Oregon Holds First State Conference

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By Tamara Staton, Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator

This past Saturday, in Eugene, Oregon, we celebrated our first ever Oregon State CCL Conference!  While we've hosted regional conferences in our Greater Pacific Northwest region every year since 2014, this year we opted for multiple state conferences, and chose the mostly central location of Eugene to come together to host 60 people for a full day of climate education, action and motivation.

We started with two concurrent sessions, one designed for newer CCL volunteers — the Climate Advocacy Training, led by Brian Ettling — and a brunch for discussion and networking among those with more CCL experience, hosted at a local restaurant in their private upstairs room. 

One of our conference goals was for people to come away with a clear understanding of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763. A bill panel of volunteer “experts,” each presenting information on one or more aspects of the bill, answered questions from the audience. The panel did a fantastic job, and kept up with the well-formulated questions from the audience.

Another highlight was the session about how a bill becomes law, presented by Carol Yarbrough and Leilagh Boyle, co-leaders of our new Lane County Chapter in the Eugene area. Using a slide show, they walked through close-up images of a depiction (see photo below) of the legislative process created by Betty Grant, the 3rd co-leader of their chapter. It was helpful for many of us to see our bill drop in the hopper (an actual box on an actual desk), and understand the nuances that many of us likely missed in high school civics.

Being on the Left Coast, the Green New Deal has been a huge topic of discussion in our state. We heard from David Holmquist, a former CCL regional coordinator, over video conference about his perspective on messaging around our bill and the Green New Deal. As expected, there wasn't enough time for this discussion, but David was kind enough to offer a follow up Q&A on Sunday evening over Zoom.

Late afternoon breakout sessions ranged from “Agriculture’s Role in Addressing the Climate Crisis” to “Messaging to the Left and the Right” to “Making the Most of Community 3.0.” In her session entitled “Engage and Influence Others via Letters to the Editor,” Emily Gibson, co-leader of the Bend CCL chapter, developed a letter-writing resource that will surely benefit us all, and succeeded in collaboratively writing a letter to the editor that was ready for submission by the end of the workshop.

This conference was a clear demonstration of the power of collaboration and volunteer commitment. Every presenter volunteered their time to participate in the program, and the set-up and clean-up crews were joined by conference participants willing to lend a hand. Five students from Cottage Grove High School supported us with a variety of set-up and logistical tasks, from food preparation to technology management.

We wrapped up our conference with a small gathering at the local Falling Sky Delicatessen, where 20 of us gathered for delicious food and relaxing conversation after a long yet full day of education and climate advocacy. People seemed energized and grateful, sharing how happy they were that they’d “met so many nice people” and attended “so many great workshops.”

Thank you to everyone for your collaboration and participation in this fabulous day amidst a weekend of record rainfall in Eugene. The world and its ecosystems are clearly in need of our commitment to action.

Posted by Steve Valk on Apr 10, 2019 10:41 AM America/Los_Angeles

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