Apr 22, 2024 - News

How Portlanders can make a difference on Earth Day

Illustration of an upside down globe in alarming colors with radiating lines.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Every day is like Earth Day in Portland, where the city government has a 47-point Climate Emergency Workplan and has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050, but here it comes again.

Why it matters: Projects to clean local air and waterways are ongoing, but educating and motivating people to take action to save the planet is more of a challenge.

Driving the news: Portlanders can still make a difference. There are SOLVE Oregon events Monday picking up litter at the Central Eastside Cleanup, at OMSI and downtown, and there's a chance to join in wetland restoration planning at the 78th Street Heritage Farm in Vancouver.

Catch up quick: Earth Day was born in 1970 as a reaction to water and air pollution, and has grown with the environmental movement to confront human-made climate change.

The big picture: From student-led climate strikes to multi-use water bottles, the ideals of Earth Day have penetrated Portland culture.

What they're saying: Loikith sees students of every major taking his elective science class called Climate Variability and Change, which covers natural oscillations in the climate system as well as human-caused climate change.

  • "It's been a while since I've had obvious signs of students that aren't aware, or are skeptical or dismissive, of climate change," he said

Loikith walks a fine line between leaving the students with a sense of doom or of hope about planet Earth.

  • He has to explain that not every extreme weather event is a sign of climate catastrophe, and recommends the World Weather Attribution group which quickly assesses events.
  • "I think the average student that comes through the class probably feels a little bit less anxious and a little bit of a lower sense of doom, than when they came into the class," he said, as they shed their fear of the unknown.
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