Everyone is here on earth as an artist; to tell his particular story or sing her irreplaceable song; to leave a unique creative signature. ~ Leonard Wolf
A river, even a creek can have a signature, and just as yours is distinctly yours, from space our flowing waters can illustrate to scientists how climate has affected their shapes and has controlled their elevational profiles. https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2019/09/16/Climate-signature-detected-in-Earths-rivers/1071568656154/
During the last year, I have stayed for the most part out on the prairie's edge at home but answered the invitation from GRDA to attend a technical meeting in Claremore on the Upstream Hydraulic Model as my first real outing.
Once in the room, one of the first announcements was the signup sheet being on the back table. But the back table was devoid of anything but the red ballpoint pen. The table needed signup sheets, and I sat ours up, covering the whole table. Nearly a thousand people have signed LEAD Agency's "We've flooded enough. We won't take it anymore" signs. And all of these folks came with me to this meeting. Their fates and their hopes were visible with their names, one after another covering these cardboard covered proclamations with one boldly saying STOP the FLOODING placed uniquely in the center. The pen stayed on the table, just in case another person would be moved to add their signature.
There never was another mention of the "sign-in sheet" from the meeting organizers, or another announcement to be sure each of us had signed in.
During the lunch break, I left the meeting for a quiet room to join Women's Earth Alliance and Sierra Club's virtual event in honor of Earth Day 2021 called Who CARES? A conversation on Feminist Climate Action. They explained that "For millennia, women have been the bedrock of the “care economy”—nurturing families, laboring to better our societies, and stewarding the Earth and its precious resources. But as the climate emergency intensifies, so does the burden on our world’s women. Yet from these frontlines, women leaders are designing solutions from the ground up" so with a few other women environmental activists, we spoke. Our efforts dove-tail, our hopes one: A clean and safe environment. Indigenous women spoke with me, speaking for our sacred places, our damaged water, our hopes for reparations, reclamation and renewal of these throw-away places, like our very own Tar Creek. Women have taken on these roles, as activists, as scientists, as writers to see, learn, experience the earth around us and share in every way we find.
Just as recently I had received a package Kathryn Savage had sent with a book she hadn't written but would be similar to the one she is writing. Rising is the title by Elizabeth Rush with each section following the author's firsthand account of the real evidence the ocean's water is already rising, already 9 inches since 1880.
I am learning vocabulary as it is used to describe the physical changes happening to the environment the author encounters. Rampike is the name for ghost trees along the coastlines, where salt water is reaching the roots and the trees cannot relocate themselves, trapped in soil saturated by the sea, until salt takes their life and leaves them leaflessly marking shorelines.
Tidal marshes around the world too near the rising seas are rotting. These living marshes have been sequestering carbon for millennium but are now dying due to saltwater encroachment. These wetlands are beginning to stink, because they are rotting and releasing methane which is dangerous to our climate. As the ocean rises, those who loved those coastlines, loved the tree lined vistas, loved exploring the coastal wetlands surprised by the diversity of birds and other wildlife found there, will cease going there as those coastal treasures begin to die with saltwater from the rising sea reaching the roots of the plants, killing them and exposing the once sequestered carbon.
We are the middle of this country and those millions of coastal residents will be seeking the middle. We would welcome them, but first we must stand together to stop the power allowing our own waters to rise.
Those of us listening to the GRDA's presenters this week, in the room and virtually heard men speak about water rising, flowing, and flood frequency. We heard words that brought images: overbank, vertical datums, bridge geometries, timing a floodwave, and river miles. We learned that USGS speaks in water years. But there was not a word from them with any tinge of empathy for how that rising trapped water might enter a home, put a business under, ruin a crop in the field, or change the flow of commerce through an upstream town we heard of little consequence to an agency bent on improving the summers of large boat lovers.
"Whisper to the flashing water your real name, write your signature in the sand, and shout your identity to the sky until it answers to you in thunder. ~ Christopher John Farley
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim