Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
7113 Griffin Lane
Jacksonville OR 97530-9342
February 7th 2022

Chair Holvey and Members of the House Committee on Business and Labor

I write as co-facilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now on behalf of the over 1600 rural Southern Oregonians who are SOCAN. Our mission is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and motivate individual and collective action to address the resulting climate crisis.

One of the realities that we understand in addressing the climate crisis is that in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting carbon sequestration, we must prepare for the inevitable warming and climate change that are baked in as a result of the emissions already released.  This preparation, known as adaptation, involves adjusting our behavior in ways that allow us to maintain a healthy, vibrant and sustainable lifestyle even as changes befall us.  Achieving adaptation involved identifying the most vulnerable segments of our community and determining how best to protect them from the oncoming changes.

We are well aware that farm and forest workers, along with construction workers who must work outdoors are among the most challenged by global warming itself and the climate change and increasing wildfire risk that this imposes.  We are also very aware that some employers of these vulnerable workers are insensitive to the health risks that heat and smoke inflict.  The result is that workers are often expected, at the risk of losing their jobs, to work long and unconscionable hours while being exposed to heat and smoke, sometimes even without reimbursement.

It is often argued that a measure of our civilization is how well we treat the most vulnerable among us.  Here is a perfect opportunity for the Oregon Legislature to demonstrate that it cares about vulnerable Oregonians.  In fact, HB4002 requires no more of employers than they would require of themselves if they were behaving responsibly. The only justification for opposing this bill is if one rejects the notion that employees should be treated fairly and justly.  The Oregon Legislature should not reward such unconscionable attitudes and behavior.

As residents of rural Southern Oregon, we are acutely aware of the threat climate change and wildfire pose to our friends in the agricultural arena. For the above reasons, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now endorsed HB4002 and commends it strongly to your attention for a ‘Do Pass’ recommendation.

Respectfully submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

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