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Comment of the Week: Thinking globally, denying climate change locally

Posted by on January 2nd, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Oregonian front page day 2

Well, at least that much is true.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

People who don’t know BikePortland well, especially those who don’t bike much themselves, are sometimes surprised to learn that we don’t see ourselves as an environmentalist website.

Cutting your carbon is a great reason to ride a bike, but there are plenty of others.

Even so, most bike users have probably spent some time thinking about the relationship between small-scale and large-scale environmental action. Maybe that’s why so many readers’ nerves were touched by the link in this week’s Monday Roundup to the Oregonian editorial writers’ odd editorial explaining that they wouldn’t be editorializing about climate change this year because climate change is a national and international issue.

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Reader Nicholas Skaggs, posting what seems to be an email from a friend of his, seemed to capture many readers’ feelings in a few paragraphs that slashed the newspaper’s argument from several angles.

From my friend Mark, regarding the Oregonian:

“We’re not going to write about climate change because it’s a discussion best held on a national and federal level. Except when we do write about climate change we will write negatively about any steps Oregon might be taking to help alleviate the causes of climate change.

Oregon is only 1.2% of the U.S. Population, which is only 4.4% of the worlds population, which means that we can only talk about climate change on a federal level.

Except when we do talk about climate change, which we did last week, when we lambasted the governor for trying to make a difference, because not adding a drop to the bucket is hurtful to Oregonians, and it’s a discussion best held on a national and federal level.

Even though all of our readers suggested we focus on climate change, if you’ve read the Oregonian you know we have a distinct view, we decided not to cover climate change because it’s best talked about on a national and federal level.

Except when we do we’re definitely in support of the exploiters and the people who are producing carbon emissions, which we don’t talk about as being part of the problem, because that conversation is best held on a national and federal level.”

For his efforts, we’ve got a nice and crisp $5 bill headed to Nicholas Skaggs. (We’ll let him decide whether to pass it on to Mark.)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the comments this week.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

43 Comments
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    JerryW January 2, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    So the people (especially children) of Portland, or other cities of Oregon will endure no effects of climate change? Only a national issue? That is just political of the Oregonian. We’ve had three consecutive holiday seasons where most ski areas could not open due to lack of snow, that’s our water supply people, and it’s a massive change. Rightwing rags usually lose readers and credibility, it’s sure to happen to the Oregonian. Don’t these people have kids, grand kids? Look what we are leaving for them?

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      wsbob January 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      “…Rightwing rags…” JerryW

      That description fits if limited to occasional editorials on the O’s editorial page, and not the rest of the increasingly slim newspaper.

      Second article here on bikeportland, about the O’s editorial announcement that it won’t be including climate change on its 2015 editorial agenda, so I decided to read the editorial.

      Overall, the editorial board’s reasoning displayed in that editorial seemed peculiar to me. Though it’s understandable in part, where the members essentially say that they believe state priorities should be on development that keeps people employed.

      Where their reasoning is peculiar, is where the O ed board members say that the state should not make decisions based on concerns over climate change that could cost Oregonians jobs, such as associated with the LNG facility proposal in Coos Bay, and the “…coal transfer facility on the Columbia River near Boardman. …”. The members say:

      “…It requires either profound myopia or incredible arrogance to pretend that any policy adopted by Oregon lawmakers will have a meaningful effect on the earth’s temperature. …” Oregonian Editorial Board

      That’s really strange reasoning. Basically, it’s: ‘Sit on your hands, do nothing to keep from mucking up the environment in Oregon, because our state being just a dinky little corner of the globe, can’t have much effect on climate change anyway.’.

      Where Oregonians want to draw the line, I guess is the question. How far are they willing to mess up the environment they live in for the sake of jobs. Do they care to explore and develop more ways to create jobs without negatively impacting their environment. If the O ed board doesn’t want to participate in the statewide climate change discussion, that’s fine. Guaranteed, most everyone outside of their board room, will continue discussing this issue.

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        spare_wheel January 3, 2015 at 8:41 am

        “That description fits if limited to occasional editorials on the O’s editorial page, and not the rest of the increasingly slim newspaper.”

        I could not disagree more with this statement more.

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          wsbob January 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm

          ““That description fits if limited to occasional editorials on the O’s editorial page, and not the rest of the increasingly slim newspaper.”

