The Gorge joins hundreds of locations, worldwide, calling for action to address the global climate crisis.
- Lillie Tomlinson, Co-Leader, Hood River Valley High School Earth Action Club, 541-387-2207
- Peter Cornelison, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, 541-490-8473
- Rev. John Boonstra, Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network, 541-505-6282
Hood River, OR – Starting on Friday, Sept. 20, and running through Sept. 27, youth and adults from around the Columbia Gorge will kickstart a week of climate action, participating in a worldwide strike for the climate. They will join millions of other people across the globe calling attention to the climate emergency.
This generation of K-12 students is living at an unprecedented time in human history, with each year in their young lives hotter than the last. Research recently released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that July 2019 was Earth's hottest month in 140 years of recordkeeping.
According to senior Lillie Tomlinson, co-leader of the Hood River Valley High School (HRVHS) Earth Action Club, “We don’t feel like we have a choice. Politicians and fossil fuel companies have known about climate change for decades yet very little has been done. The quest for profit over life now threatens our very existence. The crisis is real and it cannot be ignored any longer. I worry about my future every day, this is a new reality for young people.”
On Friday, Sept. 20, people are encouraged to wear black and gather at Overlook Park (fish water fountain next to the stairs) on State Street in Hood River to participate in the strike, either for an hour or the day, as many will. Homemade signs are welcome. Music will start at 3:30 p.m.; at 4 p.m. a rally will take place with speeches from youth leaders followed by a demonstration, depicting the ultimate effect on humans if climate change continues unchecked.
Peter Cornelison, Friends of the Columbia Gorge field representative said, “Climate change is a serious threat to the Columbia River Gorge. In solidarity with the students leading climate strike efforts around the region, our offices in Hood River, Washougal, and Portland will be closed to the public on Sept. 20.”
In New York City, on Saturday, Sept. 21, the UN will convene its first ever Youth Climate Summit, attended by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Hood River High School Senior Eva Jones. The Summit will provide a platform for young climate leaders to showcase their solutions on a global stage and engage directly with decision-makers on the defining issue of our time.
The Wasco County Democrats will hold an ice cream social called “Keep it Cool” at The Dalles City Park on Sunday, Sept. 22 from 2 to 4 . There will be free ice cream for everyone who walks, bikes or carpools to the event.
On Monday, Sept. 23, young people and adults will ask The Dalles City Council at 5:30 p.m. and Hood River City Council at 6 p.m. to consider a resolution endorsing the declaration of a climate emergency and requesting regional Gorge wide collaboration on an immediate just transition to restore a safe climate. Concerned citizens are encouraged to attend.
The Columbia River Gorge Commission will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 8 in Cascade Locks with climate change as the focus topic. The current Gorge Management Plan, revised once a decade, contains no mention of climate change. A revised Management Plan scheduled for adoption next year, must include mandatory steps to address climate resilience. Public comment is welcome at this meeting.
Reverend John Boonstra, a Hood River organizer with Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network, remarked, “I look back at the summer of 2019 with an uneasy distance. Wildfires raged in the Artic. July was the hottest month in human history and the Democratic National Committee declined to hold a debate on climate change. Still, I celebrate efforts going on within our Gorge neighborhood to recognize the changing climate reality and will not stand by as its threat escalates and threatens our futures. I urge Gorge residents to participate in the climate strike and attend public meetings to let their voices be heard.”
Peter Cornelison added, "The energy and passion of these young leaders on climate is inspiring and a lesson for us all. The Gorge Commission and others leaders should heed their call to action and start working to address the impacts of climate in the National Scenic Area now."
About the Hood River Valley High School Earth Action Club: The Earth Action Club was started by Hood River high school students and past actions include leading annual Earth Day events, participating in a mock trial to support the Youth vs Gov. lawsuit and working on recycling at the high school. The Earth Action Club is an official club of Hood River Valley High School and meets on Friday. All high school students are welcome. Science Teacher Ted Cramer is the club advisor and the club meets in his homeroom. Learn more: facebook.com/hrvhsearthaction.
About Friends of the Columbia Gorge: Friends is a nonprofit organization with over 6,500 members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge area. Friends maintains offices in Portland, OR, Hood River, OR and Washougal, WA.
About Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network (CGCAN): CGCAN educates, organizes and motivates Columbia Gorge activists to reduce and eliminate fossil fuel usage and climate change, at all levels from individual to global. We encourage clean local renewable energy, conservation, community sustainability and resilience throughout our National Scenic Area. Learn more: cgcan.org