FOR THE PRESS
...to contact Beyond Toxics, please call or email:
John Jordan-Cascade, Communications Manager
Lisa Arkin, Executive Director
Who We Are
Beyond Toxics is a statewide environmental justice organization advancing policies that ensure meaningful participation and cultivating grassroots leadership from Oregon’s frontline and impacted communities. Established in 2001, we are a multicultural, inter-generational team dedicated to centering community leaders and building out the true diversity of our state’s vibrant Environmental Justice movement. MORE About Us
The values that drive our work
We believe that everyone regardless of race, income, class, gender, and citizenship-status deserves access to resources free of exposure to harmful pollution. To enact lasting environmental justice, Beyond Toxics, along with our many members statewide, believes that communities who live and work on the margins are the real experts and should be informed and empowered in decision-making processes. Our team honors native heritages and tribal autonomy while guiding Oregonians to embrace ethical land stewardship for future generations.
MORE about Beyond Toxics
- Read more about the organization
- Read more about our staff
- Photos of our Executive Director, Lisa Arkin, and logo graphics are available near the bottom of this page…
For November 17, 2021 Release
Oregon Board of Forestry Approves Agency’s First
Climate Change and Carbon Plan
EUGENE, OR. – The Oregon Board of Forestry approved a first-of-its-kind climate plan for the state’s forest management agency, marking a transformative shift for forest management in the state.
The plan was developed in response to Executive Order 20-04, which directed state agencies to “prepare and plan for the impacts of climate change and to take actions to encourage carbon sequestration and storage.” The plan envisions the Board and Department of Forestry as “national leaders in climate-smart and socially equitable forest policies that promote climate health, resilient forests and watersheds, community wellbeing, and a viable forest products industry.” The plan also aims to incorporate principles of equity and environmental justice in agency decision-making, including the requirements of SCR 17 (2021).
By approving the Climate Change and Carbon Plan, the Board signals that continuing business as usual in Oregon’s forests amidst changing conditions is unsustainable. Oregonians are already feeling the
weight of severe climate change impacts, including heat domes, increasing wildfires and water scarcity for personal or agricultural use. The unanimous vote of approval indicated the Board takes these
impacts seriously and acknowledges that Oregon’s forests can be a powerful tool to help us take up and store carbon and adapt to climate change.
Advocates with the Oregon Climate Action Plan Coalition are celebrating the plan’s approval and are committed to working with the Board, incoming State Forester Cal Mukumoto, and ODF staff to ensure
climate and equity considerations are central to all levels of the Department’s decision-making. Leaders from the Oregon Climate Action Plan Coalition released the following statements:
“Transforming Oregon’s forest practices will markedly improve environmental and climate justice outcomes, especially access to clean water and air,” said Grace Brahler, Oregon Climate Action Plan and Policy Manager for Beyond Toxics. “The Climate Change and Carbon Plan represents a big step forward for the agency and can make our communities and forests more resilient to climate change.”
“The Oregon Department of Forestry’s new plan is a critical first step to positioning the state at the forefront of natural climate solutions,” said Lauren Anderson, Oregon Wild’s Forest Climate Policy Coordinator. “Our best near-term option to reduce the future impacts of climate change is to sequester and store more carbon in our forests. Oregon’s remaining intact mature temperate rainforests store more carbon per acre than the Amazon rainforest and should be a top climate priority for the state.”
More information is available on the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Climate Change page. | Read the full plan.
Contacts: Co-Leads of the Oregon Climate Action Plan Coalition Forest Policy Table
● Lauren Anderson, Forest and Climate Policy Coordinator, Oregon Wild (firstname.lastname@example.org)
● Grace Brahler, Oregon Climate Action Plan and Policy Manager, Beyond Toxics (email@example.com)
Joint Press Release (PDF)
For April 5, 2021 Release
Two Oregon nonprofits to host Oregon’s first Environmental Justice Summit
Summit to feature two nationally-renowned environmental justice advocates
EUGENE, OR. – Beyond Toxics and the NAACP Eugene/Springfield will be hosting Oregon’s first Environmental Justice Pathways Summit on April 9th and 10th. The Summit will host nationally and internationally renowned environmental justice advocates and will be held in conjunction with the University of Oregon’s Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples Lecture. Both events are virtual.