          I could not disagree more with this statement more.” spare_wheel

          Okay, you disagree, but your disagreement doesn’t mean much without an accompanying explanation as to why you disagree. Outside of the O’s editorial page, the rest of the newspaper seems to cover the same news stories as the NYtimes, the Wall Street Journal, two other papers I browse somewhat regularly.

          Some people accuse the Times of being liberal, and the Journal of being conservative, but really, it’s little more than name calling, most likely by people that squirm when encountering someone willing to share opinions and viewpoints that don’t correspond with their own opinion and viewpoint.

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            soren January 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm

            I consider the conservative billionaire-owned Oregonian to be anti-labor rights, anti-public education, anti-science, anti-environmental regulation, anti-social-welfare, and profoundly anti-government.

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              davemess January 5, 2015 at 8:58 am

              and anti-bike?

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            davemess January 5, 2015 at 8:57 am

            See the comments section of Olive.

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              wsbob January 5, 2015 at 8:13 pm

              “See the comments section of Olive.” davemess

              For what reason are suggesting a look at the comment section of O-live? If you’ve got something to say, you might make an effort to explain what it is you’re trying to say, and save people from guessing.

              People posting comments to the online versions’ stories, do not establish and sustain the paper’s position on the liberal-conservative continuum. It’s the papers’ owners and employees that do that.

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                davemess January 6, 2015 at 9:44 am

                True, but usually papers want to play to their core audience, which in this day and age of dying print media is mainly older and more conservative.

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        Alex January 3, 2015 at 8:59 am

        “Though it’s understandable in part, where the members essentially say that they believe state priorities should be on development that keeps people employed.”

        You have to have an environment to live in to be employed.

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          9watts January 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

          Or as Gaylord Nelson famously put it:
          “The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.”

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          wsbob January 3, 2015 at 3:19 pm

          “…You have to have an environment to live in to be employed.” Alex

          This is something I expect many Oregonians both east and west of the Cascades and the Coast Range would agree with. It also is one of the reasons I think the O ed board’s decision not to have climate warming be one of the subjects of their editorials in the coming year, is peculiar.

          With the mention that it’s not nearly so simply a question of having or not having an environment in which employment will be available, but more particularly, what kind of environment Oregonians want to have to work and live in.

          The O ed board’s words leave people wondering whether the members believe Oregonians in favor of jobs, should be willing to subject the state’s environment and themselves, to something less enduring and uplifting than what the state’s natural attributes are widely recognized as offering residents and visitors alike, to Oregon.

          I guess it’s a matter of where, based on their own personal ethics, people believe the line should be drawn. When opportunity presents itself, I think it’s important to reflect on the question of state environmental responsibility posed by the landfill out in Arlington, way down on the east end of the Scenic Columbia River Gorge. I forget how many truckloads of trash get hauled up the gorge, everyday, to a big area of prairie some people think of as of no environmental value. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s jobs, so it’s justifiable. Or is it?

          Trash is being dumped on the prairie out there according to state and fed environmental guidelines, so the O ed board likely thinks this trash disposal strategy is just fine too, along with the LNG facility and the coal transfer facility.

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      Mickey January 3, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Human reproduction is the Alpha and Omega of damage to the environment, no other activity comes close. Transportation choice is insignificant compared to reproductive choice. If you want to do something about climate change, don’t ***Insensitive word deleted by moderator***. Want kids? Adopt.

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        meh January 5, 2015 at 7:05 am

        So place the burden of giving birth on someone else but really don’t reduce the number of humans on the earth. Adopting doesn’t fix a thing.

        You solution is the same as buying carbon credits.

        You’re the fat man paying the anorexic to diet for you.

        Neither person changes their actions but somehow the earth is better off.

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          davemess January 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

          uh, that would result in less kids being born.

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        Oregon Mamacita January 5, 2015 at 8:16 am

        “If you want to do something about climate change, don’t breed.”

        Referring to a woman giving birth as “breeding” is misogynistic hate speech. Not that any of you guys would notice……

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          Cheif January 5, 2015 at 11:55 am

          “Breeding is the reproduction, that is, producing of offspring, usually animals or plants:

          – Breeding in the wild, the natural process of reproduction in the animal kingdom
          – Animal husbandry, through selected specimens such as dogs, horses, and rabbits
          – Plant breeding, through selected specimens such as trees”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeding

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            Oregon Mamacita January 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm

            Are you arguing that it is okay to use the term “breeder”?

