I’ve lived in this lake bed for 47 years.

I’m haunted by a conversation that is likely to happen. A future child will ask: What was it like here when there was a Great Salt Lake?

Will we say there were once great herons with two distinctive shades of blue? Will we tell them how there were thousands of tiny swallows? Will we describe to them how seagulls cried and what ibises looked like? Or will we fall silent because we once knew the stakes, and failed to act?

what’s at stake?
every brine shrimp and bison in this bioregion
every microbialite, each one a platform for all other life
all the snow melt
every snow flake
every job dependent on snow
we stand to lose it all:
our ability to live here
the value of our homes
our ability to breathe is at stake
the water lying between us and an endless storm of toxic dust is at stake
the welfare of all the life in this entire great basin is at stake…
every person, every beloved pet, every pollinator…

Our home will be a lake bed or a death bed, and we can still decide but it’s almost too late. We must not let her die on our watch. We must bring water back to the lake. Can you imagine a more elegant or just response? Give the water back to the lake. She’ll know exactly what to do with it.

Instead of asking what was it like before…let future children say tell us again how you saved the lake.