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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The Political Science of a Solar Eclipse

Path of places in Oregon the total eclipse will be visible August 21, 2017

Solar irradiance on land is about 1000 watts per square meter at sea level on a clear day, like when the moon is not in the way. On the 21st of this month here in Oregon, solar irradiance is going to suddenly drop to about 1 watt per square meter in places like Salem, Warm Springs (momentarily not so warm), and Prineville. Weather will change for a bit, but climate will not. The solar eclipse will help some politicians escape the confusion between the two. Some will be left behind. Read more

5 Actions To Take After the Portland Women’s March

January 21, 2017, the day after Inauguration Day, we marched. Women in Washington DC, women in Portland, women in cities all around the nation, the world. And men too. Men who stand in solidarity and support equal rights for all. We came together in the rain, in the cold. We came together in the sun and the heat. We came with our signs and our pussyhats, our fists raised and our voices uplifted. We came with our rage, our nasty, our love, our hope. We came to march. We came to unify. We came to be heard.

Crowd estimates for the Portland march alone range from 70,000-100,000. I was one of those thousands. My husband marched beside me. A handful of dear friends, too. And others, faces I didn’t know, but recognized as sisters and brothers who want to move forward, not back, sisters and brothers wanting a kinder and more just America, a future different than what our new President is offering.

But Saturday was only the start. Day one. And the road will most certainly be long and windy and most likely uphill. So it is not enough to simply march. We will need to do more. But what? I have five suggestions for you. Read more

Reflections on a Weekend of Post-Inauguration Actions

I didn’t watch or listen to any of the inauguration. What I did instead, in response to the disturbing transition in our government, was get out and participate in a few of the many activities that happened around Portland this weekend. There were many events I missed, but I managed to take part in several that, with their different formats and focal points, gave me ideas for how to engage in the struggle for our climate and our civil liberties. Here are four options, from four different stimulating and encouraging events: Read more

Back to School: Impact of Climate Change on Education

Students across Oregon are now back in school. Due to a warming climate, for many agricultural families, the growing seasons no longer coincide with the school year. Families have to pull their children out of school earlier, and some students are falling behind.

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Visualizing data for activism

The Tactical Technology Collective is creating great resources for data visualization in advocacy. These are great tools in the fight for climate justice and social justice.

 

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Credit: https://visualisingadvocacy.org/sites/drawingbynumbers.ttc.io/files/VIFA_singlepage_small.pdf

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Cowspiracy Film Review

Hi, my name is Miko Vergun and I am the editorial intern at 350PDX. A few facts about me: I teach myself how to play piano, ukulele, guitar, and dance. I am also 15 years old. This year, I get to do many other things at 350PDX but my main job is watching movies and writing film reviews. This is part of my job because I am trying to find out what are the right movies to engage more people especially youth, in this movement. Since it is my job to write film reviews, I will always find good points to write about. However, it is also my job to be honest, so I will also have something to criticize. Just to reassure you guys, I will do my best to not come off as attacking the director(s) or the movie.

Anyways, the first movie that I am doing a film review oncowspiracy is called Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. For those who don’t know, Cowspiracy is a documentary focusing on exposing the harm of livestock agriculture. To be honest, I didn’t really like it. Personally, I would give it a 4 out of 10. I don’t really want to recommend it to anyone because of the way the director’s opinions were displayed, but I’ll go into that later. Read more

Showing Up (for Housing and Racial Justice)

This piece is adapted to add local context from an email blast sent by May Boeve of 350.org on July 19, 2016.

dont-shoot-18Friends,

It’s hard to know what to do in times like these, with violence, xenophobia, and hate on the rise. As an organization dedicated specifically to working on climate change, we’ve wrestled with how to engage with what feels like a historic moral and political moment.

The climate crisis affects all of us, but it doesn’t affect all of us equally. Climate change dramatically magnifies inequalities like race, consistently hitting Black, brown, Indigenous, and poor communities first and hardest. Climate justice is inextricably tied to the fights against racism, economic inequality, and hate. Read more

Guest Editorial: Climate Denial and the Oregonian

On May 26th the Oregonian published an editorial criticizing the Portland Public Schools for passing a resolution on climate change and the school curriculum. The editorial uses the term critical thinking three times and claims that the PPS are failing to teach it.

Part of critical thinking is learning to recognize sincere and legitimate discussion and understand the difference between that and efforts at fear-mongering, self-aggrandizement and manipulation. This editorial is so clearly the latter that the only thing the editorial actually says is something about the political posture of the Oregonian editorial staff.

The editorial states “After the applause died, the board, Esparza Brown included, turned right around and indicated that some viewpoints — those that challenge the thinking of climate-change activists — may not be tolerable after all.”

We are talking about science here, not viewpoints, beliefs, personal opinions or the thinking of activists (who don’t all agree with each other anyway). What the PPS did is to decide to update their curriculum to reflect the current state of climate science.

Already in 2010, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) declared anthropogenic (human caused) climate change to be a settled fact.

For the Portland Public Schools to be following the lead of a prestigious and conservative organization like the NAS is not the slightest bit controversial. And the NOAA, NASA, MIT, British MET and every other major institution worldwide that studies the climate has the same conclusion and has for some years now. The science is settled. Read more

A First Time Arrestee’s Report from Break Free

6320d49a-0e20-4270-8bfa-3e9668f32b8dA first time arrestee’s report from the oil train blockade at March Point, Anacortes, Washington., May 13-15, 2016.

“This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around.”

Day 1

I awaken to the crunch of footsteps on loose gravel, the roar of passing vehicles on Highway 20 and the snapping of our flags. They rise above the 12ft tall painter’s scaffolding that we erected over the railroad tracks.

What am I doing here? Read more