By Rebecca Carrillo
After one of the most tumultuous years of the 21st century, we are finally mid-way through what most people hope is a new start. A new president has taken office, Covid-19 cases are beginning to decline, and a glimmer of “normal” life has returned. In the midst of all these changes, where does the environment stand? The pandemic has taken a toll on both humanity and nature. Neglect and lack of support have compounded environmental complications that already existed before our world changed. Despite this, there are some things that have improved. While most people were focused on their personal lives or their work, here are three instances, at various scales, of groups and individuals who have made environmental strides in Oregon this year.
The Environment Research & Policy Center is a nonprofit organization that supports the development of environmental policies. Earlier this month, the group released a report on renewable energy across the United States and the nation’s capacity to build a clean energy future. It highlights Oregon with all the other states, saying that the US already has enough resources to sustain itself on renewable energy. According to 24/7 Wall Street, Oregon is “one of only six states where half of all electricity is produced from renewables.” Through the utilization of hydroelectricity and wind turbines, Oregon has made progress in the field of green energy and excellently sets a precedence.
On a more relaxed note, eight breweries from Oregon have teamed up with the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts (COLT) to create “The Oregon I Am” project. The goal of this project is to reach out to the public and raise awareness to the conservation actions of COLT while also celebrating the beauty of Oregon’s natural spaces. Eight different beers were crafted with flavors that reflect ingredients grown in Oregon and have special artwork depicting Oregon landscapes. COLT works to conserve land by collaborating with nonprofit environmental groups and supporting particular policies at the state and federal level. By involving the community, not only do the local breweries and COLT financially benefit, but so does Oregon and its environment.
Finally, here at 350 Deschutes, we have cause to celebrate! Bend City Council has passed a resolution opposing the oil trains operating in the town. This news comes as a result of the actions by dedicated people involved in 350 Deschutes and others in Bend. As of June 2nd, Bend is part of a larger movement across the northeast acting to stimulate awareness on the issue of railways carrying fossil fuels. These trains pose a problem to the green spaces and neighborhoods that they move through. The resolution, while symbolic, is a step in the right direction to mitigating the environmental risks and creating a safer, more sustainable future in Bend.
Bulletin, BRENNA VISSERThe. “Bend City Council Votes to Oppose Oil by Rail.” The Bulletin, 3 June 2021, www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/bend-city-council-votes-to-oppose-oil-by-rail/article_5e820ee6-c3f1-11eb-9b1c-bb7155c71387.html.
“We Have The Power.” Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center, 2021, environmentoregoncenter.org/feature/amc/we-have-the-power.
“New Report: Oregon and Nation Are on the Verge of a Renewable Future.” Environment Oregon, 2021, environmentoregon.org/news/ore/new-report-oregon-and-nation-are-verge-renewable-future.
Stebbins, Samuel, and Grant Suneson. “This Is How Much Renewable Energy Your State Produces.” 24/7 Wall Street, 14 June 2021, 247wallst.com/special-report/2021/06/14/this-is-how-much-renewable-energy-your-state-produces-2/10.
“Oregon Breweries Team Up with Land Trusts.” Portland Mecury, 2021, www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown.