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Citizen's View: Find inspiration in sustainability stories

What could be more confusing than the issue of climate change? It is complex, global and slow-moving. Can we in Lake Oswego really make a difference? Yes! And we don’t need to look any further than the stories in today’s special section in the Lake Oswego Review to answer that question.

Earlier this year, the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network launched the Lake Oswego Story Project. We asked members of our community to write a story from the perspective of the year 2050 about how Lake Oswego successfully contributed to climate-change solutions that would make us all proud.

We received 31 stories — from school children to retirees and all ages in between — describing how we overcame the challenges we faced. What we received was a wonderful gift from you, our fellow citizens, and an inspiration not only to our community but also to other communities as well.

The Review was able to feature five of the stories in the newspaper and online this spring. Now, with their help and the support of community sponsors, we are able to share all 31 with the entire community.

What you will see in the special section is a range of offerings, from poems and prose to a play and a song. Take a look and find a favorite. Here are some to consider:

— “Looking Back Through the Rings,” written by a Lake Oswego college student. It describes how Lake Oswego changed, from the perspective of a tree.

— “They Thought of Me,” a high school student’s hopeful poem about how her generation wasn’t forgotten.

— “Bearly Waiting,” a fifth-grader’s perspective on how Lake Oswego changed, as seen through the eyes of the three bear statues that sit outside the Lake Oswego Public Library.

— “London Connection,” a Twilight Zone-like story about how coping with despair in the past inspired future generations of Lake Oswego citizens.

— “Play Ball,” a colorful description of how Lake Oswego contributed to the survival of our national pastime.

Explore stories by professional Lake Oswego authors such as Brian Doyle, Ron Talney or City Planning Director Scot Siegel. Learn about how school Superintendent Heather Beck became an inspiration for a poem about planting trees. Or visit the library to see a display of selected stories from this project.

The Lake Oswego Story Project is a first step in our Sustainability Network’s effort to start a community dialogue about what Lake Oswego can do to deal with climate change. Past Lake Oswego mayors have signed on to the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, joining more than 1,000 other communities to combat one of the biggest threats to our global quality of life. For our part, we have started climate discussion groups in homes, church groups and businesses to discuss what each of us can do individually and collectively.

Just as other communities are doing, we would like to see Lake Oswego put together a community climate action plan we can all get behind. Yes, climate change is a challenge. But we don’t have to look any further than our own community for stories on how to successfully deal with it.

Lisa Adatto, Dorothy Atwood, Duke Castle, Jan Castle and Mary Ratcliff are founding members of the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network.