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Environment

Climate change is reality, and humans are partially responsible for it. We need to stop debating its existence, and rather work to prepare for the consequences, and reduce emissions so that the results are lesser. 

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Oregon’s recycling programs were hit hard by the Chinese government’s crackdown on materials in 2017, known as the National Sword. We were able to avoid most of the problems in Tillamook County, and had only to modify the sort for certain plastics. Some plastics are no longer accepted, but continuing to work on solutions for those materials will mean that we may someday again be able to accept them for recycling. 

Three years ago I started organizing groups to clean up microplastics from our beaches. Hundreds of volunteers have contributed thousands of hours to removing these harmful bits of plastic from Tillamook County beaches, from Manzanita to Neskowin. 

We need to acknowledge the success of expanded producer responsibility (EPR) programs, and require manufacturers to accept responsibility for their products at end-of-life, including the rollout of additional EPR programs for their products. The phonebook is full of companies that have made changes in European markets based on such programs, but refuse to make the same changes in the U.S., even though those changes would reduce the quantities of waste generated, and benefit the environment. 

The wetlands and estuaries are an integral part of Tillamook County’s ecosystem, and I will continue to support efforts to keep that ecosystem healthy and diverse. 

The average grocery bag is used only twelve minutes. Rather than wasting our finite resources to produce garbage, we need to produce value. It’s time we stepped up and stopped using plastic bags.