Was It Real? It Was. Vacation Home; Physician Wellness Retreat; or Doomsday Bunker.
May 28, 2021
Everything is moving full forward with the purchase. Inspections. Insurance estimates, Well inspections, We are forgoing the septic tank pumping since it’s supposed to be every 10 years, and it’s only been 2. I’m the second day back from the whirlwind 48 hour trip to our hopefully family farm in southwest Oregon tucked in the lower elevations of the Cascades and I’m still in disbelief. Was the sky that blue? Was the air that clean? The earth there was healthy. I remember being up in the Andes in Peru, and the deforested area that had been replaced by non-native Eucaluptus and thought – this place is not healthy. These trees are not supposed to be here. Some places were, but some places the earth felt sick. As I looked out at the sky off a fancy house in the fanciest neighborhoods in our area, I just noticed the sky. The blue was not as blue. The air was not as clean. Despite the expense of the house and the real estate value, you can’t buy that clean air, the clean water, the elevation that will protect against unprecedented rising mean global temperatures.
The Colorado River for the first time in history is expected to have shortgages. Arizona may be receiving a rationed portion of the water. We are soon to reach briefly the tipping point and the next five years will see one of the hottest on record. 0.8 degrees to 1.8 degrees? How high will we go? We are fighting to keep global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees. Still life altering but not as catastrophic.
I am happy and enjoying thinking about this property and the possibility of escrow closing, and it being for our family. But in the back of my mind, I know that the doomsday scenario was in my subconscious. I had thought about buying a condo that we had always wanted somehwere in San Francisco, but a climate friend had told us that he had worked on some projects in San Francisco and most of the those swanky condos were sitting on nothing. One big earthquake, and it will just slip into the Pacific Ocean. We are relatively ok in our southern california neighborhood which is four blocks from the beach, and are actively working on wetland issues to protect against sea level rise and as a carbon sink. I am though hugely disappointed in our supposedly progressive Mayor who let the local utility company off the hook, and locked the city into high rates for 20 years with little negotiating power. He was seen biking along a new biking corridor in a Facebook post, but that’s just greenwashing. I don’t care how progressive you want to seem, when the big decision was in front of you to negotiate a franchise deal that was better for the residents and the earth – you did not. You did not get a good deal for us. Maybe that’s because he is a government creature and has been in government for his entire career. It’s hard to trust those people. Talk talk talk, and they continue to do very little. Or do what seems press worthy but not what matters as what will be impactful.
So the purchase in Oregon was a DO for me. We are now in the process of “owning” 193 acres on forest. I will work to retain and continue to restore that area, while bringing phyisican and professional renewal to some friends. That 193 acres no one else was going to buy, because I found it when I was recovering from my root canal. That is the truth. But the farm in southwest Oregon with its rain barrel cachment system which is massive, clear running creek on our property that brings water down from the cascades, wild turkey abundant throughout the area and plenty of fish, and pretty remote but not that remote tucked beside a national park – it’s our doomsday property as well. You have to fly to Hawaii. You have to fly to New Zealand. This place, you drive straight up the 5 for 14 hours and it’s just off the main freeway and off a county road. I am going to learn how to shoot an air rifle that is just powerful enough just to take down a turkey. No matter what my kids will be safe and fed. I’m that kind of mom that I’d convince my family to buy this property that is a good buy but in my heart – I’m terrified about climate change. Knowing that there are 20 fruit trees already planted that will grow without any watering, and that we will plant a few more apples and cherries, maybe even some grape vines and hazelnut. That gives me peace.
Dear reader, do you know what also gives me peace? Knowing I’m doing everything that I have been able to keep global temperatures below one point five. I’m at bag 18 for the month, 467 since I started on picking up ocean beach plastic. This weekend Mr. Plastic Picker and I are going to have dinner with the members of the Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC) which is our climate advocacy group that is trying to move the needle on climate change locally. We never go out socially, but we will joyfully socialize with our fancy and really nice climate friends. I asked my mom to make her special spring rolls probably vegan. Another amazing colleague is activated and she is the power behind now moving our medical group into incorporating climate change and health into the residency curriculum, and maybe help establish a fellowship. I just started the idea and proposed things. She and another colleague are full force ahead, as they have been already heavily involved in residency education. I have to write my two letters of recommendations for our two premed interns this long holiday weekend. It will be easy and a passion project since both have been near and dear to my heart, and instrumental in the climate work that we have been doing. We live a very minimalistic life now and albeit there is some plastic, but since not buying most things and composting – our lives are less consumeristic and I think less stress on the earth. And we continue to donate which is the most impactful. In total over the last almost two years, we have helped preserve
13,851 Acres Land/Ocean
It’s a climate crisis. It’s an emergency. I’m treating it as such. I’m working and have earned hope through action. I will double-down on helping with the Rewild Mission Bay project. We will be resubmitting a Shade Trees project with an amazing colleague maybe in July. Continuing to refine the climate change and health rotation and making moves toward the fellowship. Helping restart the sustainability/green team in our HMO. I’m just taking a much needed breather to buy our doomsday bunker, that for now is a vacation home.
Please take care of your family by taking care of the earth. It makes it so much easier. I’d rather this farm be just a vacation home, and not a doomsday shelter where the litter-picking pediatrician becomes the myopic middle-aged mom trying to take down a turkey with an air rifle. I think I’m a super hero but I’m super near sighted. I just realized our new good friend Mr. Tony is the best person to have as a friend for a myopic pediatrician. I told him no problem, he can pitch a tent on the property. When that day comes Mr. Tony, just head up the 5 north, 14 hours straight. Bring your succulents if you want. I’m not sure what the temperature will be and it may be the right climate for them by then. But at least we will have some fish, fruit, eggs, fresh water, and maybe even some wine. I don’t drink, but given the current state of the world and my interest in air rifles – I may have to take it up.