Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why the Klamath Matters

Why the Klamath Matters is a 90-minute documentary film making the emotional connection between the American public and restoration of one of the greatest, most complex, most humanly diverse river systems in the world.

From the headwaters to the ocean...from the Klamath's birth in Oregon to its meeting the sea in California - and in all the communities along the way - I know the people and the issues. With your help, I can bring their voices and their stories to the screen, ultimately paving the way for the most ambitious and important restoration project we will see in our lifetime. Together we will update the way American conservation works for the 21st century.

Jason Atkinson took this photo last Saturday.
Tipping Point: Stagnate or Restore?
Saturday I swam with 1,000 spawning salmon and I wondered what if they might be the last?  Did I do everything in my power to fix the river my grandparents told me to restore?   No.  I've tried it with politics.  I'm unfulfilled seeing what is happening and knowing I have the power to change it. 

It was too late for the Hudson River in New York.  The same was almost true with the Willamette River.  While today the water around Portland is better, I wouldn't recommend swimming in it.  There are only a few rivers in the world, which could tip in either direction.  My son will live with the results.  So will yours.

Why laser beam on the Klamath?  Because her champions are Government reports, bad politics, old hatreds, misinformation, and election cycles in both Oregon and California.  The river's future is stagnating like the water behind its lowest dam.  Green, hot, and no one wants to touch it. 

I want to.  We're Americans.  We fix problems.  We build our country.  We leave it better.

Americans knew "super-sized" fast food was bad for our health.  All the Government reports said so.  But it was not until a documentary called Super Size Me made the emotional connection by laser-beaming on one man who ate too much, destroying his health, did America change.  Within weeks of the films release, McDonalds ended "super-sizing."

My laser beam is focused on the Klamath because I know a spotlight will be shown on how Americans do conservation.  Our emotional connection is with  America (like Super Size Me), and our story is the families who depend on a restored Klamath River.

I know the people of the Klamath.  I am one.  I know what is at stake, the competing cultures, the way of life in Oregon and California.  I also know my great-grandfather swam with thousands and thousands more fish than I did Saturday.

The Klamath matters because restoring this river and her people reflects who we all are as Americans.

Help us finish up our grassroots push.  We are just $19,250 to go.

Many, many thanks and tight lines-