            Jonathan- hate speech alert. Really tired of the misogyny. Wrecking the whole scene.

            Gee, where have we recently heard about male bike activists not stepping up and calling out other men for misogyny.

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              Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 5, 2015 at 1:38 pm

              Oregon Mamacita,

              Thanks for telling me how you feel about that term.

              I personally would never use that term because it lacks class and it’s mean — but it wasn’t until I read your comment that I was aware that it is much more than just a harmless jab (which is the context I’ve usually heard it used in).

              I will edit that word out of the comment and add it to my list of words that are not OK to use here on BikePortland. Thanks again.

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                Mickey January 6, 2015 at 8:39 am

                Misanthropic not misogynistic, the word “reproduce” could be substitued without my meaning being changed. I meant it as a technical term not any kind of “hate speech.”

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                Oregon Mamacita January 6, 2015 at 9:51 am

                “Breeder” is hate speech, just like f%g. But please, by all means, keep using the term. It warns women that the activist cycling community cannot be trusted.
                Can you mention a word that makes this blog uninviting to you? Name calling like dork, nerd, four eyes? Think about how that word would feel to you if I used it and it got ten up votes.

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                Oregon Mamacita January 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

                BTW- thanks for re-framing my concern as my failure to understand Latin.
                Stultus. You like to dig the sexism hole deeper, right?

                The term you are looking for, Mickey, is “sorry.” “Sorry I did not realize that “breeder” is considered inappropriate by many.”

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                9watts January 7, 2015 at 2:05 pm

                Oregon Mam(a)cita,

                I learned a bunch looking up the history of the term breeder following your post upthread, and appreciate you calling my/our attention to this. But I feel it is worth pointing out that the term that is typically used as an insult, and that you keep flagging, is a noun: breeder; the term Mickey used: breed, is the verb form. Not to split hairs here, but I am not aware of the two terms having the same problematic usage history.

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                Oregon Mamacita January 7, 2015 at 4:32 pm

                9 watts, Thanks for understanding that, for many women (and men) child birth is a very special thing in our lives. Men cry at the birth of their kids…

                Yes, you are splitting hairs. Take another slur and then see if it feels any nicer once you change from verb to noun. It doesn’t. When you use br–d to discuss the most beautiful moments of my life, you are comparing me to an animal and showing a hatred of kids/mothers. It reduces me to my reproductive organs and knocks my gender & sexual orientation. (I was born straight & remain so).

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                9watts January 8, 2015 at 8:56 am

                Glass houses, Mamacita?

                Not so long ago you were hectoring people here about their pets, how they were a scourge on our planet, a threat to the climate. You even used the word breed. Then you suggested we eat them.
                http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/6416683/Pet-dogs-as-bad-for-planet-as-driving-4x4s-book-claims.html
                But I don’t recall anyone taking this histrionic tone you’ve here adopted with you back then.

                Oregon Mamacita
                If dogs are bad for the climate- why can’t we have dog sharing and smaller dogs. The big dogs don’t live long, so a campaign to raise awareness would not result in putting them down. We would just breed less dogs.
                Recommended <img style="padding: 0px; border: none; cursor: pointer;" id="up-4745476"

                http://bikeportland.org/2014/04/21/are-parking-permits-a-solution-to-neighborhood-parking-wars-104904#comment-4740312

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                Oregon Mamacita January 8, 2015 at 5:42 pm

                Just for the record, I don’t advocate eating dogs, coal rolling, the tea party etc, 9 Watts. I am sorry that, for one brief moment we were conversing productively, but then out come the attacks. You know, I may be the only woman in the biking community to question anti-car type positions on this blog. And I periodically get disgusted & leave.

                BTW- it’s okay to refer to animals as “breeding.”

                Keep putting out the unwelcome mat, guys. As we know from HN, there are problems with male-female relations in the biking community. And we have no growth in biking – maybe because of a male-dominated biking culture that ignores women’s perspectives. Funny- there are lots of affinity groups in PDX and lots of professions where sexism is a thing of the past.
                But biking- well, that’s a problem. I think I’ll join ABATE as a non-riding member. The grizzled motorcycle guys are actually more likely to be gentlemen than my fellow bike riders. Over and out, unless the HN article gets written.

