The volume is bound in red leather emblazoned with a single word on the front. Inside the pages contained his handwritten pen and ink notes. One statement on the page entitled Operations Surgery stood out to me: "You must have the courage to use the knife when necessary..." Isn't that the truth? Courage is necessary to move forward, to take a stand, to speak up, but for our surgeons, surely it does take courage to enter the skin of a patient and take actions to save a life, that moment knowing exactly where and how to cut and he continued with: "one must not let your feelings have anything to do with the operation." It is hard to be brave, to find courage, I know. Not one of my college classes had a bit of instruction on how to be, find or have any degree of courage, but knowing how could have emboldened me or others and made any number of actions easier to master through the years.
Like speaking up on climate change.
You might become a believer in climate change if you were outside working in the garden on Monday while both the front and back doors were open to let the breeze flow through, like we did at the LEAD Agency that afternoon.
But 70 degrees one day and two days later schools and businesses closed due to snow is really not climate, it is weather. And weather has been known to change, we grew up knowing that, as they say, "Don't like the weather? It's Oklahoma, just wait a few days and it will change." But having lived in other states, they say the same thing about their weather!
But climate is bigger. Climate is the bigger picture, it is how extremes can affect all of us, not just the pocket of people who get some wind damage or number of times we sit in the "Fraidy Hole" but how many times the county gets washed down the river and how high the river gets each time, and those times are closer together when 100 year floods happen year after year.
The Quapaw Nation hosted a Tribal Resilience Workshop this week and I got to attend one day, and the second day, the snow threatened and made me leery to go to find out even more facts about how this is going and how quickly our future generations will be madder-than-hell at us for allowing it and not doing our level-best to reel it in and save the polar bears and lightning bugs from extinction.
When looking up Resilience you will find it is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. That is what has happened after the floods, after the weather disasters people face. But the ability gets harder when the difficulties keep coming.
That grandfather of mine, didn't have children until he was in his 60's and together his family experienced what they called the Little Ice Age before 1920. My father's clearest memories of that time were everyone used skates, there was so much ice, it was how you got around, and the fireplace in their home burned wood, single long logs, they walked over as they protruded out of the fireplace into the living room and pushed them forward as they burned.
What is the difference between weather and climate change? Weather refers to short term atmospheric conditions while climate is the weather of a specific region averaged over a long period of time. Climate change refers to long-term changes.
We weather the storms, but we hope to endure the effects climate change will have on the earth and her people, as our island people keep coming because the sea is rising and taking their homelands under, there will be more migrations of people walls will not contain, leaving lands where draughts have dried up their soils and water. There will be more flooding for us to come, making simple gardening a challenge and large scale farmers unable to plant or harvest the food a nation requires to feed her people.
Back in the Western History Collection, my grandfather's ledger was in a folder and the folder was in a box and the next folder was Miami, OK's Sam Fullerton. Surely the people who placed those folders in the box, never dreamed the two men were friends, and there they are in the box together for the duration of history! and began their lives just as the world's uses of fossil fuels was beginning.
Courage is what we all will need to go forward into the climate changed world we will live. But also courage to change what is making it worse, we will have to innovate away from fossil fuels in big ways and in simple personal choices.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim