Are Portlanders Environmentalists?
Portland is one of the most liberal cities in the country, on paper. Our neighbors are Democrats, Greens, Working Families Party members, anarchists, socialists, and the like. We garden, subscribe to CSAs, ride bikes, and talk plenty of talk.
But what happens when you suggest that we’ve got to increase the number of car-free households in the city (and the country) if we want to slow the rate of CO2 emissions?
“Not everyone can ride a bike.”
“Cars aren’t going away any time soon.”
“I need to get my kids to 3 after school activities in 3 quadrants 3 times a week.”
Are our neighbors who say these things environmentalists or not?
Is their identity as nature lovers, liberals, as “Portlanders” enough to convince them that they need to change, or at least stop opposing environmentally focused reforms (like upzoning, no minimum parking, parking permits)?
Should we push people to either accept and support the post-Paris agreement reality, which was the reality all along, or to stop identifying as an environmentalist?
Should we worry about alienating supposed allies if, when push comes to shove, they won’t actually stand up for what they say?
What do you think?