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At U Of Oregon, Environmentalists Launch Tree Sit-In

Brian Bull

If you visit the University of Oregon this week, you may spot a tree dweller 70 feet off the ground, protesting climate change.

Off University and 13th Avenue, a lone activist calls for environmental justice from a high platform.

Courtney Kaltenbach of Cascadia Forest Defenders, and Extinction Rebellion, explains.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Courtney Kaltenbach (left) and Simon Rosenthal (right), deliver remarks against global warming, clearcutting, and other issues. Behind them, Mia Robichaud occupies a tree that other activists will take turns at sitting in over the next few days.

“That’s our friend, Robi, she has been here since 3 o’clock in the morning.  And she plans to be there as long as she needs to be.”

The groups also oppose a logging project in the Thurston Hills, which is embroiled in a lawsuit.

“Clearcutting is dangerous because it provides a lot of area for shrub-land, and that shrub-land is very easily combustible," says activist Simon Rosenthal. 

"Unlike the natural, big old forests which are very fire resistant. So it just makes it way easier for fires to start, as well as spread.”

There is pushback. A group called Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities calls the Thurston Hills dispute a “manufactured controversy,” while President Trump continues to dismiss scientific concerns on climate change.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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