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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Climate Change is Real and for the Better in Oklahoma, Says Okie on the Lam's Dale Baker

Some of you may recall my observations earlier this year about the changing climate in my native state of Oklahoma. When I was a kid growing up in Oklahoma City, it seemed the place was always hot, brown, windy, flat, tree-less and dry. On returning to the area in recent years, however, it has increasingly seemed greener and much more treed.

Turns out it wasn't my imagination. My buddy Dale Baker, who lives in Southern California and writes the excellent Okie on the Lam blog, did some research and came up with some concrete evidence that suggests strongly my hunch was in fact accurate. Explains Dale:

"But the great state of Oklahoma and the Federal Government were developing the real projects that turned northeastern Oklahoma into 'Green Country': the aforementioned Grand Lake of the Cherokees, Lakes Oologah, Spavinaw, Tenkiller, Hudson, Skiatook, Hulah, Ft. Gibson, Keystone, Eufaula — all major lakes, several placed sequentially on the same river. "Also, most of these are hydro-electric, serving the needs for the electric co-operatives serving rural Oklahoma. I’ve either fished or camped at all of them except for the newish Lake Skiatook, which was created after my move to California in 1983.
"Of course, there wouldn’t be nearly as many trees in the Oklahoma City area, or many other parts of the state for that matter, if it hadn’t been for
arborist Stanley Draper, Jr. He has been responsible for the planting of 53,000 trees in Ok, with over 23,000 of them in Oklahoma City itself. The Natural Home Magazine article also states that 29 tree farms have been established in OK to continue Draper’s work of the 'Greening of Oklahoma.'
"So, to answer Mark’s original question, I think you can make a case for definite climate change in Oklahoma, at least in the central & northeastern sections — and that this change was definitely “man-made” — and for the better as far as I am concerned."

Go here for the whole story, courtesy of one of Oklahoma's best gifts to SoCal.

Now, what has this to do with those of you who don't live in the land we gave to the Indians "as long as the grass shall grow and the wind shall blow" or have any interest in the state? Well, here's my prediction: A lot of folks in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia are going to be reaching retirement age in the next decade.

More than a few of these folks will be living in homes whose values have skyrocketed since 1990 and who have significant additional assets. When these folks discover they can sell their high-dollar homes on the Left and Right coasts, build a bigger, nicer and safer place in Oklahoma for half the cost and invest the remainder to pay for a comfortable retirement, the Sooner State will become a haven for greying Boomers.

Sort of puts a new twist on the "Boomer Sooner" chant we've heard out of Norman all these years. Of course, being smart cookies, these new Okies will become Oklahoma State University Cowboy fans and live happily ever after.

You heard it here first!