Category Archives: Commentary

Commentary written by OCA & others

COVID-19, Capitalism, and Climate Disruption

How will the coronavirus change perceptions
of climate change

By Krestine Reed

I’ve become interested in how COVID-19 sequestration (a.k.a. social distancing and shelter-in-place) may effect GHG and other factors contributing to climate change. There is much being written that acknowledges just how little time is required to make a significant visible and measurable change. We are currently emerged in a real-time case study that shows how existing energy and economic systems adapt to abrupt changes. I’m just hoping that those in the power seats are paying attention. Here is an article of interest that was in Scientific American, March 12, 2020.   

“History suggests that global disasters, particularly those with major effects on the economy, tend to drive a temporary decline in carbon emissions. The 2008 recession, for instance, was accompanied by a temporary dip in global carbon emissions.  On a local scale, the climate impact of an epidemic is more complex—it’s likely to hinge on a wide variety of changes in the way people carry out their daily lives, from how often they leave their homes to how they travel around their cities to how they do their shopping.”

I recently noticed that capitalism never misses a profit making opportunity. In the security of our “social distancing” confines comes the offer to purchase a new automobile and have it delivered to your driveway. And if your personal income stream is interrupted by COVID-19, you are offered extended terms in which to begin repayment. Now that’s ingenious marketing in a fear-based downturned economy. Only in America does consumerism and materialism have the fervor of religion. I’m a little disappointed though, so far I’ve only seen automobile manufacturers of combustion engines offering this deal. At my new house, I got local channels included in the Wave package, so I watched some TV with all those ads. Thank goodness I can get the TV channels option removed.

Subaru: Stop Helping the Trump Administration Make Cars Less Efficient

The Union of Concerned Scientists (Winter 2020) reports that Subaru is in a group of automakers trying to fight California’s right to keep a higher emission/efficiency standard while the Trump administration is rolling back the national standards.

OCA member Janis Burger is a Subaru owner and she’s written a letter to Ms. Anton, Manager of Corporate Communications in the U.S. ( Janis would like to share that letter with other members and Subaru owners alike.

Why California gets to write its own auto emissions standards:
5 questions answered — The Conversation

Why Trump Wants to Revoke California’s Clean-Air Waiver — The Atlantic

Search: California’s clean-air waiver

Dear Ms. Anton,

I’m hoping you can pass these concerns on to the relevant corporate decision makers.

I’ve been a Subaru owner for most of my adult life, as are many of my friends here in outdoorsy Washington state. We are also surrounded by mountains with declining snowpack and retreating glaciers. We are seeing worrisome declines in downstream water supplies, increasing forest fires and days with health-compromising smoke, and more. And ocean acidification is exacerbated on our coast and impacting tidepool species, even in Olympic National Park and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. They can be protected somewhat by their park and sanctuary status, but not from inaction by us humans regarding climate change.

It’s a crime that the newest Subaru’s and even the hybrid Cross-trek barely get better mileage than my old 1992 Legacy got. The Obama administration’s efforts to increase vehicle efficiency and emissions standards were a strong move to cutting global emissions. Now the current administration is ignoring science and trying to roll those back and is even challenging California’s right to keep the higher standards. So it’s shocking that Subaru is part of the disingenuously named Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation that is fighting California’s right in the absence of stronger federal standards. As the Union for Concerned Scientists has reported, Subaru at least has removed the hypocritical posting on its website about AWD vehicles keeping us safe in a changing environment, all the while fighting efficiency standards that would help fight that change.

I will be taking a look at Honda’s line of SUVs and hybrids now since they, BMW, Ford and VW are siding with California.

I hope Subaru’s management will be a better corporate citizen of this planet, join the automakers above to embrace the original Obama guidelines (or even strive to exceed the more ambitious standards since we’re seeing the climate warming faster than even experts predicted).

I’ll be sharing this email with all my Subaru owning friends and members of our local climate action group so we can get the word out.

If you have any updates, I’d love to hear from you.

Janis Burger

OCA announces climate platform for 2020

It’s time for all good folks to come to the aid of their land, their water, their air, and all beings that call this rock home. At our Ground Hog Day 2020 meeting, OCA announced that we will not abide any more years of climate inaction and adopted this set of principles as our 2020 Climate Platform, free to all political and community leaders who care to use it.

A Thanksgiving Call for Climate Action

By Mark Dunlea, Green Education and Legal Fund

Accelerating climate change will likely cause the collapse of civilization. Sooner rather than later.

Civilization is a complex web of social and economic interactions that takes centuries to reach its peak, but once it begins to unravel, collapse often occurs swiftly. Prior collapses of human societies have primarily been due to environmental factors. In most cases, solutions existed, but they threatened the power and wealth of the ruling elite. The elite chose the status quo.

Scientists increasingly raise the possibility of the extinction of the human species. We are already in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of species, with half or more of the species expected to die off. Insects and pollinators are rapidly disappearing. Humans are dependent on other species for many things critical to human survival, such as food and oxygen. (Plankton, which produce half of the world’s oxygen, are rapidly approaching extinction.)

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DNR: Adopt a forest carbon policy

By consensus at our Oct. 6 meeting, OCA has sent the following letter to the State Board of Natural Resources and Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz:


The Washington State Public Lands Commissioner has a legal obligation to investigate and consider all reasonable, foreseeable mitigation and adaptation measures related to climate change. The DNR has completed an assessment of climate-change-related risks and has acknowledged significant threats to forest, agricultural and aquatic resources, and is working on climate resilience strategies; however, DNR needs a clear directive from BNR to focus strongly on the challenges posed by the climate crisis.

We believe that if a market were created to reimburse the State and Local Taxing Districts for forest carbon sequestration at the Social Cost of Carbon and State-managed forests were managed for optimal sequestration over the next century, they would produce far more income and employment for timber communities and their taxing districts than the income and employment currently generated by timber harvests. That income would grow year after year and provide a stable financial anchor for our timber communities. Numerous additional benefits would flow from such management, including cleaner water, steadier stream flows, healthier populations of fish and wildlife, more recreational benefits, reduced fire danger, etc.


Trump an “embarrassment”

“How dare you?”

Right here, right now is where we draw the line, The world is waking, and change is coming whether you like it or not.

Greta Thunberg, speaking before the United Nations, 9/23/2019