Yesterday we got some great news about climate action in Bend. After a year of hard work, we secured the final funds we need to begin implementation of the Climate Action Resolution adopted by the Bend City Council in September 2016.
The immediate news is that donor families at the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) have committed $50,000 to support creation of a climate action plan for Bend. Their generous support means our community also gets $50,000 in matching funds from Partners for Places, a group of national foundations that support local sustainability and climate action projects. Together with $50,000 from the City of Bend and $25,000 from local individuals and businesses, we now have the full $175,000 we need to launch the climate action planning effort for Bend.
I say “we” because this was a collaborative effort. The Environmental Center worked closely with City of Bend staff, OCF staff, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the volunteer activists of our Bend Climate Resolution Working Group to raise these funds. When the resolution passed, we made a commitment to support the City in securing the funds to implement the resolution. We followed through on that commitment.
I also say “we” because it reminds me that meaningful climate action is not something any one person, organization or government can achieve alone. Only collective, collaborative effort will make a meaningful difference. And while our current national leaders have lost sight of this truth, we haven’t here in Bend, Oregon.
I must admit it’s surprised and frustrated me that it’s taken this long to get started. But that also illustrates another truth about meaningful climate action: perseverance will pay off. This is not a short game. We’ll continue to experience resistance. We will have a long journey ahead of us to reverse the build-up of climate pollution that is driving rapid global warming, to achieve the goal that Paul Hawken calls “drawdown”.
I am proud of the hard work The Environmental Center and our local partners have done to persuade our City Council to adopt a Climate Action Resolution and to secure the funds our City needs to implement the resolution. And I am excited to jump in, sleeves still rolled up, and begin the hard work of creating Bend’s climate action plan.
There is so much we can and should do to start changing the trajectory of climate pollution and global warming – actions that will be good for our climate, for people and for our economy.
The truth is, our work’s not over. It’s just getting started.
-Mike Riley, Executive Director