MAkE OREGON GREEN AGAIN
‘MOGA’ IS our Political campaign slogan
Our family moved here in 1990 because we were drawn to Oregon’s environmental quality and natural beauty. As part of my career here as a civil engineer, I took an interest in designing alternative (decentralized) public water and wastewater treatment systems. That interest led me to China, where I witnessed firsthand the widespread industrialization that is fomenting the literal death of nature. Of course, China’s government is aware of this and acutely aware of the need for water conservation. Consequently, my time there was spent introducing wastewater treatment technologies that is helping to achieve their environmental goals.
These technologies are needed now in Oregon too. Our infrastructure is past its useful life and in serious need of replacement with new concepts and modern technologies. We must resist replacing it with old technologies because many aspects of our functioning cities, work habits and land use concepts will change as autonomous vehicles, environmental sustainability and accelerating data transmission rates affects all aspects of our lives.
Once you’ve lived in China, your appreciation and sense of responsibility for Oregon’s clean air, blue sky, clouds, rain and healthy forests takes on a whole new meaning. I could not be more dedicated to preserving this beautiful place for generations to come. Together, Oregonians can have it all, a human integrated natural environment, a robust economy and a restored sense of place and purpose as we set an inspiring example of environmental leadership. Let’s Make Oregon Green Again! Here’s how to get started:
Our Current Problems . . .
Without going into my view of the economy, suffice it to say that I’m concerned about the complacency we have toward the possibility of another significant recession or worse. The truth is that not much has fundamentally changed from the financial practices, institutions and economic environment of 2008. In fact, those same dysfunctional financial markets attributed to the Great Recession are still in place today and are even more unstable and even more global. Indeed, there is ample evidence to suggest that we could be living within the greatest economic bubble in human history.
We are experiencing some of the above dislocations closer to home in Oregon. It’s obvious that Oregon’s economy is largely defined by asset price inflation – primarily real estate. The unaffordability of housing relative to wages is clearly not sustainable. There is no question that something needs to be done to close this gap before homelessness and financial stress reach a social tipping point.
If that weren’t troubling enough, we have an emerging environmental crisis otherwise known as climate change. Now, opinions vary as to the extent of this problem and how correlated it is to human activity, but there is no debating the record high percentage of C02 in the atmosphere and the fact that we have rapidly reintroduced carbon (in the form of crude oil and natural gas) into the biosphere within the past 100 years. It is clearly time that we incorporate carbon management into all human activity and resource needs.
Here’s the good news: There is no reason that a free market economy cannot be effective in reducing both the above troubling trends. This is especially true in Oregon.
Oregon’s environmental response to previous logging practices was essentially, “hands off”. That’s understandable. But we overshot. Today our forests are full of understory brush that are literal timber boxes that will burn up as global temperatures rise. That would be a natural occurrence, but we cannot permit it to occur – “hands off” no longer works. We must actively manage our forests; There are ways that we can selectively log our forests to help them thrive as temperatures rise. Understory brush can be converted to peat bogs that consume CO2 and newly planted trees will grow to sequester many times that of a full grown tree. The wood products we will produce through sustainable logging will go to wood intensive structures designed to last centuries. Jobs will rise, housing costs will fall, the economy will grow.
Of course the devil is in the details. But managed forests will absorb many times more CO2 than human activity produces and in the process sustain our economy. Logging, farming, fishing, hunting, winter sports, water sports, beaches, tourism: these are obviously dependent on sustainability. So too are our great technology, software, aerospace, sportswear, medical product companies; they depend on skilled labor who live here for same reason: quality of life in this place. Let’s Make Oregon Green Again!