Living Green

Monthly news and tips focused on helping you create a greener, healthier life for the world around you.


April showers bring…floods?

flooding
April is bringing more than a few showers this year! Record-setting rains in Eugene are adding to floods along the Willamette River far later in the spring than is typical. We can expect more flooding in the years to come, as climate change delivers sea level rise, more intense storms and higher winter stream flows.For OEC, this means encouraging communities across the state to invest in ways to manage stormwater. This means keeping toxic stuff off our streets, out of rivers and—ultimately—protecting our the drinking water.Rain behaves differently when it runs ...

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Top tips to green your wardrobe

Do you own about 70 garments? Do most of them last you less than a year? If so, you are about average for an American today. If you own half that number of garments and keep them for 3-5 years, you’re closer to the American average 15 years ago.This growth in clothing manufacture and use is no small thing. From the energy, water and pesticides used to the dyes and solvents in wastewater, making clothing can be a polluting business. With only about 15% of clothing donated for re-use, the waste adds up to tens of millions of tons in incinerators or landfills each ...

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Stepping Up Efforts to Reduce Plastic Pollution in Oregon

By Belinda McFadgen, OEC Volunteer.“Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our oceans and rivers and threaten wildlife for centuries.” That’s how our friends at Environment Oregon describe the problem of pollution from straws, bags, take-out containers and other single-use plastics. And now, after 14 communities across Oregon have adopted ways to limit single-use plastics, Environment Oregon and Surfrider Foundation are leading an effort to apply solutions statewide.THE 2019 BILLSSB90 and HB2670 would require restaurants to provide ...

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Forever and blue jeans

I love my jeans, and wear them until they are no longer socially acceptable. But even then—it just doesn’t seem right to throw them in the trash. So I have piles of old denim waiting to become the next—what?Just this week, our Climate Program Director here at OEC mentioned a cool innovation: a company collecting old jeans to make building insulation.Wow! My jeans can get new life as an energy-efficiency tool. And because my job is finding ways to reduce toxics in the environment, I very much like this alternative to insulating materials that contain toxic ...

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Green tips for the season of giving

Joy, peace and jolly to you! Here at Oregon Environmental Council, we believe in the power and health benefits of celebration. We also believe the "season of giving” includes giving people the tools they need to act on their environmental values.In that spirit, we offer these green living tips for the holiday season:It’s a frustrating reality that children’s products still contain toxic chemicals (read more about how we're working on this)!There are a number of resources that identify kid's toys that avoid plastics, adhesives, and other components likely to ...

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Retailer report card for safer shopping

Some day, we will be able to trust in the chemical safety of the products we buy. Until then: we have the retailer’s report card. It shows how much progress 40 retailers have made to understand and eliminate toxic chemicals in everyday products. OEC is one of hundreds of allies in the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition, which has been challenging retailers to sell safer products since 2013. Read the full report at retailerreportcard.com The Good News:Apple, Target, Ikea and Wal-Mart are in the lead with strong policies to track and reduce thousands ...

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Where there’s smoke….

Oregon is feeling the devastation of California’s fires this November, and our friends and neighbors will need our help to recover. We’re also likely to feel the smoke here in Oregon.(See NY Times: How To Help Those Affected by the California Fires).The jet stream can carry smoke and particles from Western fires all the way across the country, according to NASA. When weather pulls that smoke out of jet stream and down to breathing levels, it can harm health hundreds of miles away from the fire. We’re grateful for doctors, nurses and caregivers who help people ...

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Take a tick seriously

Our climate is changing and this will change our lives. It will also change the lives of all kinds of critters in Oregon. Which is why we'd like to talk about ticks and why it's important to take a tick seriously.We can expect insects—including ticks and mosquitos—will appear in different places, at different times, in different numbers, and with different diseases than they carry today. So what does that mean for our health?Doctors must learn to spot symptoms and identify disease that may be new to them. Public health professionals will be challenged to ...

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Top tips for Oregon summer adventurers

Adventuring in Oregon can do wonders for your mind, body and spirit—if you plan ahead for health risks in today’s changing climate.Whether your plan is to lounge in a local park or set off trekking the far-flung places, we wish you awe, bliss and delight!Before you go, know this: today’s summer hazards are different than they were a generation ago. Climate change and ozone depletion have changed the nature of bug bites, sun exposure, allergies and asthma.A little precaution can go a long way to keep these hazards from putting a damper on your fun.Take ...

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May is Bike Month!

After seemingly endless months of rain, Spring is here! Which means many of Oregon’s streets are now filled with even more bicyclists!Oregon’s most populated area, the Portland metro region, has the highest rate of commuters biking to work in the nation, which means we are collectively spending less money on transportation, driving fewer miles, and emitting less carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.To top all of that off, May is National Bike Month. At Oregon Environmental Council we are taking the opportunity to celebrate the many benefits of biking! More than ...

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