In the days after 2017 Oregon Stewardship Tour, we have had time to reflect on the tour. The Oregon Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteers involved with the tour are very happy and pleased with the results.
For a recap, we had:
- 9 public outreach events
- 2 lobby meetings with district offices of Rep. Greg Walden
- 2 newspaper editorial board meetings
- 2 live radio interviews
- 4 published articles in Oregon newspapers featuring the tour
- 4 press releases published announcing local tour events.
Tour directly engaged over 180 Walden constituents
When we added up the attendance for all of the events, we estimated a total of 167 Walden constituents attended our events. When we add up the side meetings (editorial boards, newspaper interviews, radio hosts, community leader meetings) of those that did not attend public events, we easily engaged over 180 people, not including all of the radio listeners who heard the live on air radio interviews or the newspaper readers who saw the articles and press releases about CCL.
We asked attendees at our events to fill out constituent comment forms and postcards to let Rep. Greg Walden and their members of Congress aware they want climate action. 34 constituents of Walden filled out comment forms and 41 individuals filled out postcards insisting that he act on climate. 4 filled out constituent comment forms are actually constituents of Rep. Peter DeFazio. However, that is still 38 completed forms to give to their Oregon members of Congress that climate change is a top concern for them.
The Northwest Regional Director for CCL was extremely pleased with the tour. We currently have 6 active chapters in Oregon: Portland, Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, Bend, Southern Oregon. However, she felt the tour created 6 areas she could list as ‘in progress’ chapters. These are areas exhibiting some local interest in Citizens’ Climate Lobby that may eventually become an active chapter.
Our tour even caught the attention of the national Citizens’ Climate Lobby organization. They wrote a blog post about our tour that was posted on their website on Nov. 9.
Besides promoting and organizing for CCL during the tour, we gave a positive plug for Renew Oregon for their efforts to organize to get local constituents to ask their Oregon legislators to pass to pass a Clean Energy Jobs Bill for the 2018 session in February. That bill would cap carbon pollution by taxing the largest Oregon polluters. The money collected from this tax would then be invested in Oregon clean energy jobs and businesses. We had 16 Oregonians fill out postcards in support of this Renew Oregon Cap and Invest proposal.
We learned that people across Oregon, even in the most conservative and rural parts of Oregon are concerned about climate change and they want Congress to act. Lake County, led by its county seat of Lakeview, is a national leader in clean energy. It is actually a net exporter of clean energy with all of the solar energy it sells to California.
John Day, Oregon, is concerned about diminishing water resources for its community from less snowpack. City Manager Nick Green has focused his efforts as the city leader to push for a new water treatment plant that would capture and recycle up to 400,000 gallons of wastewater a day. It would use uses hydroponically grown plants to treat the wastewater for re-use.
After we gave our presentation in John Day, one local citizen, Jim, was worried the Oregon Stewardship Tour was “only a one-time visit where we would leave in the morning.” Brian assured him that we want this to be an ongoing conversation and discussion about climate policy and CCL. Jim seemed pleased with this response.
We did have a few folks at the Redmond and Lakeview events who rejected the science of climate change and opposed any action to address it. They asked challenging questions during these events. We were so glad they participated. Their tough questions challenged us to keep improving our presentations to address their concerns in our talks as we continued along on our tour.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.”
Towards the end of these events, we sincerely thanked thanked these tough audience members for coming to the events. We appreciate their questions because it did make us better presenters.
This tour was inspired by other previous CCL road tours, such as the 2015 Texas Energy Freedom Tour, 2016 Southern Energy Freedom Tour, the February 2017 Alaska Big Dividend Tour. Hopefully, the 2017 Oregon Stewardship Tour will be an inspiration for other Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers and climate leaders to go on the road to do something similar.
We hope the 2017 Oregon Stewardship Tour will inspire you to act boldly by joining Citizens’ Climate Lobby or just do what you can to act to reduce the threat of climate change.
Personal note from Brian Ettling
I (Brian) was exhausted when I returned to my home in Portland, Oregon on Saturday evening November 4th. I had traveled in my car close to 1,600 miles. I was fortunate to stay with 7 different amazing local hosts in each of the towns where I spoke, plus one hotel. With all of the driving and running from meeting to meeting, I was run down with a cold and could hardly speak by that final day last Saturday. Physically, I was feeling worn out. Emotionally, I felt sky high from all of the experiences.
At times during this tour, I felt way out of my comfort zone traveling to remote parts of Oregon where I did not know anyone to give climate change talks where I had no idea how they would respond. Because of that, I did feel a little nervous and stressed at times during the tour.
However, the positive responses we received from the audience and our fellow CCL friends made the tour entirely worth it. If you are very concerned about about climate change and looking to make difference, I highly recommend going out on the road and doing a tour like this.
As I like to say, “When we act boldly, it inspires others to act boldly.”