As of November 2018, Earth’s atmosphere contained just over 408 parts per million of CO2 – a far cry from the 350 parts per million that climate scientists the world over are saying we need to achieve in order to create a sustainable future for humanity. This threshold would theoretically prevent the planet from warming more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels, putting us in what they consider to be a safe zone. But with such an incredible danger lurking, what can we do to help? Better yet, how can we do it from here in Corvallis?
Well, that’s where 350Corvallis comes in.
As a local extension of 350 (http://350.org), an organization dedicated to combating global warming via CO2 reduction, 350Corvallis provides a non-profit platform for disseminating information and engaging the public on critical climate change issues. In order to do its part in the worldwide effort, the organization looks at local issues, such as reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, supporting climate friendly foods, and fostering local climate action plans.
For example, 350Corvallis provides resources that can help you lower your carbon footprint by decreasing your intake of animal products, both in terms of diet and otherwise. Not necessarily a philosophical stance, animal-based foods and products simply require more land use, as well as contribute to higher freshwater consumption and greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based alternatives. Whether you’ve been a lifelong vegetarian or vegan, have been thinking of trying it out, or simply want to reduce your intake, the 350Corvallis is a good website to get resources across a myriad of topics.
Looking critically at our region, they cite fossil fuel reliance as a primary concern. While the traffic may be mild (to say the least) compared to areas with much larger cities, Oregon as a whole faces its fair share of issues related to gas pipelines, liquid natural gas shipping terminals, and oil transport trains. Specifically, 350Corvallis has mobilized against the Jordan Cove Project, which is aiming to build a natural gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos County. While this initiative has garnered a lot of support due to the number of jobs it will bring in, many are concerned about environmental damage from fracking and other effects, the danger of natural disasters affecting the pipeline, and the list goes on.
350Corvallis is also the driving force behind the Climate Action Plan Task Force, which aided Corvallis in the adoption of an official Climate Action Plan. The aptly-named Corvallis Climate Action Plan was written and passed by the city council in late 2016 after a two year research effort, and promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through mitigation and adaptation strategies and actions for the City of Corvallis and the community. An advisory board was then formed late in 2017 to implement the plan, which calls for a city-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by ten percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and then 75% below the 1990 levels by the year 2050.
If you are interested in getting involved with 350Corvallis, definitely check out the website, but also consider attending one of their meetings. They happen every fourth Thursday of the month from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Westminster House, 101 NW 23rd St. There are also numerous other events you can attend – all easily accessible from their calendar online.
Want to have an impact? This is how you do it.