Coming from Missouri, I always viewed the West Coast — Oregon, in particular— as being dozens of years ahead of my home state in environmental policy. Then, the wildfires came. The weeks before my move-in day at Oregon were full of family members asking me if it would be safe, checking the air quality and keeping my eyes glued to social media feeds, watching in horror as the state I have idolized for so long burned.
Yes, Oregon is far ahead of the Midwest environmentally, and my move-in troubles are nowhere in comparison to those of the 4,000 Oregonians who lost their homes in these fires. But clearly, the actions we have already taken as a state are not enough to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Oregon needs to embrace its image as a leader in environmental policy and continue to be an example for the rest of the country. A commitment to 100 percent clean energy is far overdue — Washington and California have already passed this commitment. Oregon passing this as well would only further allow the West Coast to be a catalyst for environmental change. If we continue to wait, the issue can only get worse. It’s time for Oregon to commit to 100 percent.