Dec 04, 2018

As a mom of four kids working multiple jobs, my life is a constant balancing act. My family thrives on routine.

Like so many others in Salem, my family routines were turned upside down when the water crisis hit. For over a month, my family and thousands of others were not able to drink city water. I’m fortunate that we have a car to get water and flexible schedules, and know that it has been even more difficult for others.

Even so, I felt overwhelmed at times from the trips to the fill-up stations for water, jugs in the kitchen and bathroom, uncertainty in restaurants, and fears my toddlers would drink toxic water while playing in the bath.

My business was affected, too. One of the biggest days of the year for my donut shop was National Doughnut Day, which fell on June 1, right after the first water advisory.

When the climate crisis hits close to home

It was a challenge stocking bottled water to make batter, brew coffee, or wash fruit during the water crisis. This change created an unexpected expense and increased labor to run my business successfully.

The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute has found that toxic algae blooms are likely to become more common as Oregon lakes and reservoirs get warmer due to climate change.

Climate change means more time where our water is dangerous to kids, seniors, others with vulnerable immune systems, and pets.

Warmer and drier summers are making wildfires more frequent and severe. We’re already in fire season in Marion County. Last summer, I recall both marching band and soccer practices being canceled due to poor air quality, and we couldn’t go camping because of the fires.

Here in Salem, climate disruption has already impacted our everyday lives once before, and it means water we can’t drink, and smoke that makes it hard to breathe. Failing to act is dangerous for our health, and it’s also expensive.

If we don’t act on the climate crisis, people here in Oregon stand to lose billions of dollars each year from droughts, wildfires, sea levels rising, and more.

It’s time for Oregon to do its part to address the climate crisis. We can reduce carbon pollution and ramp up our use of clean energy and modern transportation, which creates jobs and reduces our dependence on foreign oil and fracked natural gas.

There are solutions

The Legislature has convened a committee to consider how Oregon can reduce climate pollution, led by Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek. The most important proposal being considered is the Clean Energy Jobs bill, which puts a cap on climate pollution from the largest sources and invests in clean energy and other strategies to make us better prepared to address climate change.

I want my kids to grow up in a place where we protect clean air and water and the people in our communities. The Clean Energy Jobs bill is the biggest step the Legislature can take to do just that in 2019.

Guest blog post by Andrea Doyle Hugmeyer, small-business owner and sexual-violence educator at Willamette University in Salem. This originally appeared in the Statesman Journal as a guest opinion piece.


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