You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2012.

In the Portland area? Join the local NWEI community in kicking off the 2012 EcoChallenge, which formally begins Monday, October 1st! The EcoChallenge Launch Party will be held Friday, September 28th, 2012 from 8pm to 12am at the Green Drop Garage (1417 SE 9th St., Portland).

Portland Mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith (who is also participating in this year’s EcoChallenge) will be in attendance along with over 150 local NWEI supporters and EcoChallengers. Enjoy great community, inspiration for your EcoChallenge, free dessert, raffle prizes, music and more.

Haven’t registered for the EcoChallenge yet? You can register here.


Oregon Sea Grant has published a new book called Pathways to Resilience: Sustaining Salmon Ecosystems in a Changing World. It was written by salmon experts from around the Northwest and explores the radical approach of strengthening salmon resilience. It discusses salmon life histories and the social and economic impact salmon have on the people who depend on them for their livelihood. This book will be of interest to those who are active in fisheries as well as policymakers and anyone interested in the resilience of other ecological and social systems.

Jim Lichatowich, author of Salmon Without Rivers: A History of the Pacific Salmon Crisis, says, “The ideas in Pathways to Resilience are important guides in moving towards a different and sustainable relationship between salmon and humans…” Copies may be ordered online at

We are in our final stretch before EcoChallenge 2012 starts next Monday, October 1st! We have hundreds of participants signed up plus over 100 teams representing a diverse group of organizations including non-profits, colleges and universities, businesses and faith communities. Today we learned that Risa, a mother and writer from Gilbert, Arizona, has joined the EcoChallenge and created a team representing mothers from around the US and followers of her blog, Modern Methods and Timeless Tidbits, also known as The Mommy Dialogues. 

Read below for an excerpt from Risa’s blog inviting others to join the Challenge. Thanks Risa!

This year, we have decided to participate in NWEI’s annual EcoChallenge. The idea behind EcoChallenge is that, for two weeks, all you have to do is to change one habit for Earth. You choose your challenge (water, energy, food, transportation, or trash), and stay connected with other EcoChallengers to help support each other. I thought this would be such an awesome thing to get involved in for a few reasons.

A. I love the Earth! I try on a daily basis to be better with all things sustainable. After researching and watching some of the amazing videos of other Challengers, I just felt like this is a way to get better, to push myself to make a habit out of being conscious of the decisions I am making.

B. I love friends! Making subtle life changes for the betterment of all mankind will be so much more fun as a team. This is a chance for us all to work together towards one goal. The way we each reach that goal is just as individual as each one of us.

C. I believe in this cause. I believe whole-heartedly that if each person can make one simple change (i.e., turning the water off when you brush your teeth) everyone will benefit. Things are changing drastically on our planet and, as a mother, its important to consider our impact if we want to ensure a future for our children. NWEI doesn’t ask you to shell out any money (BUT if you would like to donate to this very worthy cause, click HERE), just your energy. Your partnership. Your belief that you can make a difference…

For the complete blog post, click here. And if you’d like to join the EcoChallenge but haven’t yet registered, click here for more info!

Portlanders: Join Oregon Environmental Council for an evening dinner and discussion event at 5:30pm Thursday September 27th, 2012 exploring climate change, the role of women and population.

Women at the Center: Climate Change, Consumption and Reproductive Health” explores the role of consumption and population for combating climate change, and how empowering women is key to sustainable development. The September 27 evening event and dinner will feature OEC’s Andrea Durbin, Erik Assadourian from Worldwatch Institute, and Suzanne Ehlers from Population Action International, as well as a clip from PAI’s short film, Weathering Change.

If America’s consumer habits contribute to climate change, how can we change our approach to consumerism as a climate solution? What is the role  women play as climate solvers? If women and girls bear the greatest burdens from floods, food scarcity and other climate extremes globally, can they also be empowered to strengthen their families and communities to cope with impacts of a changing climate?

What: Dinner and conversation, featuring OEC’s Andrea Durbin, Erik Assadourian from Worldwatch Institute, and Suzanne Ehlers from Population Action International 

When: September 27, 5:30 – 8:30 PM

Where: Portland Art Museum, 1219 Southwest Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205

Cost: $20 each ticket. $15 for OEC members


The 2012 edition of NWEI’s Choices for Sustainable Living course book is now available!
Recently the term “sustainability” has become so popularized, it is hard to know what it means anymore. Sustainability is a complex and contested concept, but at its best represents the hope for a healthy, just and bright future for us all. We offer Choices for Sustainable Living as an opportunity to explore sustainability more deeply.
In this substantial revision, the 2012 edition of Choices for Sustainable Living provides updated information and resources on the same topics as the 2009 and 2010 editions — Ecological Principles, Food, Community, Consumption and the Economy, along with a new session on Transportation. Also new in this edition is the Iceberg, a systems thinking exercise that can be used to dive more deeply into issues throughout the course.
In seven sessions, Choices for Sustainable Living helps participants explore the meaning and vision of sustainability from individual, societal and global perspectives. Download the updated course book flyer here.
*Please note we have a limited quantity of the 2010 version of this course book. Please call our office immediately at 503.227.2807 if you would like to order this version.

Sustainable Jersey, a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey, will be participating in NWEI’s Annual EcoChallenge by offering the EcoChallenge as a way for municipalities to meet “Green Challenge Program” goals. Sustainable Jersey supports community efforts to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and improve environmental equity. Currently, 376 towns are registered and working towards certification. Nearly 75% of New Jersey’s population lives in registered/certified Sustainable Jersey communities.

This year, NWEI’s EcoChallenge will be offered to Sustainable Jersey’s network of municipalities and communities as a way to earn points towards certification via their Green Challenge Program, which engages the community by challenging individuals, families, and businesses to change their behavior in support of the community’s goals for sustainable development. The Green Challenge Program asks people to pledge to “take a challenge,” and to make a specific change in their lives or in the way they do business.

Green Challenge Programs encourage healthy competition among community members while building a sense of shared purpose. As individuals try to achieve their own goals, they play a key role in reaching community-wide goals.

We are excited to see what New Jersey towns and communities accomplish this October via our collaboration!

Washington State University (WSU) Jefferson County Extension has developed two water discussion courses inspired by the NWEI discussion courses. The first is tailored to those living in the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) and the second course is focused on the Puget Sound.  The courses are offered without charge and are found online here.

These self-directed water courses were designed to:
• Provide basic knowledge about our water and watersheds in the Pacific Northwest and in Puget Sound
• Raise awareness about water issues confronting watersheds and the communities within them
• Provide a structure to learn more about our specific watersheds and actions an individual can take.

Several NWEI partners have been inspired to create their own regionally focused water courses, following the template developed by WSU. Most recently, South Durham Green Neighbors in North Carolina has customized the “Our Watershed” course from the Washington State/Puget Sound team, creating a resource applicable to the Durham area.

Thanks to our colleagues at WSU for making these resources available!

With just over three weeks until the start of the EcoChallenge, we are excited to have over 140 people registered so far. We’re off to a great early start and look forward to having many more people join the 50+ teams who are signed up already!

We welcome you to participate as an individual or to create a team and take on the EcoChallenge with your coworkers, friends, family members, congregation or fellow students. You’re welcome to join the NWEI Community Team, too.

For inspiration, watch this video of EcoChallenger Bradford McKeown who is choosing to travel only by bike, bus or foot for the duration of his Challenge. If you haven’t already, sign up here to change one habit for Earth! The EcoChallenge runs from October 1-15th, 2012.

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