This blog post was co-produced by Khanh Pham with OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and Adam Brunelle, a 350PDX Board Member. Given the broad range of convictions, analyses, and strategies within our community, 350PDX is neutral on HB2020 as an organization, but we encourage our volunteers and supporters to continue to engage in the crucial work of crafting just, ambitious, precedent-setting climate legislation for Oregon.
You can find a companion blog post in support of HB2020 here.
To our friends and allies in 350PDX,
We are deeply grateful to you for hearing us. When the 350PDX board chose to remain neutral on House Bill 2020, we felt that someone in the climate movement was finally acknowledging that important disagreements exist, and that frontline communities around the country and world believe we can and must do better.
Let us remember what we all agree upon. We share the urgency of the moment with all of you. Every one of us is terrified about the signs of climate breakdown. The warnings get worse, the impacts have been here for decades and now are undeniable, and there’s no national leadership on climate. But we must not let our sense of urgency turn to desperation to accept anything- especially not ineffective, false solutions. The economists behind carbon trading make bold claims that are not supported by the evidence or the experience of our communities.
HB2020 allows polluters to continue polluting by gaming the system. California’s carbon trading law, already 6 years old, has not done much at all to reduce emissions. 350 shouldn’t support an approach that fails to reach its emissions reduction goals. But beyond carbon reductions, there is also great potential for harm from carbon trading. Richmond, California’s refinery-impacted Black community members have seen emissions in their backyards rise under carbon trading. Refineries are pouring more carbon into the air than they were a decade ago. The health of Black people in Richmond is further decimated as a result. These frontline communities don’t support HB2020’s trading regime.
Replicating California’s harmful failure would be irresponsible. The world is watching Oregon. If we repeat their mistakes we set a bad example for Washington and everywhere else. Our fear, and the fear of international communities watching who signed the letter opposing HB2020, is that legislators replicate a system of offsets, allowances, and trading proven ineffective in California, and then declare victory.
What we learned from the Portland Clean Energy Fund campaign, which we won with nearly 2/3 of voters in favor, is that holding major corporations accountable and funding a transition to clean energy is possible, and voters will support it. The business community cried foul over PCEF for the exact reason it was so popular: it actually holds big businesses accountable.
A working proposal should include a diminishing cap. Polluters should pay for the harm their pollution causes, reduce pollution, and fund direct investments to frontline communities. Carbon regimes relying on trading, offsets, and allowances are unjust, ineffective and harmful. The negative impacts, potential for manipulation, and failure to reduce pollution tell us that carbon trading is the wrong approach to achieve climate justice here or anywhere. We have done our research to offer a list of resources for readers to better understand our position. We invite 350PDX members to engage with these resources so we can work toward a shared understanding of climate justice. Take action to support our position here.
Khanh Pham, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Adam Brunelle, 350PDX Board Member
This comment period is now over. Over 42,500 comments were submitted to FERC. Read more about it here. Thank you to all of you who commented, ran or attended comment writing workshops, and got your friends, family, coworkers, and anyone else who would listen to engage in this essential process!
The Clean Energy Jobs bill, HB2020, has generated much debate and dramatically divergent opinions, both within the Oregon climate community and within 350PDX. Our allies, our staff, and our volunteers are sharply divided: some argue that the bill represents an important and realistic step forward, while others hold that its provisions are both inadequate and unjust.
After weeks of discussion and consultation, 350PDX’s Board of Directors has decided not to take an organizational position on HB2020. This decision represents a consensus of the board, as informed by meetings of the organization’s leadership. We believe that our formal organizational neutrality on this issue is both necessary and accurate, given the broad range of convictions, analyses, and strategies within our community.
Many of our volunteers have poured countless hours over a number of years into making HB2020 a reality. We are grateful for the dedication of our State Legislative Team, and we hope they continue their important work to strengthen the bill. At the same time, we fully acknowledge and deeply appreciate the dissenting views of those within our organization and among our allies that oppose this legislation.
As we build a diverse, grassroots movement, we recognize — and celebrate! — that 350PDX is not a monolith. We are a volunteer-driven organization. Volunteer energy gets the work done and makes us strong. We want to continue to foster that energy and to support this organization as a vehicle for a wide range of ideas and strategies to take on the climate crisis.
We also want to acknowledge that the endorsement process around this bill — or, rather, lack of clear process — has been acutely painful for many of our key volunteers and for our staff. The past several months have been emotionally fraught and for some frankly agonizing. We’re grateful for the honesty, vulnerability, and passion that our community has brought to this question, and we hope that a formal position of neutrality will now allow us to move forward together on the many fronts of our important work.
We intend to continue the dialogue around HB2020 as well, and will be inviting both proponents and opponents of the bill to share their reasoning with our community. We believe that when we embrace our differences with empathy and courage, they can in fact make us stronger.
We are neutral on HB2020 as an organization, but we encourage our volunteers and supporters to continue to engage in the crucial work of crafting just, ambitious, precedent-setting climate legislation for Oregon. In addition to this statement, we will be sending out some guidelines to help our volunteers communicate about our neutral position with allies and legislators.
We are not neutral in our commitment to building a diverse grassroots movement to address the causes of climate disruption through justice-based solutions. That is our mission, and — although we may sometimes disagree on how best to realize it — our community is united behind it.
The long wait is finally over … 350PDX is very happy and excited to announce the hiring of Jessica Beckett as our new Executive Director!
