Ashland Climate Action Project

The Ashland Climate Action Project (ACAP) was formed in late 2019 to work to ensure that climate action is a top priority in Ashland and incorporated into all city planning and decision-making. Through education and outreach we inform and engage  residents to work together to reduce our community’s climate impact and support full, timely implementation of Ashland’s Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP), as a complement and support to the work of the Ashland Climate Policy Commission and the Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission.  For more information or to receive periodic emails about our upcoming programs and events, email Chair Lorrie Kaplan, at lorrie@socan.eco

2021 Initiatives

“Natural Gas”: The Fossil Fuel You Came to Love
Seduced by methane, now plagued by heartburn

A Zoom Conversation – March 25, 7-8:30pm

Click here to register! 

Studies show that most Americans think “natural” gas is a clean fuel that does little harm from a climate or pollution perspective. Residential and commercial use of natural gas in Oregon has soared in recent decades. We hear a lot about “decarbonization”, but in some ways, “natural” gas, also known as fossil gas is primarily methane and is in some ways worse than coal. This panel discussion will update us on the latest research on the climate, environmental, and health impacts of natural gas, including impacts on indoor air quality from gas appliances. We’ll also touch on gas bans that many cities and other government entities have enacted and how gas companies have responded to these bans.

This is the first in a series of conversations we will host in 2021 on the economic, social equity, and practical implications of our natural gas connections–and our desire to sever them. Click here to register! 

PanelistsDan Serres, Conservation Director, Columbia Riverkeeper; David Farrer, Toxicologist, Oregon Health Authority; and Tom Graly, Co-leader of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition’s Electrification Working Group

 

Ashland Community Climate Action 2021 Survey 

The SOU Office of Sustainability and the SOCAN-Ashland Climate Action Project invite community members to help Ashland reach its climate goals by helping to create the 2021 Ashland Community Climate Action Survey.  Community members are invited to apply to serve on the survey Advisory Panel by March 7 or submit suggested topics for the survey by March 15.  The project also offers opportunities for volunteers. 

 The purpose of the survey is to continue to build effective, sustained community climate action in Ashland.  We are committed to: 

  • Embracing our responsibility to address climate change with urgency, optimism, and care for all members of our community, our natural environment, and future generations
  • Building momentum for effective community action and results aligned with the Ashland Climate and Energy Action Plan
  • Bringing forth the voices of all members of our community, in all its diversity. Send your survey suggestions to us by March 15
  • A thoughtful, professional, and transparent process
  • Using best practice survey methodologies, engaging expertise and survey technology from SOU 
  • Learning from other cities, nongovernmental organizations, research/academic institutions and scholarly publications

All correspondence related to this project should be sent to Lorrie Kaplan, Chair, SOCAN-Ashland Climate Action Project – lorrie@socan.eco, and Rebecca Walker, SOU Sustainability and Recycling Manager, walkerr6@sou.edu.  


Spotlight: Sustained Climate Action News Comes to
The Ashland Tidings 

In November, ACAP launched “Spotlight,” a bi-weekly column on local climate action in The Ashland Tidings. Our focus is on how residents, businesses, nonprofits, and the city are working to achieve Ashland’s local climate goals and learn from what other towns and cities are doing. Send story ideas anytime to ACAPSpotlight@socan.eco.


ICYMI: Transit Equity Day

SOCAN-Ashland organized a panel presentation for Transit Equity Day, February 4, 2021, in honor of Rosa Parks birthday.  Thank you to our AWESOME moderators and panelists:  Linda Peterson Adams, Stephen Bishop, Karyn Criswell, Stacy Matern, Tonia Moro, Amanda Pietz, and Paige West. You brought us a wealth of information with grace and style.

Transit Equity resources:


“Other Side of the Hill” Film: Just Watch It.

Our screening of the new independent film “Other Side of the Hill” attracted some 80 attendees in October and 140 in January.  The film is now available free on demand from the film websiteThe film spotlights Eastern Oregon communities that have embraced renewable energy projects, defying assumptions about climate change attitudes in conservative rural Oregon.  

Produced by James Parker of Synchronous Pictures, Other Side of the Hill is a beautiful and compassionate film that defies the narrative that conservative Eastern Oregon is ignoring climate change. From large-scale solar and geothermal in Lakeview to innovative timber and wind energy operations in Wallowa County, the film shows how renewable energy projects are taking off in Eastern Oregon, providing skilled jobs and substantial county tax revenues– nearly $1 million to Lake County alone in 2020. 

