House on spit isolated behind riprap.  Photo courtesy of DOGAMI.

House on spit isolated behind riprap. Photo courtesy of DOGAMI.

Our Climate Program is our means of addressing the dominant challenge of our time in history—the anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change that threatens to transform our planetary habitat and affect everything Oregon Shores works to protect. 

Climate activism generally falls into two categories: mitigation (or abatement) and adaptation. Mitigation refers to reducing the net output of greenhouse gases produced by human activities, while abatement refers to reducing the gross output of these pollutants; both mitigation and abatement mean efforts to reduce our output of greenhouse gases. Oregon Shores strongly advocates reducing use of fossil fuels and other practices (e.g., deforestation and loss of marshes) that increase the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Increased erosion is a predicted effect of climate change. Photo courtesy of DOGAMI.

Another way that Oregon Shores is involved in abatement is through helping to establish a regulatory approach that makes it possible to develop ocean renewable energy (such as wave energy) in a manner that does not damage marine ecosystems. Through our Ocean Policy Advocate, Robin Hartmann, who serves on the state’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council and also on the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, Oregon Shores has taken a leading role in pushing for rigorous planning that would enable development of ocean renewable energy to go forward while being carefully monitored for environmental impacts. 

Much of Oregon Shores’ work, though, has focused on adaptation to global warming, both because some degree of warming with its attendant impacts (such as sea level rise, increased flooding and erosion, ocean acidification, and an increase in invasive species) is inevitable, and because helping people to envision the impacts and what must be done to respond to them is the best way to bring the gravity of the situation home and create stronger support for abatement measures. 

Oregon Shores has conducted a pilot project in community planning for climate adaptation, and now seeks funding to scale this up for the Oregon coast. We are also developing a model wetlands ordinance that incorporates an adaptive response to climate change and sea level rise, which when complete will be available to coastal cities and counties. We have also created a portfolio of background papers intended for all citizens, not just experts, which both describe climate science and introduce relevant planning concepts. You will find an article on these papers elsewhere on this page, with a link to the background papers. 

If you have questions about Oregon Shores’ Climate Program, contact Phillip Johnson, our executive director, at (503) 754-9303,