Today, increasingly complex environmental challenges require active, informed citizens more than ever. Here are some tips for exercising your citizen responsibilities.
Registration is now open for the Northwest Earth Institute's 2014 EcoChallenge, which begins in October! Register now, and consider taking the "civic engagement" challenge: OEC can help with the following ideas and resources to ensure that your challenges is a success.
Oregon Environmental Council was founded in 1968 by citizens who wanted a strong environmental voice in decision-making.
Today, increasingly complex environmental challenges require active, informed citizens more than ever.
Here are some tips for exercising your citizen responsibilities:
Who is making decisions about the environment in Oregon?
More than a dozen state agencies work with The Governor’s Natural Resource Office to advance the state’s environmental programs (see 10 year plan). The state legislature shapes agency work with legislative measures and budget decisions. Agencies also carry out federal law delegated by the US EPA.
It can be challenging to track all the decisions across so many agencies! Here are a few ways to stay informed:
- Environmental Justice Task Force: Citizens are invited to raise concerns about environmental issues at this quarterly meeting.
- Legislator’s environmental scorecards: See how advocates rate the environmental records of elected officials
- Oregon Conservation Network and Central Oregon Conservation Network: Dozens of groups are doing the work to stay informed about state decisions and weigh in on behalf of the environment.
- Oregon Environmental Council Action Alerts: Know when it’s time to weigh in on key decisions in our state.
- News: Sustainable Business Oregon and OPB’s EcoTrope regularly cover environmental issues.
As a citizen and a consumer
Public opinion makes a significant difference for our elected officials, but also for the businesses that have an impact on our environment. Your duty as a citizen and a consumer is to send clear messages about what you value. Here are a few resources to get started:
- Sign a petition at change.org
- Contact your elected officials (see our citizen action guide)
- Write a letter to the editor (see our guide)
- Get involved with the consumer action campaign to get toxics out of consumer products: Mind The Store
- Recruit your local Oregon businesses to sign the Climate Declaration
Spread the word:
Be a catalyst for action and advocacy
Experts have shown that in addition to personal values, people are moved to action by the influence of their social circles. You can move your friends and neighbors to action by making your own actions visible and inviting others to act.
- Host a “house party” with OEC's experts on toxics in the home
- Make your actions visible: Look for bumper stickers, yard signs, t-shirts and other ways to express your commitment.
- Try a fundraiser! Check out these 50 creative fundraising ideas.
- Help raise the profile of environmental issues: like, share and comment on OEC's Facebook page and Toxic Free Oregon. Also check us out on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.