An Oral History of Climate Change

climate-changeLet me ask you something: where were you when you first heard that humans were changing Earth’s climate? How about the first time you noticed the effects of climate change for yourself?

Over the past two years, the Oregon Health Authority has been collecting stories for their Climate Change Oral History Project, intending to provide future generations with a better understanding of what the first generation of the 21st Century’s climate change catastrophe was like for the people who lived through it.

Emily York, coordinator of the Climate and Health Program at Oregon’s Public Health Division, was in Corvallis recently filming a video for the Oral History Program. This is part of the Division’s Climate and Health Resilience Plan, which seeks to protect the health of Oregonians in the face of public health problems arising from the climate disaster: increased mosquito populations, killing heat waves, crop-killing drought, and many others.

Of special concern in developing the Resilience Plan is protecting people who are not in perfect health: seniors, the physically challenged, and people with mental health issues. These people are always at greatest risk in a disaster situation, and plans which take them into account can save many lives and prevent much suffering.

York hopes to post the video in question to by Sept. 28. An ongoing project, there will be many more videos, interviews, essays, and memoirs added to the program’s archive in years to come.

So, what’s your story?

by John M Burt