Disclaimer: I am a geologist with expertise in climate change and promise that this article will not be depressing.
As the cold nights of autumn approach, and the smoke hopefully abates, let’s take a moment to look back at the summer of 2022. It was the third straight year of crippling drought in Central Oregon, leaving too many fields dry and fallow and many farmers facing bankruptcy. Weeks of heat waves, often rising above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, caused life-threatening conditions for our construction workers, our farm workers and our houseless community members. And of course yet another Smoketember, forcing us to celebrate the last weeks of summer by retreating indoors as our iconic volcanoes disappeared from view.