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On Climate Disruption, Washington Governor Inslee Vows "Disruptive Change"

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page, Organic Transitions page and our Washington News page.

Jay Inslee, governor of Washington State, tours the Chehalis River Valley, the site of some of the worst floods in the Pacific Northwest. (Photo: Dahr Jamail / Truthout)

The Chehalis River Valley is stunningly beautiful, verdant and home to some of the most bountiful farms in Washington State. From Christmas trees to flowers to some of the most luscious tomatoes you could ever eat, on a sunny day, it feels like one has landed in paradise here.

Unfortunately, the valley is also the site of some of the worst floods in the Pacific Northwest. The flooding has devastated farms, left bloated cattle corpses hanging from barn rafters and left some farmers themselves dead.

This is the location Gov. Jay Inslee chose to include as part of his climate tour in order to make a point.

Susan Ujcic, a Washington State farmer here who runs one of the largest community-supported agriculture businesses in the state, is intimately familiar with the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD).

The Helsing Junction Farm where she works, located right on the banks of the Chehalis River, now has to be relocated every year due to flooding.

"We've had five record-setting, 100-year floods just since 1986," Ujcic told Truthout while standing in a field at her farm in September. "So we've learned to mitigate. Every year since 2007, on November 1, we move all our equipment, inventory and office to higher ground, and in the spring, after flooding season, we move back."

Ujcic is lucky enough to live in a state governed by Inslee, a man known as the "green governor": He has designated ACD to be the single most important issue for he and his cabinet. And on the same day Truthout spoke with Ujcic, Inslee was visiting her farm, striving to help her and others in his state who are bearing the brunt of the impact from ACD.

"Here we are hopeful because when we see local impacts like flooding in the Chehalis, lack of irrigation in Yakima, ocean acidification hurting the oyster industry here, these are people having to deal with real world issues," Inslee told Truthout. "It's not an ideological debate. We want real world solutions."       
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