Climate Change: A Primer

We hear about climate change all the time in the news, but what exactly is it? How is it affecting Central Oregon?


We hear about climate change all the time in the news, but what exactly is it and how is it affecting Central Oregon?

What is climate change?
How will climate change affect Central Oregon?
Can we stop climate change?
What's the Land Trust's approach to climate change?
What can I do about climate change?

 

What is climate change?
Climate change refers to any long-term changes in regional or global climate patterns, including cooling, warming, and other atmospheric conditions. The climate changes constantly, but overall warming trends have rapidly intensified and accelerated since the industrial revolution in the late 19th century. Since then, increased burning of fossil fuels--coal, oil, and gas--to power industries, electricity, and transportation has led to the widespread release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. These gases retain heat and warm the Earth’s atmosphere, a process known as the “greenhouse effect.”

Normally, greenhouse gases keep our planet warm enough to support life, but severely increased greenhouse gas concentrations go too far and fundamentally change the Earth’s natural systems. Human-caused--or “anthropogenic”--intensification of greenhouse gas emissions and their associated impacts is what scientists, academics, politicians, and practitioners mean when they say “climate change.”

Human-caused climate change is already happening, and it will continue to happen regardless of how people respond. However, immediate, widespread, and strategic action can help prevent the worst of its effects.

 

How will climate change affect Central Oregon?
Climate change already affects Central Oregon in numerous and far-reaching ways that will continue into the future, from the peaks of the Cascade Mountains down to the grasslands of the Crooked River. Learn more about:



Can we stop climate change?
Sadly, it’s too late to entirely stop climate change, but people can significantly reduce the severity of climate change and its impacts in two main ways: mitigation and adaptation. This is critically important, because even if we can’t completely stop climate change, the difference between taking action and doing nothing is a matter of life and death for most species--including humans! Learn more about our mitigation strategy and our adaptation strategy.

You can help fight climate change. Learn how! Photo: Land Trust.
You can help fight climate change. Learn how! Photo: Land Trust.

What's the Land Trust's approach to climate change?
We're glad you asked! Climate change threatens the Land Trust’s core mission of protecting land for wildlife, scenic views, and communities for future generations. Therefore we have a climate change strategy to guide our conservation and stewardship work. Read all about it.

What can I do about climate change?
Solving climate change requires contributions from every part of society, so it can feel hard to make a difference on your own. However, there are many actions you can take every day to combat climate change. Check out some of your options.


Learn more: