Time to Act on the Climate Crisis

Evan Manvel

It’s time to act on the climate crisis.

This summer, Oregon has faced its largest wildfire in over 100 years – the 871-square-mile Long Draw fire, harming ranchers and critical sage grouse habitat and requiring financial bail-outs from the state and federal governments (i.e. taxpayers).

Our grocery bills are going up, thanks to America’s biggest drought in generations. America's electric bills are jumping, as we consume more energy to keep us cool amidst our hottest year on record. Our infrastructure is falling apart under the heat. Greenland’s tremendous ice sheet is melting, we’ve had more than 23,000 record high temperatures this year, and our heat wave caused at least three dozen deaths in America, as well as hundreds overseas.

These are real consequences of a sweltering climate, hitting Americans in our homes and our wallets. One pundit frames global warming as a "an economic tax on the middle class." And the legislators who have been dragging their feet on the climate crisis - from both parties - should have these consequences on their consciences.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer has long been ready to take on the climate crisis, calling for a cap or price on carbon, better fuel efficiency and transportation choices, and increased investment in clean energy. Blumenauer argues “some of today’s policymakers... will live long enough to regret ... their short-sighted devotion to politics of the moment over the future of the planet and of their very families.”

This isn’t some theoretical problem, far off in the future. This is a concrete problem, today, and there are clear actions we can take:

We all have a role to play in this – at the city level, the state level, the national level, and the international level.

Continuing to dither and dig ourselves deeper into this hole for political expediency, promising we’ll get to this problem later, will mean more floods across the globe, more droughts, and more economic damage to families across Oregon.

That’s not an acceptable path. It’s time to get moving.

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    We need to lead in Portland. Not just in spirit, but in deed.

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    I recommend that policymakers, attorneys, and activists read the essay "“Regenerating the Human Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment in the Commons Renaissance”. It's lengthy (over 200 pages), but it's a fantastic summary of the law as it stands, a systemic critique, and an introduction to current developments and needed local, state, and federal actions.

    The downloadable pdf is available at: http://www.commonslawproject.org/

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    We can also pass Measure 80 in November and develop green energy from hemp seed and oil extract. Hemp seed oil is a great energy source and the by-product is a high protein seed cake with all of the essential fatty acids and omega oils. And it produces abundant bio-mass for energy production. Only needs about a third of the water a corn crop requires.

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    I am confident that there are many more people than post on BO who are aware that the transfer of 150 million tons of coal from Montana and Wyoming to China is a disaster that is rivaled only by the Keystone pipeline and the tar sands debacle. How is it then that only one major Portland politician is willing to take this on?

    If one watches the great new drama on HBO, Newsroom, one witnesses the reality that NO ONE is taking on these issues. Consider the cost in infrastructure. No doubt you have seen the slick adds that claim that cash strapped schools will benefit by the terminals to transfer this toxic mess. Yet on BO the perennial end timer has said, "Good." I guess that we have to recognnize that for the Bible Thumpers Satan is the ruler of the air and since God is more powerful we can not do any harm. Daddy won't let that happen. And that is the pathetic reality of how fundamentalists have totally screwed us up. But thanks anyway, Bill.

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    All manners of reducing emissions are important But on a global basis, I see no slow down in the race to de-sequester the remaining carbon stored underground. eg. How crazy is it that global warming is opening up the Arctic Ocean to those who would extract more carbon to cause more global warming.

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    Fabulous post Evan. People need to dig out Sam Adams' "climate change plan", accepted by the City Council, which is excellent, and lay it before Charlie and Jefferson, and Tri-Met and Metro, and the folks who are still pushing the CRC. People need to call Kitzhaber up on why he's letting Oregon continue to ignore its legislative commitments to climate change, which are substantial, and why he doesn't bring to a halt the CRC, which is, as you say, in direct conflict with curbing climate change.


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