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Climate and Energy

Coastal wetland restoration, climate change, and your next Instagram favorite

When was the last time you took a walk through a local park and wondered about the soil beneath your shoes and the quality of life for the plants growing nearby?

Maps show 30 percent of Portland lots could host backyard homes

A solution to Portland’s housing crisis could be in your own backyard. New data from the Institute for Sustainable Solutions shows over 70,000 single family residential lots in Portland, about 30 percent, could host a second small home on their property. That’s good news in a city with a sparse inventory of available housing and some of the fastest rising rents in the nation.

Institute for Sustainable Solutions Impact Report 2016

At the beginning of this new year, we at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions would like to reflect on recent accomplishments of our students, faculty, and community partners, and offer inspiration as we look ahead to 2017. With the support of our many partners, we made great strides last year to address some of our region’s most pressing sustainability challenges. Read highlights and inspiring stories from the 2015-16 academic year in our Impact Report 2016.

Climate collaborative maps Portland heat islands: Informing infrastructure approaches to extreme heat

Portland, Oregon, probably isn’t the first place you think of when the term “heat island” comes up. Rain? Yes. Heat? No. What about Phoenix, Los Angeles, cities in the Middle East—those really hot places? The trouble with these conventional perceptions of temperature is that places that have historically dealt with heat have been working on adaptation measures for decades, and in some cases millennia.

VIDEO | Fighting Climate Change with Global Action and Poetry: Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner live at PSU

World-renowned climate activist and poet Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner gave a keynote address Oct. 13 at Portland State University on climate issues that connect Oregonians and Pacific Islanders, illustrating how climate change affects us all and demonstrating the power of combining art and activism to inspire action from leaders around the globe. Watch the full talk here.

As China takes a stance on climate change, mega-cities like Shenzhen lead the way


The mega-city of Shenzhen is located approximately 20 miles north of Hong Kong in the Chinese province of Guandong. 

All photos by Eric Rutledge.

VIDEO: Van Jones | Environmental Justice for All

On October 28, CNN commentator Van Jones gave a keynote talk Portland State University’s Stott Center on issues of social justice, the green economy, and the environment as part of PSU’s Social Sustainability Month and Portland State of Mind. Watch the full talk here.

ESG investment strategies, a method for climate justice

Portland State University is on its way to becoming the first university in Oregon to have no investments in the Carbon Underground Top 200 companies, which are companies that own the most global fossil fuel reserves, and hence have the most potential for producing high amounts of carbon emissions. As a result of student advocacy on the Divest Portland State (DPS) campaign, an Environmental Social Governance (ESG) statement was added to the PSU Foundation’s investment policy earlier this year.

Divest Portland State—what’s all the hype about?

Maybe you’ve seen the little orange squares pinned on jackets and backpacks around campus or have heard murmurs about “divestment” at Portland State. But what does that word—divestment—actually mean? Divestment is the opposite of investment. In the case of the student-led initiative Divest Portland State, it would mean moving PSU’s financial investments away from oil and coal companies as part of a larger international effort spearheaded by environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben through his climate action organization 350.org.

NW students unite to divest from fossil fuels

In 2007, students from Middlebury College decided to start organizing against climate change. Bill McKibben, a Harvard graduate, environmental activist, journalist, and best-selling author, joined hands with the students and 350.org was established. To raise awareness and inspire action on the issue, Bill McKibben launched his “Do the Math Tour” to call for universities, governments, and other institutions to divest from fossil fuels and begin moving us back toward safe CO2 levels. Students at PSU are working on a Divest Portland State campaign. Join us.

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