The film also offers an opportunity to strengthen connections between regions of Oregon that have become isolated from each other by bitter partisan divides. 

2020 Initiatives

LED Bulbs Project

ACAP partnered with Oregon Energy Trust  and Rogue Climate to make LED bulbs available to residents of Talent and Phoenix as these communities rebuild.

Outreach to Talent and Phoenix Leaders 

We sent a letter of support to climate leaders of Talent and Phoenix with the following message: 

Most importantly, we wish to express our solidarity with you during this devastating time, when so many residents of Talent and Phoenix have lost so much. 

“We honor the work you and others are doing to support those residents and their urgent needs. We hope to participate with you and others in the valley about how to continue to improve the sustainability and resilience of our communities in terms of fire hazard reduction and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We would welcome the opportunity for greater regional integration of these discussions. On many issues, but especially on climate action, we will be far more effective working together than separately. We are all connected.”

2020 Ashland Climate Voter Project

In the run-up to the November 2020 elections, the Ashland Climate Action Project built on the survey report and local volunteer energy to launch the 2020 Ashland Climate Voter Project. The project featured a series of Zoom Candidate Events in September to discuss local climate issues and action with the mayoral and city council candidates. Our candidate forums–recorded live and then uploaded to YouTube — were viewed nearly 1,000 times. Thank you to all who participated and shared this information. Visit the Ashland Climate Voter Project page, including links to the recordings of the Candidate Events on YouTube.  We’ll look to build on this success in 2022. 

Summer 2020 Survey

In June and July 2020, the Ashland Climate Action Project of Southern Oregon Climate Now (SOCAN), conducted an online survey of Ashland residents entitled, “Lessons Learned from Recent COVID Restrictions: Imagining the Future of Ashland.” Executive Summary: 225 individuals completed the survey, nearly all of whom live in Ashland as well as some who work here. The responses shed light on Ashlanders who are highly concerned about climate change and already taking individual action. Despite the disruption, confusion, and isolation of recent COVID social restrictions, nearly all respondents described positive aspects to their experience and an opportunity to see Ashland’s beauty and vulnerabilities in a new light. The vast majority stated that they are extremely (61%) or very (29%) concerned about climate change. Other findings:

  • 88% stated that it is important for individuals to take steps to adapt to climate change
  • 82% of respondents stated it is important for residents to reduce their climate impacts and nearly 86% have already taken steps to do so
  • Nearly 88% believe we can reduce our climate impacts and have a healthy local economy, and are calling for leaders to create a more diversified, sustainable, affordable, and resilient economy  
  • 84 respondents want to work on climate action issues in Ashland; the issues that most interest them include supporting local growers and promoting renewable energy

The results suggest that there is a significant number of Ashland residents who care deeply about climate issues and are willing and ready to work on climate action. The results also suggest that more education is needed about Ashland’s Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) and how to achieve local greenhouse gas reduction goals. We conclude the report with additional recommendations for city operations, policymakers, residents and businesses along with resources for more information. Read the full Ashland Action Final Survey Report

More About Us

Our Vision: Full and timely implementation of Ashland’s Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP).  We believe that leadership and informed action by the city, its residents, and businesses will reduce Ashland’s climate impact and strengthen our community. 

Our Mission: SOCAN-Ashland Climate Action Project, a project of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN.eco), works to ensure that climate action is treated as a top priority in Ashland and incorporated into all city planning and decision-making. Through education and outreach we inform and engage Ashland residents to support full, timely implementation of the CEAP.

Why We’re Here: Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a great number of people, Ashland developed and approved a Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) in March 2017. The CEAP is a comprehensive, landmark document. However, implementing it takes time and commitment, and a willingness to change the way we think about our city and how we get things done. SOCAN-Ashland Climate Action Project was formed to raise the voices of climate activists and raise awareness bout climate action. Read the CEAP Executive Summary here.

How We Do Our Work

  1. Outreach and Organizing: Increase the number of Ashland residents who are knowledgeable about the Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) and supporting its implementation
  2. Education: Provide, facilitate, and/or promote education and information dissemination on timely topics related to CEAP and greenhouse gas reduction.
  3. Advocacy: Ensure a robust citizen voice that prioritizes climate action and advocates for full and timely CEAP implementation 

For more information about the Ashland Climate Action Project, contact lorrie@socan.eco