By Midge Pierce
Wondering about the large green billboard popping up on SE streets? It’s part of a countdown to a weeklong Global Climate Strike September 20-27 in which citizens of the world stop normal activities for Earth’s sake.
As temperatures rise, storms grow more erratic, and glaciers calve, time is running out to stop widespread devastation and extinctions within our lifetimes.
The billboards on SE streets rotate courtesy of Extinction Rebellion whose blog states: “There is overwhelming scientific evidence that we are living in a time when radical, rapid and far-reaching changes are needed to avert environmental disaster.”
The group was established in the UK and spread across the world as one hundred and seventy-one governments in seventeen countries declared a climate emergency.
The Portland chapter meets regularly to plan non-violent civil disobedience actions to demand “real, effective and just action on the Climate Crisis”.
In one article, the group suggests building on common concerns for maximum effectiveness because, “Talking to people who don’t ‘believe’ in climate change can be very hard.”
From their website, “We are facing an unprecedented global climate emergency. The government has failed to protect us. To survive, it’s going to take everything we’ve got.” See facebook.com/xrpdx.
350 PDX is also working to save the world. Communications Director Chris Palmer says the need for greater climate awareness is more urgent than ever with science deniers and an “EPA falling apart.”
The group gets much of its inspiration from young activists around the world, including Oregon Youth Climate Councils that have lobbied the state legislature for environmental action.
Palmer fears that in the face of extreme climate change, people feel helpless and grow complacent. Yet, individuals can make a difference by changing their shopping and driving habits, drying their laundry outside, planting trees and demanding environmental justice.
The group is not just about climate change, but also climate equity.
Low income groups, in Portland and other places, are hardest hit by global warming, changing weather patterns and fossil fuel pollution.
Temperature rises in parts of Southern Oregon are expected to be among the worst in the nation.
350 PDX is currently involved in efforts to stop the Jordan Cove fossil fuel facility, and the Zenith tar sands imports.
The group claims that during a Climate Strike last spring, some eight million students worldwide participated. In the ramp up to the September event, the group has held meetings almost every other night to organize and train volunteers.
“The future we face is not what our parents had,” says Palmer. “When I was ten, I assumed some clever people were working somewhere to solve warming. Now I realize they’re not out there. It’s up to you and me.” See 350pdx.org.