Climate Resilience Hub

Climate change is the most immediate threat to humankind. In the past few years, Oregon has seen an increased variability of extreme weather and climate-related events such as wildfires, floods, and drought. What Oregonians have witnessed is consistent with the warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stating “recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid, and intensifying, and unprecedented in thousands of years”. 

These effects disproportionately fall on communities who are least able to prepare for and recover from heat waves, poor air quality, wildfires, flooding, and other disasters. In 2021, a fatal heatwave killed 96 community members, many of whom were members of underserved communities. Hundreds of immigrants, refugees, and BIPOC communities are still paying the consequences of the 2021 wildfires. These catastrophic events have amplified the historic and present-day inequities experienced by vulnerable Oregonians.

As we continue supporting our communities affected by climate events, we also want to prepare and be ready for future climate catastrophes and eliminate or limit the damage that might occur to these communities.   

What is the Unite Oregon Climate Resilience Hub Project?

Unite Oregon is working on a Climate Resilience Hub pilot project to serve our communities needs especially in times of disaster and distress. This project is at the intersection of climate, economic, social, and racial justice practices. While functioning as a center for emergency response during a time of crisis, it will also serve as a catalyst for long-term equitable investment. The center will be an accessible hub where disproportionately impacted communities can have multiple needs met at once. 

In order to mitigate systemic inequities and foster public safety, the center will be equipped with climate-resilient features including rainwater collection, solar panels, recycling and composting.

Resourcing Community Priorities

The hub addresses COVID-related impacts among immigrant, refugee, BIPOC, and other underserved communities in Oregon. Among other social services, this center could potentially serve as a vaccination clinic or testing facility. The resilience hub will serve as a one-stop-shop for job training, employment referrals and offer wrap-around technical assistance to small businesses focusing on underserved communities by building on existing partnerships with green business and workforce development experts. Finally, families and community members will have access to Unite Oregon’s direct services including childcare.

Ultimately, the services provided at the resilience hub are intended to reduce unemployment and result in fewer people in housing crises, more stable small businesses, and fewer health impacts due to COVID and climate threats among immigrant, refugee, BIPOC and other underserved communities in Oregon. Donate to support this work here.

Meet Unite Oregon’s Climate Resilience and Environmental Justice Director

Jairaj Singh, MURP, CNU-A (he/they) is the new Climate Resilience and Environmental Justice Director at Unite Oregon. He is a community-based facilitator for climate resilience planning and an environmental justice movement builder who has been organizing and building collective power with communities of color over the past several years. Jairaj has a B.A. from Emory University and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from Portland State University.

Why a Climate Justice Department at Unite Oregon?

Unite Oregon is expanding its work in climate justice because the communities we serve are on the frontlines of nearly every aspect of the climate crisis. Immigrants, refugees, Black, Indigenous, communities of color, renters, rural communities, and those living in poverty are among those hit first and worst by disasters. Evident in our region's recent wildfires, storms, and heatwaves, we are not only living on the frontlines of climate chaos, but we are often left out of recovery and adaptation.  

What are your priorities?

Although Unite Oregon is relatively new to climate justice work, we are powerful advocates for environmental justice and equitable climate action because racial justice and fighting climate change are inextricably entwined. Our priority is to ensure that local policy and programs are inclusive and center frontline and fenceline communities. By focusing on developing Climate and Community Resilience Hubs, centering communities in the development of new environmental justice mapping tools, and activating climate justice leaders, we are making sure our communities are prepared and protected from the worst impacts of climate change.

How are you going to achieve that?

The time has come in climate work to center voices from impacted communities. Unite Oregon believes that people closest to the problem are the ones best equipped to design solutions and that we are in a historic moment to re-center the conversation of what a winning climate movement looks like with those that are on the frontline. Climate change is only a symptom of much deeper crises and we must create a system that works for everyone, led by those who are hurt first and worst by injustice.

Can you support this work with a one time donation or a small monthly donation? Click below!