How do we prepare for unpredictability?

Lianne Thompson

It’s the beginning of 2017 as I write this, a wonderful opportunity to wish you a joyous and satisfying year. I’ll be working for our community resilience during this year, and I’d like to update you.

First, there’s inescapable unpredictability about what it will take to flourish after a catastrophic event of whatever kind. Come to think of it, there’s unpredictability about what it takes to flourish on a day-to-day basis. That means that we’re dealing with some degree of uncertainty, no matter what we do. Part of the fun, the adventure of life.

An essential element in both day-to-day and catastrophic resilience is relationships characterized by respect and affection. Another essential element is a healthy curiosity about getting the full picture, which means listening to all kinds of people with differing points of view.

Then comes applying a creative intelligence to the data and the emotions, working to take effective actions, making use of multi-disciplinary thinking to develop mutually satisfying solutions.

Perhaps most challenging is grounding in profound empathy. Empathy for ourselves, for each other, and for the place in which we live, work, play, and worship glues us together in a social and environmental context. The environment matters a lot to all of us.

We’re blessed to live in a place where people are passionately devoted to protecting the environment, and there are differing opinions on how to do that, including people who don’t want to see another tree cut. Part of our place is people who make a living from natural resource extraction industries, cutting trees. How do we live in peace and harmony with each other? How do we create a resilient community for all?

I’m a long-term community activist. My purpose is to activate people to think, find common ground, and develop mutually satisfying solutions. There are community organizers, and their goal is often different. They’re often looking to motivate people to adopt a position, voice a mantra, apply pressure to achieve results they believe necessary for community well-being.

Too often, we can fail to take each other’s point of view into account, all in service of our noble cause. Too often, we can think that having our voices heard means obedience to our preferred action.

As an elected member of the governing body of Clatsop County, I’m committed to listening to all relevant points of view on important issues. I’m asking questions, asking the natural resource extraction people how we can have a livable planet, asking the environmental community how we can pay the bills, on both a family and a community-wide basis?

We must take each other into account, or we perish.

Pressing issues currently in play: the Linn County lawsuit, ecologically sustainable economic development by means of manufacturing modular housing using mass timber technology (which can also help with our housing shortage), and building more structures and relationships to support emergency response.

I’m devoted to protecting Clatsop county’s resources in the forests and oceans, using the best science and our own expert legal advice, especially as regards the Linn Co. lawsuit.

Lianne Thompson is a long-time community activist who’s currently serving as the elected Clatsop County Commissioner for District 5, the southern half of Clatsop County.

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