For nearly 50 years, our work has ensured that Oregonians live healthier lives because our air, water and land are cleaner; our food is more sustainably produced; and the products, energy and transportation that make our lives possible are safer for our environment and climate.
Back in 1968, a group of ordinary citizens came together to form the Oregon Environmental Council. These were PTA and garden club members, outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists and others who believed they could get more done by working together.
- Oregon will be coal-free. Oregon became the first state in the nation to take legislative action to go coal-free. As a leading advocate for this legislation, we are proud of our role. By 2030, our state will no longer produce or purchase electric power made with coal. This landmark law ensured that dirty, coal-fired power will be replaced with clean, renewable energy–making Oregon’s electricity mix one of the cleanest in the world.
- Oregon is leading on climate. As a co-founder of the Renew Oregon campaign, OEC is a cornerstone of the coalition that recognizes Oregon must act to reduce carbon pollution and protect our state’s natural legacy and our communities, especially those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Over 1,200 Oregon businesses in over 60 cities across the state–companies like Intel and the Portland Trail Blazers–have publicly recognized the critical need for action to slow the impacts of climate change.
- Oregon’s air will be cleaner. OEC consistently stands strong on transformative policies that provide Oregon drivers with a cleaner choice of fuels and curb harmful pollutants like benzene and arsenic in our air. The results are huge. In its first year, the Clean Fuels Standard has prevented 775,000 tons of climate pollution—the equivalent of taking 164,000 cars off the road—all while attracting new, local investment, creating homegrown jobs, and providing consumers with better choices.
- We’re building a roadmap for a cleaner future. OEC helped pass a transportation package that will reduce Oregon’s carbon footprint and curb air pollution. Cars and trucks contribute nearly 40% of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. By making it easier to get around (walking, biking or taking the bus); encouraging more electric cars (new rebates in 2018); and introducing congestion pricing as a means to reduce traffic, Oregon is rolling forward on smart, innovative transportation solutions for the next generation.
- We’re giving Oregonians options. For the first time, Oregon will dedicate significant dollars in public transit all across the state. Working with with key partners, OEC championed transit choices for getting people where they need to go—whether in small towns or big cities.The result: cleaner air, healthier communities and more affordable options.
- Buying green is now a $1.5 billion demand. To increase market demand for safer, less-toxic products, we created the Healthy Purchasing Initiative. Counties, cities, large institutions and even the State of Oregon are improving their purchasing practices, harnessing more than a billion dollars of market demand for cleaner and safer products. Now our team is assisting state advocates from California to Connecticut to adopt this model for action across the country.
- We’re helping ditch dirty diesel. Nearly 90% of Oregonians live in counties where diesel exhaust increases risk of cancer over a lifetime. OEC helped pass new legislation to retrofit or replace more than 450 old diesel school buses statewide. This investment of $20 million not only helps Oregon students breathe easier, it also sets the groundwork for future legislation to keep harmful, dirty diesel exhaust out of our neighborhoods by investing in newer engines that run 90% cleaner.
- We’re building a bridge for environmental justice. People on the frontlines—directly impacted by climate change and polluted air and water—must be included in policy decisions that affect them. That’s why we’re putting tools into neighbors’ hands with our diesel sampling project, encouraging everyone to understand the health impacts of pollution and speak up for cleaner air for all. That’s why OEC engages with communities of color in developing and advancing policies that create a safer, healthier future for all. That’s why OEC stands in solidarity against hate speech, anti-immigrant actions, and racial discrimination.
- We’re harnessing a rising tide. One thing that makes OEC effective is that we never work alone. We bring together partners from across the state and from areas as diverse as agriculture, health care, tech and manufacturing. We meet with legislators from both parties, securing bill sponsors from across the political spectrum. Right now we’re convening a table of powerful non-profit allies, legislators and decision-makers to develop and implement solutions that will protect the climate and our most precious resource: Oregon’s water.
- Our endowment is 100% impact-driven. Our endowment is 100% impact-driven. OEC’s investments are designed to boost and encourage responsible corporate behavior. By investing with Trillium Asset Management, we encourage change that promotes environmental and social practices from the inside out. We put our money and name behind proposals for major natural gas producers to track and disclose their rogue methane emissions while, at the same time, securing stronger methane emissions rules at the EPA. Our shareholder engagement is also focused on transparency and disclosure of corporate political and lobbying contributions that undermine environmental protection.
BONUS: Last but not least: We are recognized as one of Oregon’s top nonprofits to work for by Oregon Business magazine.