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.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Portland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Portland stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Portland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more