We can all agree that 2020 has been a tough year, but despite all of its challenges, our work to stand up for the environment hasn’t stopped. At Environment Oregon, we have continued to advocate for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. We wanted to share with you some highlights from this past year and thank everyone who made them possible.
Oregon’s plastic bag ban went into effect
Nothing we use for ten minutes should pollute the environment for hundreds of years. Oregon’s statewide ban on single-use plastic carryout bags took effect on January 1st of this year. The law, passed in June 2019, made Oregon the sixth state in the country to ban single-use plastic bags. Despite some setbacks in the enforcement of the bill due to the pandemic, we are already seeing positive environmental impacts.
Governor Brown signed an executive order to tackle climate change
After two years of stalled progress on climate action in the Oregon legislature, Governor Brown signed an ambitious executive order in March to tackle climate change. The order puts a cap on climate pollution to lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduces climate pollution from cars and trucks by doubling the clean fuels standard, accelerates the transition to renewable energy for utilities, and increases energy efficiency requirements for new buildings and appliances. The full executive order can be found here.
Virtual Earth Day celebration
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we released a list of “Fifty environmental activities kids can do at home” as a resource for families across the state. With Oregon schools physically closed for social distancing purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic, this set of activities provides a broad array of easy-to-do activities for kids and their grown ups. They are part of our Greener Together program, which we launched in the Spring to give people resources to connect with nature and each other during these challenging times.
Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center launched “Climate Defenders”
The devastating wildfire event in September strengthened our resolve to do all that we can to stop the worst impacts of climate change. We launched “Climate Defenders” to bring together the voices of people across Oregon to create a loud and visible movement of people calling for bold climate action, and hundreds of Oregonians have signed up to regularly volunteer and make their voices heard.
Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act
The Great American Outdoors Act will permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually and provide $9.5 billion over five years to fix maintenance problems plaguing America’s public lands. This bill embraces what we all know to be true: protecting and enhancing our public lands is an essential part of the American ethos. Whether it’s local parks and hiking trails or national parks or forests, Americans love and utilize public lands. This bill is not only an investment in outdoor spaces but also in our health and well being.
Happy holidays and cheers to even more progress in 2021!
State Director, Environment Oregon
As director of Environment Oregon, Celeste develops and runs campaigns to win real results for Oregon's environment. She has worked on issues ranging from preventing plastic pollution, stopping global warming, defending clean water, and protecting our beautiful places. Celeste's organizing has helped to reduce kids' exposure to lead in drinking water at childcare facilities in Oregon, encourage transportation electrification, ban single-use plastic grocery bags, defend our bedrock environmental laws and more. She is also the author of the children's book, Myrtle the Turtle, empowering kids to prevent plastic pollution. Celeste lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and two daughters, where they frequently enjoy the bounty of Oregon's natural beauty.