NECN joins call for State to divest from fossil fuel

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The NECN Board of Directors voted on November 18 to endorse the Oregon Climate Declaration, a citizen-initiated statement calling for the State of Oregon to divest from fossil fuel companies and instead invest state-managed funds in renewable energy companies. In an open letter from Board President Alan Silver, NECN encouraged all Portlanders to sign the Declaration.

The Climate Declaration calls for governments, universities and other institutions to divest from the top-200 fossil fuel companies within five years. When an institution divests, it withdraws its funds from stocks, bonds and other investments that it deems to be unethical.

Judy Perry, a resident of the Sullivan’s Gulch neighborhood, brought the Climate Declaration to the attention of NECN’s Safety and Livability Team (SALT) after hearing about NECN’s public call for a statewide moratorium on oil train transport in June.

Perry, who worked as an environmental scientist and teacher in Massachusetts before moving to Portland in 2011, says she agrees with the scientific consensus regarding the link between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change.

“I love the outdoors in New England and Oregon,” Perry said. “The beauty of our trees and birds, the wildlife near rivers – I hate to think that all of this is at risk from the droughts and extreme rainfall we can expect because we have not curbed our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Perry is concerned that elected officials are not tuned-in to a growing public consciousness about the need for climate action. This concern drew her to 350PDX, the local group working to collect 100,000 signatures for the Climate Declaration by early 2015. Perry emphasizes that the Declaration presents “a simple way to add your voice, so that together, our voice will be loud enough to cause politicians to pay attention.”

In recent years, NECN has voiced its concerns about a variety of environmental justice issues affecting N/NE Portland, including oil trains and climate change. All residents are invited to join the discussion by attending an upcoming SALT committee meeting. The next meeting is Monday, January 26, 2015, 6:30pm at NECN (4815 NE 7th Ave.).

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