By becoming a Bee City, The City of Eugene has formally acknowledged the importance of pollinators to healthy ecosystems and joined the national movement to protect and support our pollinators now and in the future. Bee Cities support collaboration to establish and maintain healthy pollinator habitats within city limits.
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.
While working alongside other local naturalists and bee-enthusiasts at the 2nd Annual Bee Count, I was thrilled to discover that at least 24 different species of native bees have returned to the Whilamut Natural Area, a rehabilitated prairie habitat north of the Willamette River. This was a remarkable turn-around for this area since non-herbicide habitat restoration efforts were implemented 14 years ago.
Important action is being taken across our state to protect honey bees. However, the public is less aware of the critical role Oregon’s native bees play in pollination and maintaining the healthy environment we all enjoy – nor of the threats they face. Did you know eight different species of native bees are currently listed on the United States Endangered Species List?
Environmental bills don’t always make it through the "gauntlet," known as the Oregon legislative battlefield. There are more obstacles in our State Capitol than any Quixotic environmentalist could hope to vanquish. The Cleaner Air Oregon bill, SB 1541 B-Engrossed, sailed through the Senate today (passing with a unanimous vote!), despite having its own burden of impediments.
On February 12th, the Eugene City Council overwhelmingly adopted a resolution to endorse the International Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change. Our Council and Mayor are standing on the precipice of a new direction to address climate burdens! Foregrounding human rights at the heart of green energy conversations is a response to the ethical quagmire in which our nation is stuck. Placing the dialog into a framework of human rights changes the underlying assumptions of the climate movement from political concerns to principled action, from marketplace considerations to morally-based decision-making.
Going head-to-head with corporate lobbyists and lawyers is a fine way to keep your environmental advocacy skills honed! During the nearly two years I served on the Cleaner Air Oregon rule-making committee, I got lots of practice dissecting the duplicitous arguments and twisted claims proffered by industry’s public relations people.
More than 1 billion pounds of poisonous pesticides are applied on farms annually in the United States, resulting in as many as 20,000 physician-diagnosed poisonings annually among agricultural workers. University of Oregon environmental studies scholar Sarah Wald puts the number of farmworkers exposed to toxic levels of pesticides closer to 300,000, more than 10 times the official number.