“Oregon is one of only two states in the nation without a plan for the future of its water supply.”

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/oregons_water_issues_run_deep.html

When I saw that quote, it scared me. I am realizing that I moved to Portland specifically to seek out a place to settle down. I wanted to explore the Northwest because its climate appeals to me, and I am an American. I want to raise a family, I want to get married. I envision a cute house with a beautiful wife, babies, and pies in the oven. My vision of my future is simple, it’s quaint, and it is iconoclastic. But I own it, and it is mine.

house by sunset

I realize that a part of the ownership of my future is my involvement with the present. I have to consider the choices that I am making on an individual level, including the ways in which I want to inspire the people around me to participate. A big part of my interest in storytelling lays in the ways in which we use new media to share ourselves with other people in ways that were not possible even a few years ago.

Sometimes it seems as if we’re taking too many pictures of ourselves, and not enough of those around us. I’ve been having some amazing discussions with some people that are artists, visionaries, musicians, and business people about the future of this micro-culture called Portland. I want it to continue, and to keep growing and expanding.

Water is at the heart of it all. That article above left me thinking about water usage, and how industrial and agricultural uses compose most of it. As much as I turn off the faucet and let it mellow when it’s yellow, unless I work to impact policy, no real change will come.

Having Obama in office gives me hope that change is possible. Watching the Health Care Bill stall through Congress is a sobering reminder of the amount of work that is needed to create change. I have spoken with friends who worked in Congress, and it is a glacially-slow process that needs as many non-corporate participants as possible.

My conversations of the past few days came as a result of the request of some friends to throw them a fundraiser. I believe wholeheartedly in the work that Sarah and Arthur are doing and want to help them. I jumped on the chance to help a new mutual friend to throw something good. During our long, in-depth conversations, I realized that I am interesting in answering a predominantly local question: What is the future of water in Oregon?

Water plays a role in our daily lives, and as Americans we have it good. It has been my privilege to grow up with water at the tap, in the toilet, and to sprinkle on the garden. We’ve had it cheap, and it has been easy. This summer while I was hauling water from glacial streams, I thought about the billions of people around the world who move water by hand every day.

In Guadalajara, Sarah and Arthur have encountered stories of water, like that of a young boy who fell into a stream and died of arsenic poisoning. Companies and government officials have conspired to create sickening conditions that effect billions around the world. Each of them has a story to tell about water.

What impresses me about what they are doing is that they are leveraging new technologies to empower people to incite real local change for themselves. They are acting, and action is required. The heart of my Superhero Action Project is to help people to become superheroes themselves, and to help the superheroes already out there working to help others. I want to share that story.

In the next few weeks, I’ll continue to work to carry forward this conversation, and to find the people around Portland that know the key stories about the future of water here. I want to know the future of Oregon’s water, and I want to help give that story a happy ending.

See you at the party.

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