On Thursday, about 115 people attended a talk about the role each of us can play in helping to combat climate change. Mary DeMocker, a Eugene resident, was the speaker. She is author of the highly acclaimed book “The Parents Guide to Climate Revolution”. She stressed effective and empowering actions, not only for those with children, but for everyone. The talk was sponsored by the MidCoast Watersheds Council, 350.org Central Coast, and the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Newport Group.
DeMocker said that far from scaring kids, helping them and supporting them take action makes for happier and more engaged children. She also insisted that you can “stop blaming yourself”. You don’t have to give up your SUV or eating meat or similar. “While those lifestyle actions feel good and do matter, they won’t save us”. She mentioned the latest scientific studies that said we have about 12 years to turn things around; warming and its effects are accelerating and will get worse, with more severe fires, tornados, hurricanes, and droughts. Democker insisted that “there are easy things we can do to change our system—not just our light bulbs”.
It is easy to get overwhelmed, DeMocker said, but focus on “identifying the big prize, the thing that will pull us back from the tipping point.” That thing is bold policy changes that will quickly slash emissions to cut back on climate pollution and transition the U.S. to 100% renewables by 2030. Scientists say it can and must be done. Then focus, she said on identifying “what blocks the big prize”. There are many key elected officials that are heavily influenced by coal, oil, gas and other polluting industries. We can all work to make that information public, actively oppose bad policies and support clean energy candidates. Other effective actions would be to sever any ties you have with JP Morgan Chase, that she says is the “worse offender” for funding oil pipelines. Check too that your bank or credit union supports clean energy endeavors and doesn’t invest in such funding.
Bill Kucha, of 350.org Central Coast, urged people to understand the power of their political voices. The Northwest has been dubbed The Thin Green Line, “where energy projects go to die,” since not one of the dozens of new fossil fuel projects that have been proposed since 2013 to help export oil and gas to Asia has gone through, mostly due to fierce public opposition. However, one of the projects, the Jordon Cove Liquified Natural Gas terminal, including the pipeline that would disrupt hundreds of salmon streams, as it traverses our state on its way to Coos Bay, is back under consideration, after two earlier denials. Kucha says that a private corporation would export fracked gas to Asia from a terminal sited on what geologists have called “one of the most dangerous tsunami subduction zones in North America. “It’s important to learn about this project, talk with neighbors, write to our governor and agencies, and show up at key hearings now to register our opposition.”
According to Paul Engelmeyer, chair of the MidCoast Watersheds Council, the crowd, far from being discouraged, seemed excited and empowered to act. “Our forests, marshes and riparian lands can offer important carbon storage benefits, he said, “and we additionally get clean water and salmon while we do so.” He urged people to support local groups working toward habitat protection and climate action. “We also hope people pick up a copy of Mary’s book, it’s an easy and empowering read”. The book is available from the publisher, New World Library, local bookstores or your library.”