Climate change

Oregon Zoo's position on climate change

The atmosphere is like a blanket surrounding the earth, trapping sunlight that warms our planet and making it possible for life to exist. When we burn fossil fuels like coal and oil for energy, we pump more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it makes the blanket thicker, trapping more heat. This extra heat is rapidly warming the ocean and planet, with significant negative consequences for people, wildlife and ecosystems. In order to safeguard the habitats we all depend on, we must actively eliminate and reduce risks through innovative programs and approaches.

By shifting from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, and increasing our energy efficiency, we can protect and responsibly manage the habitats that all life all depend on.

Taking common sense steps to address problems is in the best interest of future generations.

We must protect and preserve the habitats and ecosystems we depend on, because showing concern for the welfare of others is the right thing to do. The key to getting the climate system back to functioning the way it should is to move away from fossil fuels for energy. This means moving toward sources that don't add to the heat-trapping blanket effect, such as solar energy.

Science is innovation, and Americans are problem solvers.

Americans are world leaders in innovation and problem solving. Inventiveness, determination, and practicality are skills long used to solve seemingly unsolvable problems. Our diverse experiences, cooperative spirit, and ingenuity helps us think beyond individual interests and will allow us to come together to address environmental challenges. Oregonians have been working together to take action on climate for a long time. In 1993, Portland became the first city to create a local action plan for cutting carbon. In 2016, Oregon became the first state to vote to phase out coal in favor of renewables. Community involvement on climate is improving our region's quality of life, and helping to save species.

The Oregon Zoo is taking climate action. 

The Oregon Zoo believes in being responsible with our natural resources, and has a reputation for innovative, carbon-cutting solutions.

  • 100% of the power purchased by the Oregon Zoo comes from Portland General Electric's Clean Wind program. 
  • Every bond project at the Oregon Zoo aims to achieve LEED Silver or better
  • 760 solar panels on the Education Center produce almost as much energy as the building uses 
  • A geothermal loop will help keep Forest Hall warm by using heat generated by cooling Polar Passage

We're working on climate solutions together

Concern for our climate is normal and action on climate is happening all around us. We can come together as citizens to address climate change and help change the decision-making context so that the sustainable choice is the easy choice for more Oregonians. In Portland and across Oregon, people are coming together to find ways for our society to adopt an energy shift (a transition away from the use of fossil fuels toward renewable energy) and increase energy efficiency (reducing our demand for and use of fossil fuels).

It's important to look for solutions beyond our own households. We can join others and be part of community-level solutions, such as:

  • Organize a carpooling program for your school or workplace. 
  • Organize to create wildlife habitat where you live, work and go to school. 
  • Support local food markets and community gardens. Our food system—growing, shipping, packaging, preserving, and refrigerating the foods we eat – uses a lot of energy. 
  • Join habitat restoration efforts already underway in your community. 
  • Start a discussion at your school or workplace about ways to increase energy efficiency, such as lighting alternatives or thermostat adjustments. 
  • Vote for leaders and proposals that focus on energy shift and efficiency. 
  • Tell your power company you want energy from renewable sources. 
  • Support urban planning that keeps your community compact, walkable, bikeable, and accessible by mass transit, with wildlife corridors that connect natural areas. 
  • Learn about proposals in your community that are working toward sustainability, and find opportunities to voice your support for them. 
  • Support organizations that are working to reduce pressures on the most climate-impacted species. 
  • Help collect data on local effects of climate change by participating in and supporting community science projects.