Mar 22, 2015

Jere Grimm

I’ve lived in Portland for more than 50 years. I love this place and have been working to make it more livable since the 1960’s. I remember working on legislation for food and the environment as part of a citizen’s lobby group in 1971. Life was simpler then. We advocated for measures to help neighborhoods, families, to set aside natural areas. Now we are faced a major challenge because of all the carbon that’s been released into the atmosphere.

Climate change is the most important issue of our time. Major polluters are not held accountable, and it’s tragic that we’re the ones paying for the consequences of their actions – with our health, our taxpayer dollars, and more.

I have observed climate change over 81 years of life. I remember winters that were below zero and skating outdoors as a child in places where the winters just keep getting warmer and milder. Combine the realities I’ve seen what I read about what’s happening elsewhere, and sometimes it’s all too much to think about. I’m terrified of a world where we don’t do anything about climate change. But I can’t focus my attention there. I must remain hopeful. I’ve heard that hope is not an emotion; it’s a spiritual discipline. So I work to further progress. I organize my neighbors to learn about and work on these issues. I raised my children to care about these things. I still knock on doors to talk to my fellow community members about the problems we have, and how we can work together to address them.

It may seem like total idealism, but hey, when you look at the history of every major movement, it started with hope. I’m 81 years old, but I still have faith we can make a difference.

Jere Grimm, Grandmother

Jere Grimm has lived in Portland for more than 50 years. She moved here with her late husband who served as one of the first professors for Portland State University’s art department. Together they had a large family of children and grandchildren here in Portland. Jere is a working artist.