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Earth Week reminds us to fight for environmental justice

This year’s Earth Week celebration offered a twist on the usual flower plantings and electric car demonstrations through a focus on community health and environmental justice.

The first Earth Day celebration in 1970 represented a turning point for environmental awareness and advocacy. That special day followed the passage of the National Environmental Protection Act on Jan. 1, 1970, under the Nixon administration. National leaders were deeply influenced by the heightened public concern about environmental pollution spurred by Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring.” Their first steps toward environmental advocacy included the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

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Eugene embraces climate justice (on a global playing field)

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.

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Stories from the Field

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.

Farmworkers deserve better pesticide rules

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.

Oregon Farm Workers Are Fighting for Their Lives

I remember, and you might too, feeling virtuous when my family took part in the California grape boycott in the 1970s. I was only a teenager, but to me it meant that I was standing in solidarity with farm workers. I felt a bond, although I’d never met a farm worker as far as I knew.

My small action, combined with the similar ethical choices of millions of others, helped farm workers position themselves to win. And what did they win? What they asked for were basic human rights: safer working conditions, less pesticide exposure, habitable housing and better wages.

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Farm Worker Rights in the Age of Trump

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.

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Why You And I Are Thrilled to Protect Oregon’s People, Pollinators and Places – Again!

I’m writing this from the bedside of my childhood friend who grew up on the same street as I. Ten days ago she was fine. Today she is transitioning to her passing. Her breathing is ragged, her eyes are unfocused. Her doctors at Stanford University Medical Center told the family they have never seen such a rare and aggressive cancer. They can’t stop it, they can’t even slow it down.

Cancer. Linked to environmental pollution from toxic chemicals and poisonous pesticides.

Timber's fallen: Efforts show promise for working conditions in Oregon forestry

This is Part III of a three-part series on the working conditions and treatment of Oregon's immigrant forestry workers.

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Eugene struck out with Seneca deal

It’s the bottom of the ninth, and Lane County citizens are down 0-3. From our seats in the nosebleed section of the bleachers, we find our home team facing direct impacts of localized carbon pollution, air quality and the size of our energy bills.

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BLOG: Helicopter herbicide sprays are poisoning Oregon…is it rigged or is it rogue?

Two years ago, there was little public awareness about the common industrial practice of using helicopters to spray thousands of acres of forests with herbicides. That was before the Cedar Valley spray case in which over forty people reported being sickened by exposure to a chemical soup raining down from an aerial herbicide spray. After all, who could really imagine that Oregon’s timber companies routinely hire helicopter pilots, dozens of hazardous chemical truck drivers and pesticide applicators to carry out a program of blanketing forestlands and streams with toxic chemicals?

It seemed unbelievable, until the public learned more.

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Contact

Lane County Office
120 Shelton McMurphey Blvd.
Suite 280
Eugene, OR 97401

+1 (541) 465-8860

Jackson County Office
312 N. Main St., Suite B
Phoenix, Oregon 97535

+1 (541) 465-8860 ext. 2

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P.O. Box 1106
Eugene, OR 97440

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Saturday: Closed
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