Senator Jeff Merkley and the work of the Climate Crisis

Oregon wide follow up meeting for climate legislation THIS Thursday, December 17, at noon. Register here, more information below.

On December 9th, Senator Jeff Merkley addressed an unprecedented gathering of climate leaders, organizations and citizens, attendees of A Climate Convergence, a symposium that brought together Executive Directors, legislators, and grassroots organizers from across the country to talk about climate change. Specifically, to gather together and listen for the express purpose of passing climate change legislation nationally.

Senator Jeff Merkley speaking at Session One of the Climate Convergence symposium on December 9, 2020.

This national effort touches every state and every legislative district. Which means that in Oregon, we are an vital part of the effort.

A number of climate leaders in Oregon have engaged the Climate Crisis Policy effort. Last month climate leaders in Oregon met together to learn more about the Climate Crisis Policy initiative. Then December 9 and 10 folks tuned in to two days of panels which included Oregon’s own Senator Jeff Merkley and Climate Reality Project’s President and CEO, Ken Berlin.

On Thursday, December 17th at noon, the Oregon-wide effort resumes with a meeting to listen again to Senator Merkley’s address and discussion, and talk about what national climate legislation might look life through this initiative from an Oregon perspective.

Register here for the meeting, and please share and invite others you think will be interested. At our first meeting we had a terrific and hope-filled discussion. After the success of the symposium, there is even more to think about and to celebrate.

A big thank you to Senator Jeff Merkley for responding to the requests of Oregon organizers from across the state to speak at the symposium!

A big thank you, also, to the many chapters of the Climate Reality Project across the country who are involved with the Climate Crisis Policy initiative and the climate action effort. Things are moving! And we need everybody.

Questions? Additions? email our chapter.

Climate Convergence–Event

Happening this week! Something unprecedented is happening. On December 9 and 10 Climate organizers, organizations, concerned citizens and elected leaders will come together for a two day conversation looking forward to how to plan and pass policies to protect, preserve and restore this planet with justice and fairness.

The Southern Oregon Chapter of The Climate Reality Project is proud to join other chapters and organizations as a co-sponsor of the event. (A number of Oregonians are involved, please email us if you want to learn more.) Don’t miss Session 4: Policy Sector Coalitions as Ken Berlin, President and CEO of The Climate Reality Project, will be contributing to the panel.

We are also grateful to our Senator Jeff Merkley! Oregon’s climate champion in the senate will be speaking on the first day of the event.

Learn more about the symposium here. Register and Please share!

A Ballad for Climate

Katherine Fredricks
photo by Maria Marsh, used by permission.

Thank you to writer Katherine Fredricks for sharing her story!


In the summer of 1964, 3 civil rights workers were murdered while registering voters in Mississippi.  Civil rights organizers begged singer/activist Harry Belafonte (a close friend of Martin Luther King Jr.) to raise funds to keep their volunteers in the field.

Belafonte organized several benefits and hand delivered more than $70,000 in cash to Mississippi.  The KKK shadowed him from the airport, trying to run the car off the road, and firing guns into the air.  When Belafonte suggested the driver outrun the Klan, the response was, “No, that’s exactly what they want us to do. They got a state trooper up there waiting in his car with the headlights off, ready to arrest us for speeding.  He takes us to the station, lets us out in an hour, and even more of the Klan be waiting for us.  That’s how they work.  That’s how those boys got killed.” 

Belafonte delivered the cash, and led the volunteers in a riotous anthem: “Freedom, freedom.  Freedom come and it won’t be long!” (Read the full story in Belafonte’s biography, “My Song.”)

Whether it’s “We Shall Overcome”, or Billie Holiday’s famous “Strange Fruit,”  music and activism have a long shared history.  But in the decades following the 1960s, activism has been conspicuously absent from the music world.  As Peter, Paul and Mary sang, “But if I really say it, the radio won’t play it.”

Stephen Bennett
Photo by Vanessa Van Burek, used by permission.

Recently, that trend has changed.  Whether it’s parodies of Donald Trump by Randy Rainbow, or “March, March” by the Chicks, protest songs are back!

Composer Stephen Bennett & I had never met before we were partnered in a writing group.  I had just finished temping for a chiropractor whose office got evacuated during the Oregon wildfires.  Stephen has family who were indirectly impacted by the California wildfires.  I have attended several Climate rallies and Stephen saw Greta Thunberg speak in New York last summer.

We started talking about how climate is often represented as a choice between having a life or making a living.  Stephen suggested we write a song about someone who is not a climate “believer,” having an epiphany moment.  So I started wondering, who is having this epiphany? 

