About Sara Feld
1) How would you as a director navigate the current international political environment to further Care about Climate’s mission?
In the U.S., especially under our current president, there will continue to be pushback from the administration regarding environmental policy change focused on enhancing the quality of our environment both locally and globally. It appears a large part of this resistance, at least from leaders not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well, is because putting such restrictions may affect the financial gains of businesses and factories that produce lots of emissions. Going forward, it will be important to continue to proactively educate the public and policymakers both at home and abroad about the benefits of enacting stricter regulations, with the hope that those that influence and enact international policies ultimately see that the health of our environment, and the people and animals who rely on it, far outweighs the financial gains of any company or country.
As a part of this process, we will have to encourage and guide our leaders toward supporting international pacts, such as the Paris Agreement. Because climate change is a global issue, it is crucial for leaders of all countries to have similar goals and a shared commitment to bringing about effective and sustainable environmental policies that protect our planet and all living things. I would encourage those around me to continue to speak to their congressional representatives regarding their disappointment in the U.S. not being a part of the Paris Agreement. We must first assert our discontentment within our individual states and countries, and if people all around the world are doing this, collectively, we can make a difference and the imminent dangers of continuing to live as we are will hopefully become increasingly apparent.
As someone with a science background now pursuing a career in the field of law, I believe it is important now, more than ever, to educate our communities about the actual science behind climate change. Science is not political, or at least it shouldn't be. By highlighting the consistent findings of longitudinal studies about climate change, my hope is that there will be a broadly-based recognition of the need for more scientifically-based environmental laws and restrictions. It will be especially important to keep science and expert opinions at the forefront of any discussions regarding climate change, instead of allowing decisions to be made that simply sound "convincing" but are not supported by science.
To bring about change in any capacity, whether it's a change of view or a change in behavior, an important first step is education. Groups like Care About Climate are effective in large part because members are able to explain the scientific data regarding climate change in a way that is objective, persuasive, and makes sense to someone who may not have an extensive background in science. Moreover, Care About Climate is comprised of members who are well versed in the issues and can effectively articulate current environmental policies, regulations, and agreements.
How would you contribute to and improve current Care About Climate programs?
As a law student at a college that specializes in environmental law (Lewis & Clark Law School), I have access to a broad array of resources that would be beneficial not only for the Care About Climate Organization, but also for CAC members who want to be connected to professionals in the legal field who specialize in environmental advocacy. I could help facilitate linkages in communication between professors and attorneys with members of CAC (especially those professionals who reside in Oregon). I also have access to environmental and climate-related workshops, lectures, and symposiums. By having a presence at these events, I can be an advocate for Care About Climate within the Oregon legal community.
What do you see as the most important aspect surrounding climate change that we need to face as a society?
In the past I would argue that convincing others that climate change was real was the biggest challenge. However, I think that now our largest obstacle is actually changing our behaviors in order to reduce the effects of climate change. We need to work to educate our communities about the steps each individual can take to make a difference. For example, recent news stories spotlight getting rid of plastic straws because of the major negative effects on the environment and wildlife. We need to keep encouraging our friends, family, and community members to reduce, reuse, and re-purpose what they can. We need to bring just as much attention to other issues such as the effects of meat consumption, plastic usage, and pollution on the environment and living things.
I think it would be beneficial for CAC to not only educate people on the effects of climate change globally, but also about the actions a person can take on a daily basis to reduce his or her personal footprint. Although climate change is a global issue, it will be critically important for us to find a way to individualize climate change at a personal level and to focus on the contributions each individual can make to solving problems. We must continue to emphasize that environmental issues are not broad, distant concerns, but rather, issues that affect us directly each and every day. And, we must show that each of us has already been personally affected in some way or another.
We have already seen the younger generation have a voice in the climate change discussion (as is evident through efforts like the Zero Hour Movement) and I want to continue to encourage my peers and friends to be a part of the change along with me.
Thank you for your time and consideration!