500 Women Scientists is an international organization dedicated to combating the climate crisis by tackling the intertwined issues of climate, social, and economic justice. Each city chapter, or “pod,” sets its own agenda depending on local conditions in order to create change via lobbying authorities, organizing local committees for specific projects, and most importantly, educating the public. The pod aims to ensure that the community does its part to influence state and Federal governments to take action against the climate crisis.
The Corvallis pod will join with other local groups participating in the international Climate Action Week, September 20-27, bringing activities and educational opportunities to Corvallis – including a student-led strike on September 20, and a community march on September 27. Members from 500 Women Scientists joined with other climate activists from various local groups through the conglomerate Corvallis Climate Action Alliance (CCAA) to plan for these events.
Despite its name, 500 Women Scientists is not limited to women, but does especially want to empower women and advocate for equality. It’s not limited to professional scientists either, but does promote science and scientific literacy. The group welcomes members of all ages, and is especially proud of the leading roles which students at Corvallis High School and Crescent Valley High School are taking. Both schools have their own active and independent groups run primarily by student members.
At a recent organizational meeting, the Corvallis pod discussed the creation of a concise platform.
Carol Cina, a pod member, stresses, “It’s not a question of people or governments, it’s not either/or, it’s both/and. It’s the vast majority of people who need to get involved.”
Amy Holte of the Sunrise Movement emphasized the Global Climate Strike. She said that there was nothing else to call the current situation but an emergency: “If global temperatures rise two degrees more, the rising sea level, hurricanes, fires, wiping out of communities, and the creation of migration crises will all become a runaway disaster.”
Currently, the city of Corvallis maintains a sustainability policy, enacted in 2004 with five major goals targeting sustainable employment, facilities, purchasing, vehicle carbon footprint, and waste reduction. While these goals have seen growth and improvement, 500 Women Scientists ultimately believes that the city should hire a Sustainability Manager who would oversee all relative goals.
The pod struggled to reduce their platform to just five action points, but finally settled on the following:
1. The City of Corvallis must declare that a climate crisis exists.
2. The City must fund a Climate Action Plan: Establish a Sustainability Manager; Pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030; Regularly issue a greenhouse gas assessment
3. The City Council must pass an ordinance requiring that climate, jobs, and justice be used to evaluate all new projects, programs and procedures.
4. The group will work at the state level to promote climate action legislation, especially bills to: Help the transition to 100% renewable energy; Develop electric transportation; Establish municipal control of utilities
5. The group will educate and raise awareness among the public and politicians regarding: The damage climate change is doing to Oregon; What they can do to combat climate change; How the Green New Deal can help to bring about social, climate, and economic justice.
Anyone interested in helping implement these goals, or in joining the local pod, can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or join their Facebook page, 500 Women Scientists Corvallis.