Oregon Climate Action Day

Thank you for supporting Oregon Climate Action Day in Salem on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

Oregon Climate Action Day was entirely volunteer-created, and every donation made it possible for a greater number and diversity of people to participate. 

This event has now spawned a state-wide citizens network that welcomes participants to engage in the following mission:

"Oregon Climate Action Network (OCAN) exists to connect climate-concerned Oregonians, organize creative advocacy, educate on market-based climate solutions, and to empower citizens to lobby their elected officials." 

We welcome your continued involvement.  Let's stay in touch!

SOCAN Salmon


Science Groups Push Obama for Climate Change Summit

| Climate Central

Six scientific societies are asking the White House to hold a national summit on climate change.

In a letter delivered to President Barack Obama on Friday, days before his annual State of the Union address, the groups lay out a plan for a summit "to identify policies and actions that can be taken by each Federal agency and by state and local governments to address the causes and effects of climate change.”

“We would like to offer the support and assistance of the thousands of scientists and other professionals who are members of our organizations,” said the groups, including the American Fisheries Society, the American Meteorological Society, the Ecological Society of America, the Society for Conservation Biology, the Society for Ecological Restoration and the Wildlife Society. “We respectfully request that you convene a national summit on this urgent and important challenge.”

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Preparing Natural and Human Communities for Climate Change

Geos Institute staff

The Need for Climate Change Adaptation

Climate change is well underway. Global temperatures have increased 1.5° F. Sea level has risen 8 inches. Forest and rangeland res have increased. Fish, wildlife, and plants are on the move. Climate change is expected to progress more quickly throughout the next century. Many changes will occur regardless of how well we curtail future greenhouse gas emissions, so we need to prepare for those impacts in order to protect people, our water and lands, and wildlife. Preparing for and responding to a changing climate is called climate change "adaptation." Unfortunately, we can no longer simply use past conditions to plan for the future.  

About the Process

At the Geos Institute, we developed a process that walks a community, watershed, county, federal planning unit, or region through a process that helps them begin to plan for climate change. An important component of the process is that it works across both socioeconomic and natural systems. The ClimateWise process begins by compiling information about local impacts of climate change, based on output from climate models and studies of ecological effects. 

How can the Geos Institute help you with your water management planning needs (including IRWMP)?

The Geos Institute helps communities predict, reduce, and plan for climate change.

We have found that the most effective way of planning for climate change is to incorporate climate change science and understanding into all ongoing planning and decision-making processes, including Integrated Regional Water Management Planning (IRWMP).

In short, we encourage people to wear a “climate change lens” as they go about their normal duties.

While most decision-making processes are not greatly altered by the climate change lens, the final outcome may be drastically different. This is because, rather than making decisions based on patterns and trajectories of the past, new decisions will be made based on expected patterns and trajectories of the future.

There is much debate about what the “climate change lens” should look like. Is it purely science-based? Which models should be used? Which emissions trajectories? How do we account for uncertainty? Who should be involved in assessing impacts? How do we make sure the lens is used consistently? How do we account for variable values and needs of local communities?

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Wetlands Protection as an Adaptation Step

The Geos Institute is assisting communities in their climate adaptation planning by providing climate projections, workshop facilitation, and reports. Here's an update from the Central Oregon ClimateWise process:

Deschutes county in Central Oregon has adopted the largest wetland inventory in Oregon; nearly 19,000 acres. Peter Gutowsky, Principal Planner, says the Deschutes county commissioners all approved, with no one testifying in opposition. He adds, "This is a testament to a program that produces multiple ecological benefits, including some needed resiliency in the face of changing climate conditions."

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And Five More Adaptation Planning Ideas

Bruce Riordan sent us his "unofficial takeaways" from the climate change adaptation workshop organized by the Kresge Foundation and the Geos Institute (Portland Oregon 2012). Riordan is the Climate Strategist for the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee. Here's an excerpt. For the longer list, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  1. It's not "climate adaptation." It's protecting the health of our vulnerable seniors, keeping our critical roads, airports, etc. in use, saving our bay, making sure we have enough water (homes/agriculture/wildlife), keeping the power on through big storms...
  2. Listen first. What is important to you and your community right now? (Probably not "climate change.") What changes--weather, animals, growing season, etc.-- are you noticing in your neighborhood, community, or region?
  3. Personal relationships. We are often way too in love with our plans, strategies and science. (Problem: My slides didn't convince them. Solution: more slides!) At least half the battle to really move a community to adaptation work is who trusts you, who you know, etc. Similarly, a few great and trusted champions can turn a whole room.
  4. Mainstreaming. Make sure that climate impacts are not seen as something separate and exotic, but are integral parts of general plans, zoning codes, hazard/disaster mitigation plans, transportation plans, infrastructure maintenance plans, etc. Show overworked public agency staff that they are already considering/doing some of things--now climate adds another element or twist.
  5. Is this plan necessary? Most local government planning departments aren't exactly awash in resources these days. A call for a comprehensive adaptation plan may go 100% nowhere or, if undertaken, become just a recipe for "shelf candy." Instead, look at the 2-3 most pressing issues in a community and focus on them first. Or, pick one initial topic that looks like an easy winner.

GIS Helps Create ClimateWise Communities

Matt Ball | Spatial Sustain

The Geos Institute, based in Ashland, Oregon, has developed tools and methodology to help communities respond and adapt to the pressures of climate change. Yesterday, I attended a presentation at the GIS in the Rockies by Jessica Leonard, geospatial analyst at the institute, and learned more about their approach and their projects. Leonard stated at the start of her talk that, “GIS helps us become visionary rather than reactionary.”

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MMT Editorial: Time To Act Locally

Editorial Board | Medford Mail Tribune

It can be daunting to wrap one's mind around the concept of global climate change. It's easy to see the threats posed by melting glaciers and endangered polar bears, but it's harder to understand what that means to us here in the Rogue Valley, or what we can or should do about it.

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Climate report forsees dire effects

Susan Palmer | Eugene Register-Guard

Almost every aspect of life in the southern Willamette Valley could feel the effects of climate change, a report released today says.

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