In a lifetime spent – by preference – in the woods, I’ve faced danger a few times. Rock climbing, and having the rock I was holding onto break off in my hand. Accidentally walking between a mother elk and her calf. Breaking through the ice, while crossing a stream on a winter camping trip.
The Oregon fires last fall were the first time I ever felt all humanity was directly endangered. Listening to the news, I heard an Oregon firefighter say, he felt like he was fighting the whole world. The first thought that leapt into my mind was, “Yeah, but who started this fight?”
I’ve believed we were in a human-caused climate emergency for years. The wildfires of 2020 brought it home to me. I was working as a temp for a chiropractor, watching the sky turn red overhead, as patient after patient called to cancel their appointments: “I can’t come in! I’m being evacuated!”
I spoke to one eighty year old man, as he watched flames approach his home. He didn’t want to leave. His son was arguing with him: “You can’t fight a firestorm with a garden hose!”
So I sent texts for Joe Biden and was thrilled when he was elected. I write my Congressional Representatives regularly on climate issues.
Last week, I was happy to receive a newsletter from Congressman Blumenauer, saying that he is working with Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on legislation to mandate the declaration of a national climate emergency. Read article here.
Last fall, watching fire clouds tower over me, I began writing a song, Open Your Eyes! Composer Stephen Bennett related to it instantly, because his parents live in California, where similar fire clouds threatened their home. Thank you to the members of Climate Reality, and to all people of good will and good science, who are working hard to (as Congressman Blumenauer puts it) “halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of this climate crisis.”
CONNECTING THE pARIS aGREEMENT (and COP26!) TO sOUTHERN oREGON
Addressing Climate Change is a global effort, and you can get involved in the process from right where you are in Oregon. And as of today, February 21, 2021, the United States is back in the Paris Agreement with American scientists, policy makers, businesses and diplomats once again contributing to the work of the United Nations on climate. UNFCCC stands for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This video is a recording of Paris Agreement 101 presented by Oregon State University and the Southwestern Oregon Chapter of The Climate Reality project with presenters (scroll down for bios) Zac Pinard, Grace Doleshel and Frank Granshaw, with thanks to Gregg Walker. As you watch, you will hear an alphabet soup of terms. UNFCCC? COP26? YOUNGO? RINGO? Don’t let it throw you off. Scroll down for links and terms.
UNFCCC = United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, pronounced ‘U-N-F-triple C,’ the UN effort on Climate Change.
NGO = Non-governmental Organization (An organization often focused on an issue that is independent from government, like The Climate Reality Project or OXFAM.)
NDC = Nationally Determined Contribution or INDC, Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (What individual nations have said they will do or intend to do.)
SBI = Subsidiary Body for Implementation (A group within the UNFCCC that keeps an eye on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, mitigations and other things climate with the goal of supporting national efforts to meet climate goals.)
SBSTA = Also SBs, Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice. (When you need an expert to help you with implementation and policy, these guys are also within the UNFCCC.)
ACE = Action for Climate Empowerment. (A group designed to encourage people from all walks of life and all nations to learn about climate change and efforts to address it.)
RINGO / BINGO = You get the idea, there are a number of groups of those brought together by interests, expertise, and collegiality. YOUNGO as well as RINGO for researchers (Research and Independent Non-governmental Organizations), BINGO for Business and Industry Non-governmental Organizations.
Climate Bridge = an effort to allow interested parties, individuals and organizations to attend the COPs virtually.
A Climate Bridge in Oregon. Not everyone can–or should–travel to Glasgow for COP26. But the more folks who can participate in this global process to address climate change the better. Folks are needed from all and everywhere if we are going to tackle the challenge that is right-now all around us. Frank Granshaw has invested tremendous effort into development of a virtual bridge that last year linked Portland, Oregon, to COP25. This Prezi presentation walks you through the idea with links, a timeline, and information. If there is leadership and interest, we could organize a Virtual Bridge to COP26 right here in Southern Oregon.
Zac mentioned this book in his presentation, Global Environmental Politics, 8th Edition, by Pamela S. Chasek and David L. Downie. I ordered one! What I liked about the book is that it is packed with information yet organized in a way that I can actually navigate that information. It begins with an introduction as to how Global Environmental Politics started, and covers basics, timelines, stakeholders, research, wealth and energy management, developmental goals, and there is even a little rah-rah in there as people come together in teams to roll up their sleeves and get the work done. It is an academic introduction, and I appreciated that the book covers the changing scope of the effort. This work started with careful measurement of greenhouse gasses. It has grown into an awareness that climate is about environment and so it touches everything from food and water systems to economic systems to pollution to energy to human culture and every life on earth. A great recommendation.
One more resource invitation: Zac works for Climate XChange, a nonprofit focused on research, education and advocacy tools designed to move us toward a clean energy economy. Consider plugging into the State Climate Policy Network! The SCPN is a nationwide network of professionals in the climate space, a great place to connect with important people and organizations. Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org to join and receive newsletter updates!
Thank you to our organizers and presenters!
Zac Pinard grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to the Pacific Northwest for college. He graduated from Oregon State University in 2019 with a B.S. in Environmental Science, specializing in Environmental Economics and Policy. In 2020, he worked as a legislative assistant for the chair of the Oregon House Committee on Energy and the Environment. During that short session, he gained significant exposure to the political battle surrounding an economy-wide carbon pricing bill. He hopes he can take that experience forward to help implement robust carbon pricing mechanisms throughout the nation.
Grace Doleshel is a 19 year old environmental activist and student at Oregon State University pursuing a BS in Environmental Public Policy with a minor in Social Justice. She has worked in environmental advocacy and policy since age 14 and has policy experience at a local, state, national and international level, most recently she attended the COP 25 Climate Conference in Madrid, Spain. Grace’s experience includes environmental education, policy, public speaking and writing. She currently works as the Coordinator of Environmental Affairs for the Associated Students of Oregon State University.
Frank Granshaw is a retired geoscience educator, glacial geologist, and insufferably proud grandpa from Portland, Oregon. In addition to being actively involved in climate education and advocacy through Portland State University, the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Creation Justice Program, American Geophysical Union, and the Oregon Science Network of the Union of Concerned Scientists, he has been an observer delegate to two UN Climate summits and is one of the founders of the PDX Climate Bridge.
Gregg B. Walker is Professor and Chair of the Department of Speech Communication, Adjunct Professor of Forest Resources, and Director of the Peace Studies program at Oregon State University in Corvallis. In addition, Professor Walker conducts training programs on collaborative decision making, designs collaborative public participation processes, facilitates collaborative learning community workshops, and researches community-level collaboration efforts. Gregg is also a co-author for Working through Environmental Conflict; The Collaborative Learning Approach.