April 9th – Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples (CCIP) Keynote Lecture:
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, former President and International Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Moderated by Don Sampson, Director of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Climate Change Program. | Photo of Ms. Watt-Cloutier (.jpg) | Read Ms. Watt-Cloutier’s full bio
“The pandemic has given a pause, a time to reflect on new possibilities. It is a time to shift from apathy to empathy and see how we are all interconnected. What happens in the Arctic affects us all,” says Sheila Watt Cloutier.
April 10th – EJP Summit Keynote Lecture:
Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate & Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation and Founder & CEO of Revitalization Strategies. He is also the former Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization at the US EPA under the Bush and Obama Administrations. Moderated by Michelle J. DePass, President & CEO of Meyer Memorial Trust and founding executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. | Photo of Dr. Ali (.jpg) or a portrait of Dr. Ali (.jpg) | Read Dr. Ali’s full bio
“We can’t win on climate change unless we win on environmental justice. Together, we can help vulnerable communities move from surviving to thriving,” says Dr. Ali.
The Summit will also feature interactive discussions with the goal of supporting a collaborative network and crafting policy guidelines dedicated to Environmental Justice in the state of Oregon.
“Oregon’s history of exclusionary and racist land-use policies has dramatically shaped the way our communities live, work, and play today,” says Haley Case Scott, environmental justice organizer for both Beyond Toxics and the NAACP Eugene-Springfield. “This Summit will help expose and find solutions to the history of forced separation and dispossession between land and people that has played a significant role in the environmental and climate injustices.”
For more information: ejpsummit.org.
Jan. 14th Virtual Press Conference, followed by Q&A
SPEAKERS: Senator James Manning, Representative Karin Power, Sharon Gary-Smith of the Portland NAACP and a representative of the Lane County Chapter of the NAACP, and others. Introduction to the legislation, followed by a Q&A session afterward.
January 14, 2021
Full Press Release (PDF)
Leading Oregon Environmental Justice Organizations Announce 2021 Legislative Agenda
Environmental justice joint resolution and land use reform bill have support of a strong group of legislators and community leaders
EUGENE, OR – State elected leaders are joining with Beyond Toxics and the Eugene/Springfield and Portland chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to champion a suite of environmental justice legislation to be introduced in the upcoming session of the Oregon state legislature. | Summary of our Environmental Justice Legislative Priorities (PDF)
HB 2488, the “Equity and Climate in Land Use” bill, calls upon Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development to update statewide land use planning goals, in order to make equitable planning decisions for vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, and establish measurable climate targets associated with land use. LC 1894/2902, the “Environmental Justice for Oregon” Joint Resolution, calls on the state legislature to adopt a vision and set of principles for achieving environmental justice in Oregon, including recognizing the right of all people to clean air and water.
In the wake of the 2020 Oregon wildfires, and nationwide protests against systemic racism, we argue that Oregon needs a major shift in its approach to land use decisions, prioritizing the needs of impacted communities.
Representative Karin Power, who is introducing both the bill and Joint Resolution, explains:
“I’m proud to be introducing these two pieces of legislation this session, which will help equip Oregon to tackle the monumental challenges facing our State: the climate crisis and systemic racial inequities. The events of the past year put into sharp relief just how deeply intertwined these issues are. There’s a growing recognition among my colleagues in the legislature that, going forward, Oregon needs a holistic reimagining of who deserves to have a say in the future of our communities. This legislation will put our State on the path to achieve this.”
Lisa Arkin, Executive Director of Beyond Toxics, said: “Oregon’s land use planning goals have stood the test of time in many ways, however laws that are nearly fifty years old need updating to address two of the most pressing issues of our time, climate impacts and the exclusion of those who bear the heaviest burdens of public health problems related to environmental pollution.”
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