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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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

Climate Change Snapshots #3


California is our nation’s environmental umbrella. Although the EPA generally has complete authority to set pollution standards for cars, Section 209 of the Clean Air Act grants CA the power to set its own emissions standards for new motor vehicles through the use of waivers, i.e. – CA has the ability to set a higher standard than the federal government. In addition, other states can opt into CA’s higher standards over the federal ones. 14 states, totaling 40% of the US’s population (states in green) have adopted CA’s standards. With such a large proportion of the nation’s autos covered by the higher standards, automakers are forced to abide by the higher standards or lose money making vehicles that meet two different regulations.

For forty years the EPA has granted all but one of the more than 100 waivers sought by CA and the single denial was later overturned.

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Climate Change Snapshots #2



Think of this bowl as representing the Earth’s sea ice (a hyper accurate visual, clearly). It’s 33% gone – and it’s melting fast.

There is now less sea ice on Earth than at any time in recorded history. Since 1980, the Earth has lost about 1/3rd of its total sea ice volume.

To illustrate how outside of normal climate behaviors the earth is experiencing: In December global sea ice extent fell 4.4 million sq km below average, an event eight standard deviations from the normal range. In other words, the statistical probability of that event happening under past expectations of average is 1 in 30 billion, aka: hugely unlikely aka climate change has disrupted what “normal” climate looks like. Read more

Why are We Marching for Science?

So it begins.

Before the Portland March for Science began at 11 AM on Earth Day 2017, this was the question in my mind. Because it was Earth Day and the March was happening in hundreds of cities worldwide, I decided to think about it in a context broader than just Portland or the United States. Here’s what I came up with.

There are more than seven billion humans on planet Earth right now, which is an objectively spectacular number. As writer David Quammen puts it in his book Spillover: “We’re unique in this history of vertebrates. The fossil record shows that no other species of large-bodied beast — above the size of an ant — has ever achieved anything like such abundance as the abundance of humans on Earth right now.”

And we’re not done achieving abundance. We will probably hit 9 billion in the next two decades. Read more

Climate Change Snapshots #1

CO2 emissions via wine volume from left to right – Total US, Average total MDCs, Total LDCs

Here is the first from a series of snaps I’m doing focusing on some small part of climate change every several weeks: At this point what’s important to me with these postings is to keep engaged with climate change through learning, advocacy and creativity. The posts will range from prescriptive to educational, some hopeful and some laments.

CC Snaps #1:
Trump is allegedly considering pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Semi-briefly – here is why that sucks. Read more

Celebra Dia de los Muertos en Zenger Farm! / Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos at Zenger Farms!


Domingo, 30 de octubre de 1:00-4:00 p.m. en Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97266, celebramos Dia de los Muertos. El dia incluye pintura de caras, arrecifes de coral hecho de confite, haciendo mascaras, construyendo altares, y aprendizaje. El evento será adentro de la granja de Zenger Farm protegido de la lluvia en un espacio muy lindo. No hay costo para el evento.

On Sunday, October 30 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97266, we will be celebrating Dia de Los Muertos. Please join us for a day of face-painting, building candy-coral reefs, making masks, constructing altars, and learning. The event will be inside the Zenger Farm grange and covered from the rain in a beautiful space. The event is no cost.

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The North Pole Is Going Green!: A New Christmas Story, in Which Santa Has an Epiphany

Per Noel by Morburre

Per Noel by Morburre

Dear Parents:

Usually, it’s your children putting pen to paper this time of year, begging me for under-the-tree delivery of all manner of bouncy, cuddly, and flashing treasures. But something’s changed here in Christmas Town. Though the elves and I had hoped it might just be a few “off” years weather-wise, we can no longer deny it: The North Pole is melting. Our land of snowpeople, icicles, and eternal winter is turning . . . green.

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