Jessica Beckett is an organizer of people and a champion for justice. Born in Denver and raised on the glorious Hood Canal in Washington, her formative years were immersed deeply in the many wonders of nature. Jessica’s organizing career began in high school, where she fought the administration to retain a curriculum that honestly addressed America’s role in the Vietnam War. At 19, she became a National Delegate to the Democratic National Convention for Congressman Kucinich, igniting her passion to change our political and social systems. Jessica has served on numerous political campaigns and non-profits, culminating in her role as Field Director for the 2018 Portland Clean Energy Initiative. We are excited to see how she will use her energy, skills and knowledge in continuing to fight for the mission of 350PDX.
350PDX will be announcing a date for a meet and greet, where you will be able to stop by the office and meet her, until then, please check out her bio on our website. Keep your eyes open for this announcement.
Over the past months board members, volunteers and staff spent many hours reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates to help us find the right person, through that process they recommended Jessica — thank you for your hard work and dedication.
We would also like to thank and acknowledge Katy Kolker and Anais Tuepker who served as Interim Executive Directors over the past 14 months. Their help and dedication to our mission has been invaluable to helping us transition to a stronger and unified organization.
The staff and board of 350PDX
What does it mean for the climate movement to welcome and include everyone? How would we have to act differently, to make this happen? Why is it important for 350PDX, and what does it mean for each of us, personally?
These kinds of necessary questions framed 350PDX’s weekend leadership retreat on the theme of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI for short). JEDI values have always been present in our mission, but we haven’t always prioritized making sure they lived and breathed in all of our organizing, our internal spaces, or our relationships. With the guidance of Marcelo Bonta, who has been an advocate and trainer working on JEDI in the environmental/climate movement for over a decade, we took two days to dig deep into where we are now, and where we’d like to be.
Day 1 brought about 25 of 350PDX’s staff, Board and lead volunteers together to share diverse dimensions of our identities, discuss and define what JEDI would look like at 350PDX, and assess our organizational culture through a JEDI lens. We also discussed difficult terms that we needed to define, like power and privilege, which need to be recognized to be used in meaningful alliance with frontline communities. We talked about white supremacy culture and the way it has shaped the norms of the mainstream environmental and climate movement. We can go about working towards more inclusive norms that create a better environment for everyone. We ended the day with observations and recommendations for the organization as a whole.
- Supporting staff with adequate pay and benefits is an equity issue
- Reducing harm, being more intentionally welcoming, and providing more fun and time for relationship building in our climate organizing spaces
- Providing safety and support to those who bring up hard issues is an area where we need to improve
- An important aspect of being more equitable and inclusive is recognizing existing and historic social justice struggles and having them take precedence over the fast-paced demands of our climate activism
The group also posed some important questions:
- How will we get all of our volunteer teams to gain and incorporate JEDI skills in their work?
- How do we make 350PDX’s active work on diversity and inclusion more visible, so that people of different races, ages, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds will feel welcomed into our work?
The JEDI Work Group, established in October 2018, has been charged with carrying this work forward into a comprehensive plan. On Day 2, the JEDI workgroup of 10 volunteers and 350PDX staff met to review and discuss these observations and questions. Over the next few months, this group will be refining our definitions of terms and developing a JEDI statement outlining 350PDX’s history, current actions and future goals in this critical area.
In coming months the workgroup will be reaching out across the organization to gather feedback for a vision statement, as well as working with staff to develop or find and promote the trainings our volunteers need to thrive in doing this JEDI work. Eventually we’d like every volunteer team to have a JEDI who takes on making sure this work in incorporated into every team’s actions.Think you might be your team’s JEDI? Let Anissa know you’re interested with an email to email@example.com.
Growth and change are rarely easy, and we have work to do that might sometimes be uncomfortable for those of who already feel welcome and at home at 350PDX. Our retreat made clear that we share a commitment to creating that feeling of community and solidarity for all, empowering and nurturing us all to act against climate chaos. As one retreat participant wrote, “We are strongest when everyone is included and working together. The movement needs all of us.”
(Written by Anais Tuepker, Lucy Kennedy-Wong, Anissa Pemberton, 4/5/2019)
I volunteered to become the most vile and justifiably loathed creature in modern times – the methane monster. The monster that adds to global warming by trapping heat 86 times more potently than carbon. Some call it a ‘bridge fuel’ but only because they stand to benefit financially. It’s everywhere. It’s what we call ‘natural gas’ and ‘fracked gas’. It comes from cow burps, and rotting vegetation. It even seeps up and sometimes explodes out of the melting permafrost. We need to stop it. So I volunteered to take the ridicule and become methane personified in a creatively fashioned large purposely ugly costume.
As the personification of methane I was able to get in touch with its power and potency. I growled and took in a stance like a Maori warrior whose native lands are being overtaken by sea level rise. I jumped in the air, skeleton hands raised high and shouted ‘BOOM’. I grasped at the innocent by standers and shouted, ‘I want to testify. I am death’. I went to entertain the supporters of the Pacific Connector Pipeline and Jordan Cove liquid fracked gas plant. I wanted dialog but one can’t reason with methane so I shouted ‘BOOM’ in hope they would see how deadly dangerous I can be to them.
CLEAN ENERGY JOBS LOBBY DAY & NOON RALLY Oregon State Capitol, Salem Feb. 6TH, 2019 9 am – 4 pm THE BILL Clean Energy Jobs is a policy to put a limit and price on climate pollution from the largest polluters in the state. It will secure greenhouse gas reductions and reinvestment into communities across […]