Then I remembered seeing a coal miner on TV, saying that his son is a solar installer.  As I researched coal mining, I discovered that cases of black lung disease were up in the last decade.  Which created a problem for this song, because a coal miner suffering from black lung disease cannot sing.  He can barely breathe.

After losing a lot of sleep, I wrote the lyric “I Remember Dad.”  Stephen wrote the awesome music! (Listen on Soundcloud.)  And hey, listen up, renewables are cheaper!  Having a life vs making a living is a false choice!


Katherine Brann Fredricks has had 6 shows in NYC festivals in the last 8 years, winning or nominated for 28 Awards. 

Stephen Wagener Bennett is a writer, composer, director, and dramaturg based in Brooklyn. He has written for new and experimental theatre for the last decade, and holds an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. 

Private Screening: Other Side of the Hill

“Other Side of the Hill” shows how rural communities in Eastern Oregon are reaping economic rewards now by transcending the toxic partisan rhetoric of climate change. Come join our screening and be inspired.

From the filmmaker, James M Parker: “Other Side of the Hill explores the impacts of a changing climate in rural Eastern Oregon – as seen through the eyes of local leaders on the ground. From innovative timber operations in Wallowa County to large scale solar in Lakeview, we amplify the voices of rural communities often left unheard. In a time of unprecedented cultural divide between rural and urban Oregon, we find common ground in an urgency to address a changing landscape.”

View the trailer, which is also on Facebook. View the Facebook Event.

The 30-minute film will be followed by Q&A with the filmmaker James Parker, as well as leaders in Rogue Valley renewable energy initiatives. 

WHEN: On Thursday, October 29, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Thank you to SOCAN-Ashland Climate Action Project for organizing this effort and hosting this as a free private Zoom screening.

Our chapter is glad to offer our support and partner for this event! Other partners include Ashland Works, Climate Reality Project-Southwestern Oregon Chapter, Geos Institute, McCloud Watershed Council, Pollinator Project Rogue Valley, Rogue Community College Earth Club, Southern Oregon Pachamama Alliance, Sustainable Rogue Valley, and Sustainability at Southern Oregon University.  

You must RSVP to attend. Mail to: carmen@socan.eco

Yes We Can! October Solutions

Climate Reality SW Oregon Chapter
Presents
“Yes, We Can!” Climate Solutions

Local efforts. Global efforts. Efforts through science, industry, government initiatives, individual initiatives. This section delivers positive solutions we can learn about, share with others, and support. Read on and see where you can join in on making a livable climate.

Save the planet?! Yes, we can!

Each One of Us Makes a Climate Difference

Self-doubt can dog us all. We all can wonder the following: What can I really do anyway? Does my vote really count? If I delete a phishing email, does it really block the worm that could open the channel to my company’s data and finances? Is there anything really, that I can personally do to change the global climate for the better? The answer is yes.

For all the negative environmental impacts that that destroy ecosystems and atmosphere, and ratchet up a cascade of climate damage, there are practical solutions that we can do to start healing the earth and our climate.

Once we marshal the facts and get a grasp of positives as well as the negatives of climate reality, we will understand that yes, we can save the world. One person can make a difference. A group of people can make a difference.

Integrate Solutions into every Climate Endeavor

This feature section of the Climate Reality SW Oregon Chapter will highlight the solutions that we can do to change the diagnosis for the Earth’s health from dismal to fit. Some of these solutions are in place and can be done today. Some are on the drawing board. Teams of
community, science, government, and individuals are coordinating and collaborating on positive changes.

Stay in Solution, Stay Inspired

Two “gung ho” concepts to get us moving toward solutions:
(1) Remember the three R’s—Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.
(2) Remember the three S’s—Speak up, Share knowledge and resources, Show others how it is done!

The best environmental book on individual effort making a difference is George Saves the World by Lunchtime by Jo Readman and Ley Honor Roberts. This intergenerational story illustrates how George and his Grandpa “save the world” between breakfast and lunch.
How?
> They reduce—use less gas by cycling.
> They re-use—say goodbye to old clothes, books, and toys; they repair items instead of buying new.
> They recycle—they sort plastic, cans, glass, and paper so they can be made into new products.
Super-hero capes are optional!

Your effort. My effort. Global efforts. Our efforts. This section is to remind us that we can positively impact the environment. No action is too little when done with environmental intention for healing.

Start small, or start big, but start learning, acting, and speaking up to heal the planet!

Upcoming “Yes, We Can!” Solutions Post

First solution story will look at the Master Recycler Program (MRP) in Oregon, as demonstrated by the current MRP program sponsored for Linn and Benton Counties in the Willamette Valley. A Fall 2020 Master Recycler Program, jointly facilitated by Oregon State
University Campus Recycling and Republic Services of Corvallis, started its 10-week online training on Sept 28.

Article by Molly Minahan Miller