. Ernie Bay. He was presented with the “Helen Engle Lifetime Achievement Award” at the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) by Tacoma’s vibrant Mayor Marilyn Strickland. Tacoma Councilman and Executive Director of the Pierce County Conservation District, the stylish Ryan Mello served as the master of ceremonies.

The fundraiser culminated with a tour of the “Best of the Northwest” exhibit which features artworks in many mediums created by NW and local artists. A hosted bar served fine wines and specialty beers. The delightfully delicious hors d’oeuvres offerings featured NW salmon, fresh fruits, fine cheese varieties, and many other light and tasty morsels.

All UWT students are members of the TAM and after showing student ID are in for free. For more information see: www.forterra.org and www.climatecentral.org