Letter to the Editor March 2022

To the Editor:

Last fall when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their latest climate change projections, I wrote a letter to my five-year-old daughter. 

She’ll be 34 in the year 2050, the year the IPCC says we must be at net zero carbon emissions if we want to stave off the most disastrous climate change scenarios. I wrote her through tearful eyes, telling her how desperately I hope we will take urgent action to protect her future.

As we have increasingly seen in recent years, the climate crisis is having a massive impact on our region. Like many Portland parents, I remember sheltering indoors with a young child during the fall of 2020 when we couldn’t go outdoors because the air was hazardous with smoke from a record-shattering wildfire season. 

Less than a year later, we parented our kids through an unprecedented heat wave that melted Max train cables and killed hundreds of people. 

We tried to put on a brave face. How can we continue to look our children in the eyes and tell them “It’s going to be okay,” when we continue to burn fossil fuels at alarming rates, adding more and more carbon to the atmosphere?

It is crucial for our children that we do everything in our power now to reduce carbon emissions. While doing so, we must take action to protect the most vulnerable from the predictable effects of climate change. 

There are several bills currently before the Oregon State legislature that address these crucial issues, three of which are SB 1518 (the Reach Code bill), HB 4115 (the Treasury Transparency Bill), and HB 4058 (Right to Cooling). 

I’m calling on our legislators to pass these bills and prioritize climate legislation. What’s at stake is a livable future for our children.

Lilly Hankins

Letter to the Editor March 2022

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