Letters: Lawmakers need courage to act on climate
We're currently facing an ecological crisis, and waiting for change isn't an option. From severe flooding — like the historic amount in Umatilla County harming families, homes and businesses that led Gov. Kate Brown to declare a state of emergency — to devastating wildfires, the effects of climate change are too enormous and their costs too great to ignore.
In 2019 alone, there were 14 "billion-dollar extreme weather and climate events," costing the United States $45 billion.
If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that Earth is our home. We already have the technology to transition to a clean energy future; all we need now is the political courage to act. Therefore, our elected leaders must follow suit and join the fight to ensure a livable future for not only myself but my entire generation.
For individuals wondering how to make a notable impact, I urge, plead and desperately encourage each and every one of you to contact your state lawmakers regarding the issue.
Think of your future, of your hopes and dreams, and ask yourself: How can I achieve this if the system that supports us is in crisis? If I can no longer breathe the air outside or find clean water to drink?
Our house is on fire. My generation is counting on our leaders to take action, specifically by passing the strongest version of cap-and-invest possible this year. Otherwise, I and many others will be victims of the climate crisis if the political system continues to forsake our generation with their inaction.
Sharona Shnayder, Portland State University senior
Crater Lake impact led to climate activism
Thank you, Sen. Michael Dembrow, for your recent Portland Tribune guest opinion, "Oregon carbon-reduction bill: The cost of inaction is too high."
For 25 years, I worked as a seasonal park ranger at Crater Lake National Park.
Sadly, I saw climate change working there with a more intense wildfire season. In the summers from 2015-17, the smoke was so bad that I saw the park become a ghost town at times.
Visitors would cancel their vacations to Crater Lake not wanting to breathe the smoke or worried that family members with asthma would suffer if the smoke triggered negative health consequences.
When visitation would drop, I saw the bad impact it had on the rural economy surrounding Crater Lake, to the mom-and-pop campgrounds, restaurants, hotels and businesses dependent on the summer tourist season.
Seeing the negative impacts of climate change at Crater Lake is why I have volunteered full time for the past two years trying to get a climate bill passed in the Oregon Legislature.
To protect the beauty of Oregon, our economy, our rural residents and our children, I urge Oregon legislators to please pass SB 1530 and HB 4167 now.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.