Important voice left out of climate change conversation

There is an important rural Oregon voice that has been left out of the conversation around what to do about climate change. That voice is mine and the other Oregon tribal youth.

The warming planet is affecting my life, my family’s life and the life of the Klamath Tribes. Our family counts on hunting and fishing but these and other traditional foods are at risk because of drought and wildfires and if we continue down our current path they may disappear. My father is a firefighter and with the new, longer fire season, his job is more dangerous than ever. I well remember the year fires were so bad that when we walked outside, we could see nothing but smoke and smell nothing but smoke. Those summers will become more frequent.

The inability of state lawmakers to so far take action to reduce climate pollution that is choking our planet puts all of us in rural Oregon in peril.

The angry group taking their logging trucks to Salem do not speak for me or my people who lived in rural Oregon long before it was a state and I worry they are drowning out our voices. By bullying lawmakers into opposing bills to reduce climate pollution, they are putting my future at risk. They are putting corporate polluters before people. They are enabling powerful oil companies to keep cashing big checks at the expense of the rest of us.

I hope leadership in Salem starts to listen to all voices from rural Oregon and understand how worried we are for the future and that we need them to take action now.

Orville Schroeder

Klamath Youth Tribal Council Co-President