Last November, I took my daughter to see 350.org’s community showing of Al Gore’s climate change film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, at Central Lutheran Church. I walked into the showing-room sanctuary where a man played the organ and multi-colored light crashed in through the stained glass windows. It seemed an appropriate venue to learn what humans are doing to one another and creation—this room was a place where many contemplated their idea of a creator. As Al Gore says, this is a moral issue.
I wanted to share my story with you with the hope that it will inspire you to take action. I have lived in the Eugene area for over 15 years. My grandparents moved here in 1980 and bought a beautiful farm just outside of Cottage Grove. As an environmental justice organizer for Beyond Toxics I have great concerns about the air quality in our state and the effect it has on children.
Oregon has over 300 registered farm worker housing camps and another 200 unregistered camps. Most of these camps are located within orchards and fields that are regularly sprayed with pesticides that are human carcinogens and neurotoxins. To protect farm workers, the federal law requires a minimum 100-ft. no-spray buffer around farm worker housing. You may be surprised and dismayed to learn that Oregon’s worker protection agency, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), wants to give Oregon farmers “a pass” on following the 100-ft pesticide buffer regulation.