Feb 27, 2016
For the past quarter, I’ve been the Clean Energy Campaign Coordinator for OSPIRG at the University of Oregon. My fellow students and I know that climate change is the greatest threat of our time. Globally we’re already experiencing the symptoms of climate change, which include more severe storms, ocean acidification, and drought. Here in Oregon, last summer wildfires devastated property and led to huge consequences for our health and economy. This is the issue of our generation, and that’s why we decided to take action.
Two weeks ago, me and 34 other students from the University of Oregon, Southern Oregon University, and Lane Community College partnered with Environment Oregon to lobby our legislators in Salem in support of SB 1547 B, the bill to get Oregon off coal and increase clean energy in the state. The week before our trip, 80 dedicated student volunteers at all three campuses talked to 15,000 students and ultimately collected 3,300 signatures in a matter of four days in support of repowering Oregon with clean energy like wind and solar and getting our state off coal.
When I first walked into the capital I was nervous. I had never before had the opportunity to lobby legislators, and I had always viewed them as untouchable, as people who were above me.
After my first meeting, I couldn’t believe how wrong this view was. The meetings I had with Rep. Nancy Nathanson, Rep. John Lively, and many others were more productive than I have ever thought they would be. Everyone I met with was incredibly receptive to our thoughts and ideas.
As luck would have it, the day that we went to Salem was the day of a hearing on the bill. The bill was passed through the house only a few days after we were in Salem and I do feel that the other students that I played a role in making that happen. Lobbying for this bill was such an amazing experience that I was lucky to play a part in. I hope we can finish the job this week and make Oregon a leader on clean energy.