Every bill with real solutions to climate change is important right now. Among the most hopeful for this Legislative Session in Oregon is HB 2021, sponsored by Southern Oregon Representative, Pam Marsh.
HB 2021 A is moving through committees and support of the bill with comments and testimony couldn’t be more important. The bill accelerates electrification of the Oregon power grid, and offers jobs for Oregonians in communities across the state in a transition focused on community-based projects, affordability, and disaster resilience.
One key opportunity for southwestern and coastal Oregon is the excitement around Offshore Wind energy. Bill Bradbury, a long time advocate of offshore wind and former Oregon State Senator and Oregon Secretary of State joined the meeting to offer testimony in support of the bill.
You can also offer your support for this bill by submitting written comments. To submit a comment, link directly to the 2021 A Legislative Information page, select an upcoming hearing date, and click to leave a comment. If there is no immediate hearing date available, email Pam Marsh, or Khanh Pham–and your own Oregon House Representative–or their staff to let them know of your support.
Positive thinking is living in the solution, not the problem. When faced with environmental damage, let’s use the real, tangible, already available solutions to turn negative into positive.
There is a place in Oregon this fall to learn actions that can sustain our planet—aka the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This virtual 10-week class examines landfill science, composting, electronic and hazardous waste disposal, and costs and benefits of recycling.
The Master Recyclers Program (MRP) explores how wise materials management can decrease the amount of stuff we use, and then waste, to begin with.
Voila! The need, and costs, to recycle are decreased at the beginning of the consumption cycle.
Oregon State University and Republic Services facilitators are guiding this annual 10-week program. Tino Barreras is Republic’s Education and Outreach facilitator for Linn and Benton counties. Andrea Norris brings her expertise as Marketing and Development Coordinator for OSU’s Campus Recycling.
Please note: This fall’s Linn/Benton program is currently full. In Oregon, however, Master Recycler Programs are held statewide; please check the Resources section at the end of this article for other MRP opportunities.
Highlighting Diversity Expands Outreach
The current Master Recyclers program welcomes diverse participants to learn how recycling aids sustainability.
This online class is free to Linn and Benton County residents who commit to share their learning with 30 hours of volunteer outreach, within a year of course completion.
“It’s exciting that the online class will extend the reach of who can participate,” said Republic’s Barreras. “It’s a diverse group, who will work in small groups and get to know each other.”
Volunteer activities can include: staffing an information table at a local market or event, leading a workshop, talking to neighbors and local groups, or pitching in at a recycle or re-use organization.
The trained volunteers will be able to present pathways of change so people of all ages know that individual efforts—like what to recycle, what not to recycle—have a tangible effect on climate health.
Originally an in-person class in previous years, this MRP class meets on Zoom: Mondays, 6-8pm, Sept 28 to Dec 7 (no class Nov. 23). Discussion and question sessions will be held on two Thursdays, Oct 22 and Nov 19, 6-7pm.
The course structure uses an overview of recycle processes that most of us are familiar with, but are not sure exactly how much they make a difference. So many questions:
What happens to those recycles I put in my bin?
When waste goes to the landfill, how long is it expected to stay there?
Does composting make a difference?
The professionals will share solutions they see on the horizon, but will also encourage participants to share solution ideas from their perspectives.
Waste Professionals Seek Community Ideas
“Each participant will take their knowledge into their wider community. It’s an ever-expanding network,” Barreras said.
From campus-wide to community-wide, sustainability is honed by understanding and connection among people. The Master Recycler Program’s new online format will also support breaking into small groups to get to know people and learn about ideas and challenges of others. Joining with other will widen the circle of influence of positive environmental change.
Materials Management and Waste Prevention
The lifecycle of waste, from extraction or growth to end of life, is the big picture of this class. Remember the 3 R’s to a sustainable planet—Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. Recycling processes are only part, albeit a critical part, of the bigger material management picture. Re-use means using a material or a product again for another purpose or even for the same purpose. Reduce means to re-use or to avoid purchasing; this leads to no waste—i.e., zero waste.
Zero waste–that is, no waste to start with—is the ultimate recycle strategy. Reducing our purchases eliminates money needed to (1) extract resource, transport; (2) manufacture, transport; (3) sell, transport; (4) trash, transport; (5) bury or burn. Carbon emissions decrease.
Buying and trading will always be a way of interchange and economy vitality. However, both businesses and buyers will want to consider carefully what products they want to support in our local and global marketplace.
Sustainability and MRP Are Statewide
Both individuals and businesses in Oregon have resources and ideas to both build our economy, and protect the environment as we move forward.
Here in Oregon, a viable, active program of education, participation, and outreach is embodied in the Master Recycler Programs. The MRP classes and resources can be found throughout the state of Oregon, by searching on your web browser. The classes are sponsored by a diverse combination of private and public organizations, depending on the region.
Feel free to use the following resources to learn how waste recycling and management supports our economy and environment at the same time.
Oregon Business and Science Joint Environmental Resources
Linn & Benton Master Recyclers’ Program:
Andrea Norris, 541-737-5398 Marketing & Development Coordinator, Oregon State University Campus Recycling
Tino Barreras, 541-286-3331 Municipal Administrator/Education & Outreach, Republic Services
Drawdown the CO2 Emissions: Reverse Global Warming by 2050
We don’t have to feel the pain of seeing temperatures rise, ice and snow packs melt, or migrants having to flee coastal or equatorial regions because of climate damage. The big news that each of us needs to know is that comprehensive, real solutions–ones that we can implement locally–already exist or are on the current drawing board. If we take part in implementing these changes in our communities, it is possible to “roll back global warming by 2050.”
Join fellow Oregonians and others for a five-session online course that presents 100 current, specific, substantive solutions. Two hundred scientists and researchers from 22 countries identify and model answers that each of us can put into practice into our own local places of living and community.
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.