11 Years of Activism in Portland

bunsnotguns from little t american bakerI’ve been living in Portland for 11 years now. 11 years of activism. I noticed last night as I was updating this blog (for better SEO and righting some images) that I was putting out a lot more activism over the last couple years than I am now.  Issues like billboards, getting rid of the yellow pages, chearing on the first Obama administration, holding voting parties, idling, population growth and saving the Tillamook State Forest – all were big issues for me in 2009.

These issues all still persist, but I haven’t been focusing on them as much. I’ve started fan pages for a few, and I continue to put a shout out for an issue when I see something about it in the media, but my own activism has definitely shifted some. I’ve also been working hard to develop my business and I hope that eventually that will pay me enough to devote more time to the activist areas that I care about. Actually, one area, Farm My Yard, I have been dedicating a bunch of time to – keeping the website up, updating the FB fan page, and I’m meeting with someone today to discuss building an app for the project. So, I guess I’m not done saving the world.

And, some issues come back around – like my current project regarding the Oregonian’s slide to the Tea Party Right on BlueOregon. They’ve been lying to us more and more about their tea party agenda, and I want to do what I can to call them out on it.

So, I guess I just want to say – don’t worry, I’m still at it. And perhaps I’m partially writing this to myself to remind myself that I’m still busy trying to change the world, I’m just mixing it up more with my effort with people and small businesses to help them with their marketing and getting the word out.

Yesterday, as I was heading to a client meeting I was thinking about being 52 and wondering who I could find to take on the various efforts I’ve started or care about. I was thinking about asking in the dance community to see about training some folks who are 20 or 30 years younger than I am, but noone came immediately to mind. And, I suppose activism is not for the feint at heart. You have to have support in your life – people who really are there to back you – and a process to keep you from falling down when things get hard. I’ve been using Co-counseling for that for many years to good effect, but many people don’t have a process to discharge their fears when they come up against things that are hard – government agencies; industries fighting back; a right-wing media.

All good things for me to think about – succession – who are the next group of activists? Who cares enough about the issues that I do to take them on? And, how do I reignite some of the causes that I cared about and still do but which I have let come off of the table?  Perhaps I’ll do a little spreadsheet and see where things are and put that up for myself and others.  and for now, happy new year 2014 – let’s see what we can accomplish!

National Voter Registration Day – 9.25.12

National Voter Registration DayHappy National Voter Registration Day. Time to make sure everyone is registered to vote.  Here are some resources.

National Voter Registration Page: https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/

Want to vote early? here are the details for each state: spread it! https://www.longdistancevoter.org/early_voting_rules#.UGHR044ly9d

Please post this further – ask everyone you know in person – “Are you registered to vote?” Many people move around and don’t register at their new place. This election is an important one – we need everyone to vote – to make their voice heard. Thanks!

Today is a new day – Obama and more

A friend asked me what I’m doing this year vis-a-vis politics beyond voting for Obama & Co. I partly decided to stay home from Burning Man this year because I think the upcoming election is terribly important and I want to make sure that voters get registered and informed. I’m hearing a lot of talk about people being confused about who to vote for, whether to vote, whether it matters, things like that.  I believe that each election is important and the one you’re participating in this year is as important as they come.  Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to. Thanks, Kaya Singer, for asking!

What I’m doing: talking to lots of people, posting relevant things on FB, talking to more people. being public about my wish to see the Democrats win this thing. Working on policy, trying to stay informed by reading Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo daily, donating to candidates in tough races, putting my thinking out there, trying to stay focused on what I want to see happen, rather than in just reaction mode. possibly hosting candidate house parties, maybe having a voting party 🙂 encouraging everyone I know to make sure they’re registered, monitoring and promoting Voting Virgins 🙂 – taking care of my health. cause this is probably going to go on for a while…

After watching the R primary and parts of the convention, and reading their platform, I’m convinced that they need to radically change course – what they’re proposing right now regarding womens’ reproductive health; immigration; GLBT rights – all is very very scary stuff.  And, that is why I believe they’re going to lose big in November. And, their losing (possibly the House) could be helpful to the world in many ways – so, that’s what I’m working towards.  A big Democrat win in November.  Join me!

100 Year Weather Event, or the future of life in the Pacific Northwest?

My heart goes out to everyone in the Pacific Northwest who is being adversely affected by the current rains.

In the Pacific Northwest we’re used to heavy rain and all that it entails. But the recent rains have led to a level of flooding and hardship that people are calling a “100 Year Event”. I most recently heard people talking about this at Breitenbush where I spent new years and learned that two of the newly built bridges that span trails there had been washed out. Next up have been the January rains which have led to roads washing out, peoples’ houses being flooded and lots of landslides. Some towns like Vernonia, Oregon, seem to be having repeat flood events and the recent news is of thousands having to leave homes around the state, car accidents and lots of property damage.

My main question is “is this global climate change and its effects?” If so, are those who are calling this a “100 year event” actually missing the possibility that this may be how life here will continue to be from now on – rainy, with more and more rain and displacement.

I’ve long been following demographic trends around population growth and have been making the connection between our increased numbers and our effect on the environment. More pollution, species loss, rapid glacier melt, and running out of resources like oil have all been shown to be happening on an upward trend for years. What is less obvious is how all of this effects our world in places like Oregon, where we’re in a situation like the frog in the slowly heating water – we probably won’t change what we’re doing until the heat is turned way up, otherwise, the frog, in this scenario slowly boils and dies. Now, with the current rain, we have a warning sign that can’t be ignored.

Will we be smart and move towards actions that will slow global climate change or will we continue to adjust to its adverse effects and grin and bear it? Some smart moves that I think Oregonians could take that might increase our chances of experiencing a better future would be to plant trees and stop clear-cutting the ones we have. This would improve our (and the rest of the world’s) air quality, help control storm water and erosion problems and keep hillsides from sliding. I also think it would make sense for there to be some sort of program to move people out of floodplains and onto higher ground.

If there’s a chance that this year’s rains might repeat regularly what other moves should we as a society consider to avoid the high costs of the damage and to keep us all safe and dry? I’m sure there are hundreds. Should we be removing any extra pavement that exists as the group Depave works to do? Should we be planting millions of fruit and nut trees to make ourselves more food self-reliant and cut down on shipping costs of food? Are millions of new community and backyard gardens in our future? I’d love to see a state-wide or bioregion-wide analysis done of how we currently use our land and other resources and plug in possible weather events into the equation. I’m sure that would shed light on how prepared we will be for any future contingencies.

Will we learn from the current weather event? I suggest we treat it not like a “100 year event” but plan for the possibility that it may happen again next week, and next year. Let’s plan for the future not be run over by it.

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I posted this article on Daily Kos and there have been 100+ comments in one day. It’s a very interesting discussion of this topic. I highly recommend giving it a read – some very cool analysis, ideas, links and videos on the topic.