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.
The Oregon Climate Action Plan, or OCAP, is a comprehensive plan to dramatically reduce climate pollution and protect Oregon’s air and water by systematically increasing the adoption of clean, renewable approaches in transportation, businesses, and buildings. The long-term plan will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly but will also improve health, save money, and create jobs.
What’s new about it?
This plan, authorized by Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 in March 2020, is the most comprehensive and aggressive approach in our state’s history to address the crisis of climate change. You can read the executive order here and follow updates from Governor Brown here.
How comprehensive is the plan?
OCAP is a broad and systematic approach to foster a clean economy, make fuels cleaner, and make buildings more energy-efficient. For example:
Clean Economy: OCAP requires corporate polluters to reduce pollution over time by strengthening the existing pollution-reduction targets and requiring large polluters, by law, to reduce emissions. Large polluters will be required to lower climate pollution levels 45% below 1990 levels by 2035, and at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Clean Fuels: OCAP extends the state’s successful four-year-old Clean Fuels Program, which creates jobs and lowers pollution from fuels by making cleaner options available. The program’s previous goal was to reduce pollution by 10% by 2025. The added goal, to reduce pollution 25% by 2035, is the most ambitious goal for clean fuels in the nation.
Clean Buildings: OCAP requires that new homes and buildings in Oregon be able, by 2030, to produce as much clean energy as they use and to maximize energy efficiency. By broadly applying technologies already in use today, homes and buildings will waste less energy with more efficient heating, cooling, and lighting.
The COVID pandemic and the large-scale movement for racial justice have put a spotlight on the many struggles of Oregonians. How does OCAP help disadvantage populations and communities?
The plan has an intense focus on communities of color and lower-income communities who are more likely to live and work closest to the major pollution sources and thus be harmed most by climate change. For example, OCAP requires state agencies to consult with impacted communities and the Environmental Justice Task Force on climate actions. The plan also prioritizes actions that help impacted communities adapt to climate change and calls for the creation of an interagency work group to address climate harms to impacted communities.
Is there any progress yet?
Yes. In May 2020, twelve state agencies submitted their plans to carry out the Governor’s Executive Order establishing the plan. Agencies with specific directives—ranging from the Department of Environment Quality to the state’s departments of Energy and Transportation—provided detailed plans to achieve major climate progress in Oregon. These include concrete plans for increasing transportation electrification, using cleaner fuels to replace petroleum, installing more infrastructure for clean energy generation and usage, building cleaner and more energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings, reducing food waste, reducing methane emissions from landfills, and mandating better land use planning. You can read the agencies’ detailed plans here
What comes next?
Much is yet to come from both state agencies and advocacy groups across Oregon. For example, by mid-September the Building Codes Division will outline options for achieving the 2030 energy efficiency goal over the next three cycles of updating the state building code. And many of the state’s administrative processes are making individual directives within the governor’s order a reality. In addition, advocacy groups within the Renew Oregon coalition have submitted letters to many agencies to inform their plans, and those groups are exploring how to coordinate their activities and collaborate with the OCAP goals in mind.
What can we do as Oregonians and as Climate Reality Project members to make OCAP successful—and accelerate its gains?
First, we should work to do everything we can as individuals to set an example and reduce our own emissions and overall carbon footprint, by following the advice of Oregon groups like reneworegon.org and international groups like The Climate Reality Project. Then we should require the companies we buy from to meet or exceed their requirements under OCAP—or do business with companies that do. And we should make sure we VOTE to elect or re-elect the officials who will lead with the integrity and urgency that the climate crisis demands. For more information see the Turn Out for Tomorrow initiative of the Climate Reality Project and follow our Oregon legislative activity here.
Rulemaking is an essential part of lawmaking. When the Oregon State Legislature passes a law, that is just the beginning. The law is basically a decree. A new law declares what lawmakers have decided to do, but it says very little about how everyone will need to do it. The how part is called the rulemaking process. It is also the part where the voice of the public is tremendously important.
The voices of Oregon citizens are essential to ensuring the rulemaking process. But because the rulemaking process can sometimes be complex, people who care about issues like climate change do not always know how to take part. To help with that, we put together a ‘Rulemaking 101’ video to help clarify the process.