                I assume you’ll continue to use the term br—der for for heterosexuals- esp. women. That’s your choice. I thank Mr. Maus for hearing me out.

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                Mickey January 8, 2015 at 5:51 pm

                I am not sorry. I didn’t use the word “breeder,” I used the word “breed.” As I said, “reproduce” could be substituted without any change to my meaning. I am not anti-woman, my solution to overpopulation would be for 100% of men to get vasectomies.

                “You know, when we first set up WWF, our objective was to save endangered species from extinction. But we have failed completely; we haven’t managed to save a single one. If only we had put all that money into condoms, we might have done some good.” – Sir Peter Scott, founder of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

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          Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 9, 2015 at 9:40 am

          Oregon Mamacita and 9watts,

          Let’s step back for a minute and take a deep breath.

          I want to make sure everyone has a chance to comment on the issues in a safe and productive space. The goal of comments on BikePortland is to enrich the conversation and add new perspectives to the story — The goal is NOT to win debates about issues completely unrelated to the story.

          Events in recent weeks have caused me to take another look at how I manage this community. One of the things I will be watching more carefully is how some commenters dominate the conversation and seem to always need to get the last word.

          And it should go without saying… That even if two of you are debating an issue, you must do it in a way that is always positive and supportive of one another. Failure to do that will result in your comments being deleted and your name being but on the auto-moderation blacklist.

          I hope you understand. Please contact me directly if you have concerns or questions – maus.jonathan@gmail.com.

          Thanks.

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    Todd Boulanger January 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Jonathan…how about making it $6…so he can also tip the beertender!

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    Mossby Pomegranate January 2, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Environmental website? No…but very very political.

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      BIKELEPTIC January 3, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Personal website? Yes. Responding to an article in which bikes help the environment vs cars & carbon offsets? Yes.

      A great book, and topical to another article is Elly Blue’s book “Bikenomics: How Bicycling Will Save the World If We Let It” http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/3664/

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    J4son January 2, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    The “national and international” excuse sounds as though it is the Rape-and-Pillage Political Party’s new way of not talking about the Emperor’s New Clothes.

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    Matt Pie January 2, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Insanity.

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    Paul January 2, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    When I raised the issue at a DEQ hearing of millions of tons of CO2 being added to the atmosphere by a proposed local power plant, that same argument was used, that it was a “global” issue.

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      9watts January 2, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      These people have no imagination, no concept what real solutions might look like. Sadly, those charged with shepherding this issue for us (the Oregon Global Warming Commission) also have no imagination. Their reports are unreadable, full of jargon, and include no exploration, no articulation of what regular people could do, should do to help us get through this tough epoch.

      But I expect 2015 to be pretty interesting. The naysayers are going to look pretty foolish.

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  • TonyT
    TonyT January 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I did some research a while back regarding the O’s stance on a number of transportation/environmental issues over the last 40 years or so: Mt. Hood Freeway, removing Harbor Drive, CRC, that sort of thing.

    With these issues, they’ve pretty been much been on the wrong side of history every time.

    My motto regarding the Oregonian is “Whatever the O says, do the opposite.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlY

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    Nick Skaggs January 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Aww! Gosh! Comment of the Week?

    I’m flattered- and forwarding the crispy prize to my buddy Mark.

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    Jim L January 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for covering this. It is good to have a place to hear people’s perspectives on the Oregonian’s myopia without funneling more traffic to the their website.

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    Oliver January 5, 2015 at 10:17 am

    The O is very much “Thinking Globally, and Acting Locally”

    The Oregonian, as an extension of it’s owner, is taking a global issue, “Climate change”. And they are acting locally, by refusing to provide information on the local effects of it, and or a forum for local debate and action on it.

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    Justin Carinci January 5, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    They are happy to keep running guest opinions about climate change “hysteria,” a term that you’ll see again and again.

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    Oregon Mamacita January 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Gracias.

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    Lizzie January 8, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Climate change is not a political issue – it’s real and it’s affecting our planet, therefore everyone. If we ignore this issue, including a local newspaper, it will be harder to rally support to take action to save our planet and ourselves. We need to heed the warnings now. There are many and they are urgent. Change now may give us a slim chance of surviving this century.

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