The Next Standing Rock? A Pipeline Battle Looms in Oregon

Don Gentry and Emma Marris, New York Times, March 8 2018

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Each spring and fall in the old days, Chinook salmon swam up the Klamath River, crossing the Cascade Mountains, to Upper Klamath Lake, 4,000 feet above sea level. For millenniums, the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians fished salmon from the lake and the river. The Klamath had agreements with the downriver tribes — the Karuk, Hoopa and Yurok among them — to let fish pass so that some could swim all the way back to their spawning grounds.


Ruch school gets energized by the sun

Kaylee Tornay, Medford Mail Tribune, March 8, 2018

A new day is dawning at Ruch Outdoor Community School, at least for powering its buildings.

The school, whose new name alone underscores its connection to what lies outside its walls, is the first in Jackson County to make a major switch to solar power. The Medford School District aims to have 33 solar panels installed on its south-facing, newly seismic-retrofitted roof by the end of the school year.


Winter Disappointment

Mark Freeman Medford Mail Tribune and Ashland Daily Tidings, February 15, 2018

By Thursday morning, Southern Oregon can expect to have seen another underwhelming storm event come and pass, bringing with it Spartan amounts of new snow and ushering the “D-word” back into the weather conversation.

Snow that fell in the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains Wednesday barely — if at all — moved the snow gauges, which show snowpack levels plunging when they should be rising, and there’s no white knight in sight to save them.


But no mention that this is exactly what climate science projections suggest.

Satellites show warming is accelerating sea level rise

Seth Borenstein, Associated Press, Medford Mail Tribune, February 13, 2018

Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite research shows.

At the current rate, the world’s oceans on average will be at least 2 feet (61 cm) higher by the end of the century compared to today, according to researchers who published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.


The politics of caring for Mother Nature

Shaun Hall, Grants Pass Daily Courier, February 6, 2018

Speakers at an environmental forum in Grants Pass on Saturday tried to tiptoe around hot-button issues, but sometimes they just couldn’t avoid it.


“I was told not to get too political,” said local middle school teacher Bob Bath, taking the stage at the Wild River Pub wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word RESIST.

And push back he did, in large part, mainly by suggesting ways people could avoid waste in a world of consumer goods and energy gluttony. One of Bath’s 25 or so suggestions was to go ahead and obtain
solar panels, despite tariffs placed on them by “the current president.”

The forum was sponsored by Rogue Indivisible, a liberal advocacy group formed in response to President Donald Trump’s election. About 80 people were in attendance Saturday.

Speaker Jack Shipley didn’t come close to avoiding politics — he spoke of the politics of timber and environmental activism — although he spoke mainly of the last 25 years, since the founding of the Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council.

Shipley spoke about patience and listening and compromise.

“We would sue anything that had a pulse,” he said, remembering the old days. “We were winning the battle, but losing the war.”

But, environmental degradation continued, calling for a new approach. Shipley said he learned about lobbying, working with big business and government, and even sending the right person to pitch an idea.

“In many cases, you have to send the right messenger, if you want to get the right answer,” he said.

And he spoke of forbearance in the face of political changes in Congress, the White House
and federal forest management agencies, something he likened to shifting winds.

“We need to manage these ecological systems over time with continuity,” he said.

The partnership’s activities includes work to remove barriers in waterways, mainly on federal land, in order to make them more fish-friendly.

“It’s critical we start to collaborate,” he said. “It takes time and energy.”

Some of the speakers said the challenges ahead include reduced federal funding for fire management and recreational activities. Several urged the thinning of clogged forests.

Also speaking at the forum was Alan Journet of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, who was introduced as a “master climate protector.”

He spoke about rising temperatures in the valley, and how temperatures this century have been the hottest on record, with higher temperatures to come this century — reaching 8 degrees hotter on average,
unless human carbon emissions change.

“Medford is going to be like Redding (California) is now,” Journet said.

Higher temperatures threaten fish runs and western Oregon forest stands, he said. Also, the higher the temperature, the greater the fire danger, with fire season already 2.5 months longer than in the 1970s, he

“Climate seems to be the most profound predictor of fire,” he said.

Journet said the emissions causing the temperature rises were related to transportation, energy consumption and consumer consumption.

2017 Was the Hottest Year Yet In the World’s Ocean

Warming ocean waters can have harmful impacts on habitats like coral reefs and sea ice, to name a few.

Sarah Gibbons, National Geographic, January 28, 2018

Oceans aren’t likely to cool any time soon, a new study finds.

In fact, 2017 was the warmest year on record in the ocean, according to researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Their findings indicate a “long-term warming trend driven by human activities.”


SOCAN at Medford Womens March January 20, 2018


SOCAN marched and promoted Clean Energy Jobs at the Womens March in Medford on January 20, 2018

SOCAN proudly sponsored and joined the thousands marching and rallying in Medford on January 20th to promote resistance against the racism, sexism, social and environmental injustice, anti-science, and worship of ignorance displayed by the current Administration in DC.  We also promoted Oregon’s Clean Energy Jobs Bill.



Nick Morgan, Medford Mail Tribune, January 20th 2018

A crowd spanning generations and genders filled Medford parks Saturday, joining in a national demonstration of discontent over the country’s — and its leaders’ — direction.

For the thousands marching through downtown Medford in the second annual Southern Oregon Women’s March, Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit “You Don’t Own Me” became a rallying cry as the crowd packed Pear Blossom Park and spilled over nearby.


Guest Opinion: Clean energy would strengthen Oregon rural communities

Guest column by Merten Bangemann-Johnson in Medford Mail Tribune / Ashland Daily Tidings January 7, 2018

2017 was a year of compromise and disappointments in the battle for controlling climate change, both nationally and locally. Oregon’s temperature has been steadily climbing for years. We’ve seen early snowmelt, blistering heat waves, heavy downpours and a dangerous uptick in wildfire risk. The erratic weather trends will only worsen and will detrimentally impact our local economies for generations. Unless we address the root cause of global warming: wanton climate pollution.



Using the Airbnb Model to Protect the Environment

Seema Jayachandran, New York Times, December 29, 2017

As the world’s population grows, so does demand for land. One upshot is that setting aside big tracts to protect endangered species and carbon-rich forests is increasingly expensive.

Enter the Airbnb economic model. While it’s not a panacea, it provides attractive solutions for conservation as well as housing.


Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch Have Set Our Future on Fire

Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation December 11, 2017

The fires and storms ravaging the planet are only going to get worse, especially if we don’t end the power of climate deniers.

The fires of hell roared through the City of Angels, dispatched by the lords of darkness. Blasted by 80-mile-an-hour winds that turned palm trees into giant torches, the blazes that ravaged Los Angeles and Southern California beginning December 4 were the worst veteran local firefighters could recall. As the conflagration entered a second week, it had already destroyed an estimated 1,000 structures, burned hundreds of thousands of acres of land, and left smoke-choked residents scrambling to buy face masks to keep breathing.