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What I’ve Recently Learned from Reading Climate Change Articles

By: Alan Smith of the 350PDX SE Neighborhood team

Photo from 350.org flickr account

When reading climate change articles, I have often felt frustrated with how vague their statements have been, or with the narrowness of their focus. Joe Romm, the author who has written the majority of the articles I’ve read, seems to share this feeling. He wrote, “One of the greatest failings of the climate science community (and the media) is not spelling out as clearly as possible the risks we face on our current emissions path, as well as the plausible worst-case scenario, which includes massive ecosystem collapse.”

I thought others may not have read this kind of information either, so I have put together the key bits and pieces from the articles (to which I’ve provided links below) to share with you. Most of what is written below is copied from these articles. I hope you will find this informative and interesting.

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September Climate Science News Roundup

What role did climate change play in recent catastrophic hurricanes? What’s going on in the Pacific Ocean? How can we tell what sea level looked like in the past? Find answers to these questions and more in this month’s climate science round-up.

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350PDX Arts Team Lead Works with PPS Youth to Create Children’s Climate Opera

by Donna Murphy

Credit: Donna

“Did you know that you have a constitutional right to a clean environment?” asked Julia Olson, lawyer for the Our Children’s Trust lawsuit. The answer would have been a resounding NO or silence at the beginning of an after school class I taught last year. Four days each week, January – May, I worked with about a dozen 4th-6th graders at an East Multnomah County elementary school to create an original opera entitled “Kids Teach Kids Climate Change”, which we performed this spring.

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Don’t frack with me: How to stop the Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline

The Jordan Cove Methane Monster

Imagine that in 40 years’ time you are hiking the Eagle Creek trail with your favorite children and teens. It is 85 degrees in early March, and you remember a time when temperatures were much cooler. You think back before greenhouse emissions started to level off, to the fire of 2017. That was the summer of smoke and ash. That’s when Portlanders got a reminder that clean air, never to be taken for granted, can change as quickly as the wind changes direction. The water still falls in cascades in the Gorge, past lichen that grows nowhere else on the planet. Although there are signs of devastation on the trail, you also see abundant green signs of a forest recreating itself.

One of the young people asks you about that year of the fire, the hurricanes, and the floods, when it became so clear that climate disruption was escalating. She says, “People knew about the dangers of fracked gas and methane then, right? Did you know?” She pauses, “What did you do to stop it from coming to Oregon?” Read more

Activism News Roundup #7

credit: 350.org in Bangladesh

Even for those of us already concerned about the earth and its climate, September’s extreme weather has been a wake-up call. Time is not on our side as we watch so many communities withstand hurricanes and earthquakes, sometimes in rapid succession. It is more important than ever to stay focused, to lift up the brave activists fighting for their communities and for our earth, and to remember which communities are most impacted by the changing climate and the proliferation of fossil fuels.

Here are stories of people taking action all around the world from recent weeks. Read more

Hurricane Harvey and the Future of Oregon’s Rural Counties

The beginning of the year’s above average precipitation began in the Southeast corner of the state in some of its most rural counties

Flooding in Oregon in early 2017 damaged many rural roads. Hurricane Harvey is expected to do the same in Texas; dumping an additional 1-3 feet of rain in the days after 2.5 feet of rain had already fallen in the first three days of the storm. Harvey previews future flood-problems for Oregon’s rural roads, while also lending  insight into how simple things such as simply being more careful with one another can save as many lives as rebuilding the physical infrastructure that connects us.

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350PDX Pipe Dreams: Federal Agencies vie for fastest plan to end fossil fuel projects

As of August 18, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will no longer accept proposals for siting permits of fossil fuel projects. The decision comes two days after 20,000 people drove their cars into downtown Washington DC, filled their gasoline tanks with sugar and slashed their tires, effectively disabling them. The streets surrounding the National Mall and the White House were also blocked by dead cars. Read more

350PDX Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams is a new project to write about the wildest, most far-reaching positive future scenarios we can imagine.

This is a challenge to pick up your pen and paper, or dust off your chunky home computer, and have some fun. What is the news article you want to read tomorrow morning that heralds the most unbelievably positive climate news? What headlines would make your heart sing with joy? What can you see while sitting on your back stoop–after all of our hard work in climate justice has paid off? Read more