It’s time to change 3,698,622,000 light bulbs

Ok, maybe you had a bad experience with a compact fluorescent once. But does that mean you’ll never be happy without Edison’s glowing incandescent bulb? With all due respect to Thomas Alva, it’s time to move on from a bulb that creates 90% heat and only 10% light. Lighting creates 1,900 million tons of carbon pollution each year. That seems like a lot. But as of 2010, the U.S. alone had about 8.2 billion light sockets in homes, buildings, streetlights, stoplights, stadiums and more—and 3,698,622,000 were incandescent. Can we please have efficient lighting ...

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If you are like more than 70% of Oregonians, some of your drinking water comes from wells and other groundwater sources. Approximately 23% of Oregonians rely on private wells as their primary source of water – to drink, to bathe in, and to cook their food. Yet this valuable water source can become contaminated. Earlier this month the Medford Mail Tribune took a deep look at one such contaminant affecting Jackson County: arsenic. Jackson County is not alone. Similar problems exist across the state, but for years state agencies have not had the resources to monitor ...

2015 Legislative Roundup: and now for some good news

July marked the end of the 2015 legislative session. For OEC, this was a year of long-awaited progress. The Oregon Legislature passed landmark legislation that will reduce pollution in the air we breathe and the toys we give our children. This legislation is the result of years of advocacy, session after session, and speaks to Oregon Environmental Council’s founding purpose. Back in 1968, a group of ordinary citizens came together to form a collaborative voice in the state’s capitol. That voice was OEC, and we have lobbied in Salem ever since. This year’s ...

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A Week In Chemicals

Hot, sharp, stinky or rotten: it’s easy to avoid hazards when you can see or smell them—especially when you feel the ill effects immediately. But how do we avoid the hazards we can’t see, and harm that we won’t feel until years down the line? That’s a 21st century health challenge. Our Emerging Leader Board member Bethany Thomas was one of 28 people nationwide participating in a “week in chemicals” experiment with Environmental Defense Fund this summer to make those invisible hazards visible. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) provided these 28 ...

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Climate Stability and Justice Needed for Oregon: A review of HB 3470 and looking forward

During the 2015 legislative session, Oregon Environmental Council was proud to join with environmental, health, communities of color and business partners concerned about climate pollution to help advance the Climate Stability and Justice Act (HB 3470). The Act would enforce Oregon's existing limits on climate pollution with a firm timeline for putting a comprehensive action plan in place to guarantee Oregon achieves its climate goals. This creates certainty for both businesses and the environment. Everyone knows what targets we’re aiming for and has a voice in develop...

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Blue Cheese, Green Cheese: How Rogue Creamery is redefining what it means to be artisan cheese

(Full disclosure: I worked for Rogue Creamery as a Farmers Market Sales Associate for the summer of 2010. I have not worked for them in nearly 5 years.) Before the ink was dry on my hiring paperwork, Rogue Creamery whizzed me down to Central Point to meet the cows, the place and the people that make their cheese some of the best in the world. It was the summer of 2010, and their theory was that I could be a more effective sales person if I knew the story behind the cheese (they were right). My tour of the cheese making facilities and pastures included highlights ...

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Take your Green Team to the next level

Do you work for an employer that has a Green Team or Sustainability Committee? Many workplaces have groups like these that aim to cut waste and shrink their carbon footprint. But how does your organization move forward once employees learn to turn their monitors off and start composting in the kitchen? There’s so much more that you can do. EarthShare Oregon helps employers raise their sustainability standards year after year by connecting their employees with dozens of local member charities including Oregon Environmental Council. These nonprofits can help your ...

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400 Oregon Businesses Call for Climate Action

350 is a significant number when it comes to climate. In the words of Dr. James Hansen, one of the most respected climatologists in the world,  "CO2 will need to be reduced from [current levels] to at most 350 ppm to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed." The current level at which we're pumping CO2 into the atmosphere is not feasible if we are to sustain a healthy and stable climate. And right now the ratio of carbon dioxide molecules to all other molecules in the atmosphere is 403 ppm, well above Dr. Hansen's benchmark of 350 ppm. ...

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A note from the Emerging Leaders Board on “The Time is Now: Renew Oregon”

We’re not just an advisory board of entrepreneurs, strategists and community leaders lending our expertise to support of OEC’s mission. We’re also professionals, parents, aunts and uncles, daughters and sons. We’re Oregonians who were born in this beautiful state and people who moved here because we love this state so much. To safeguard our future, we must act on climate now. That’s why we created this video, narrated by bestselling author of “Wild”, Cheryl Strayed, to call for climate action. We care about climate change for so many reasons, but particu...

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It’s getting hot in here, but we can’t take off all our clothes.

In the poetic (and somewhat censored for appropriateness) words of the great Nelly, this Portland heat wave makes me be all like: "I was like, good gracious... It's gettin' hot in here (so hot) So take off all your clothes I am gettin' so hot, I wanna take my clothes off." But alas, as responsible adults we cannot do that—no matter how much this relentless heat makes us want to do crazy things. And craziness in the heat is no joke—some studies have linked the rise in violent crime to increases in hot weather. There are about 2.6% more murders and assaults ...

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