This video is a conversation featuring Bill Bradbury, former Oregon Secretary of State, and Hogan Sherrow, founder and president of ROCPAC (Rural Oregon Climate Political Action Committee). Questions addressed include ‘what is a rule?’ Answers deal with the examples of recent climate laws, including the new Executive Order (the Oregon Climate Action Plan) passed by the Governor in March 2020.
Click the video as Bill Bradbury and Hogan Sherrow walk us through Rulemaking 101: the power of the public voice and the rulemaking process in Oregon.
We hope you enjoyed the video! To learn more, check out these articles : Rulemaking: The Basics. Check back for new posts, we will be posting also information about public comment periods, as well as the strength building in coalitions.
What exactly IS climate change? Explore the links to learn more. A lot more.
Greenhouse gasses are a natural part of our planetary system. But humans are dumping 152 million tons of global warming pollution into our atmosphere every year–enough to destabilize climate and planetary systems. The effect is catastrophic and our time to deal with it is running out.
Keep scrolling for a lot of links. Because climate change impacts everything, there is a lot to learn. Start where you are. Learn a little. Learn a little more. Because the more you know…
climate change courses
This one. Climate Change: the Science and Global Impact. It’s free online through Edx.org, but for a small fee you can earn a certificate. It is taught by Michael Mann Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University. It’s a big step in terms of jumping in, so if you are not quite ready keep scrolling for other options. There are also other climate change courses available at Edx.org
Experts on Video
Global Weirding by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. Her blog and youtube channel are absolutely chock full of information, delivered in a digestible way. Among her many videos, this answers a question that comes up a lot, what is the difference between climate and weather? Also, check out her TED talk, Let’s Talk About It.
TedTALKs have for decades now been leading the conversation on the human conversation and especially the human imperatives. They have curated a section on Climate Change, but what may frustrate you is how long we have been having this conversation with so little headway! Climate Reality Project founder Al Gore has offered three TED talks, most recently June 2020. The appear here in order of most current. This final of the three, from 2008, seems already a lifetime ago. The information in the 2008 talk is dated, but still relevant.
Trusted Institutions & Reports
The Big Reports are the IPCC, NA4, COP26, SOCCR2, and, for Oregon, the OCCRI reports. These are the gold standard for statistics and analysis. Especially look to the NA4 and Oregon OCCRI, those are very accessible. Ideally, people and governments use the information gathered into these reports to make informed international commitments to keep our earth habitable, such as the Paris Agreement.
COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference/Summit that brings leaders from around the world together to address climate Change. While this isn’t a report per se, the conference generates a tremendous amount of material. More than you can sift through. Some links:
SOCCR2, the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report, which is produced by an interagency working group incorporating North American experts in the US, Mexico, and Canada. This is again a more science-y document, so prepare when you read through it. To access specific topics, look to the dropdown menu from the Chapters tab on the top menu bar.
OCCRI, the Fourth Oregon Climate Assessment Report from the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, published in 2019. Most of what is included is the 2018 NA4 report for the Northwest. But there is also a preceding chapter with basic summaries for Oregon. (Here’s the full report PDF.)
The Paris Agreement. From the tremendous energy of governments, policy makers, economists, and scientists world wide has come a agreement of the highest imperative–literally a road map to how to stabilize the climate and give future (and living) generations a chance. The Paris Agreement must be ratified THIS YEAR and is a big push for The Climate Reality Project and many other climate concerned people and organizations. So far 189 out of 197 parties have ratified the agreement. Learn more about the Paris Agreement.
Listen to this TED talk by Tom Rivett-Carnac, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement with Christiana Figueres. They are also co-authors of The Future We Choose, and have a podcast, Global Optimism.
The US became a signatory to the agreement by Executive Order under President Obama. The Trump Administration is now in the process of withdrawing US support.
Former Vice President Al Gore released a statement and tweeted encouragement to those who are committed the Paris Agreement as a vital step toward a livable planet.
Important! Register to vote. Your voice is important in the global efforts agreed to in The Paris Agreement, and more.
news and blog sites
There are a lot of excellent resources out there from media and institutions addressing climate change. These are but a very few: