Are Portlanders Environmentalists?

Drowning EarthPortland 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?

3 Responses to “Are Portlanders Environmentalists?

  • Richard
    1 year ago

    It sounds like most liberal people want to ‘identify’ as progressive and environmentally responsible….as long as it doesn’t involve personal sacrifice. I hear the ‘but I recycle’ all the time. But the talk about adopting a vegan lifestyle, removing the lawn, going carfree (or even carlight) is out of peoples’ comfort zone.

  • Or, what is the result when it is suggested that higher density along transit corridors and around neighborhood centers is a good thing, environmentally? “Of course we need the density, we just need to do it right”. It turns out “right” is with lots of restrictions, like it has to minimize shading of a neighbor’s yard, it should have underground parking, it should have Design Review so the neighborhood can influence the design, etc. All of these restrictions, of course, raise the cost of such buildings, and militate against the possibility that such a building will actually be built, or if it is, cause it to be really high-priced.

  • the fact that our governor and legislature are selling Elliot state park to private lumber co.,s to give China cheap lumber, tells you what Oregon govt. is REALLY DOING.

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