Dont wait to cut household energy use

Letters to the editor

I agree with Kat West's prediction, it is likely that some parts of the country will be so affected by severe weather events, drought and flooding that the inhabitants will need to move to someplace more livable ('Portland should brace for 'climate refugees,' ' June 9).

While we don't know the time frame, the recent extreme weather should prompt us to act on her call to action sooner rather than later. As a community, we already have many educational efforts under way around sustainable living, such as gardening, urban farming, transportation alternatives, energy conservation, renewable energy, recycling and reuse. But more is needed just to reach everyone who already lives here and to integrate newcomers from places where they have not been familiar with these ideas.

We already have local and state climate-change goals that call for reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2030. But what does such a deep reduction look like for a household? What specific changes in lifestyle and behavior can achieve the goal? How would we avoid sacrifice and added burdens in making the changes?

Just educating ourselves about our household energy use and how to track it over time to see if we are reducing it would be a first step toward achieving our goals of deep reductions. Once we can compare our energy use with other households, we will naturally tend to cooperate and compete to reduce.

This seems like a practical idea, because it doesn't cost more money to track energy use - rather, is a change in awareness and behavior. And most households could reduce their energy use simple by cutting the waste.

I hope we can welcome newcomers into a community where they will find sustainable living to be the norm, with lots of resources for them to discover and ways to participate.

Mike O'Brien

North Portland

Plenty of water in Southwest

Uh, you might want to check current conditions ('Portland should brace for 'climate refugees,' ' June 9). Inflows to Lake Powell are almost 189 percent of normal. It's going to be a little tough to enjoy a drought with all that water laying around.

For more info, go to

Layne Blanchard

Bellevue, Wash.

Expect uninhabitable inland first

Good story, but other areas of the country will also see these climate refugees ('Portland should brace for 'climate refugees,' ' June 9): the upper Great Lakes, New England, upstate New York and also the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland.

Inland USA will become increasingly dry, hot and marginally habitable to totally uninhabitable by mid-century.

Peter S. Mizla

Vernon, Conn.

Climate 'refugees' bring misfortune

Kat West suggests that Portland can protect its 'livability' with more planning and government intervention ('Portland should brace for 'climate refugees,' ' June 9). Unfortunately, this city has already been under assault by refugees for some time.

Our city government has spent extraordinary amounts of taxpayer money to keep these refugees happy, even though a great many of them arrive with no money, drug and alcohol dependencies, criminal histories and no intention of working or paying taxes.

They create problems for responsible citizens to resolve, and that's why they are refugees. They go where they think the bureaucrats and taxpayers will treat them with kindness, asking no questions about personal accountability for their misfortunes.

Obviously, Ms. West has written her piece to justify the security of her own government job, but regarding the future, it's a logical assumption to say that people in climate-deprived parts of the country who are financially solvent will probably stay where they are, because they can afford the resources needed to keep them comfortable.

Thus, the only refugees coming to Portland will be more people like we have seen in the past, who will contribute and produce nothing useful and bring only more demands for taxpayer handouts.

Where does Ms. West think the money is going to come from for future refugee planning when the government is broke now? Once the salaries, pensions and health benefits of public employees like her are paid for, there is little left over anymore that actually serves the working taxpayer, let alone the refugees she is fervently planning for.

John Tomlinson

Northwest Portland