Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day; a celebration of the collective commitment people around the world have made to protect our planet.
Forty-seven years ago — in 1973 — Oregon took the idea of action further by creating our statewide land use system by signing SB 100 into law, just three years after the very first Earth Day. Oregonians knew that stewarding our environment and protecting Oregon would take more than talk, it would take action.
Speaking of action, the theme this Earth Day is climate action: a pillar of 1000 Friends’ work. Oregon's land use system and the 19 statewide land use planning goals that drive it have shaped proactive climate protections since the '70s before climate change emerged as the most pressing environmental threat of our generation.
This Earth Day, we're celebrating nearly 50 years of work to maintain Oregon’s unique and beautiful balance of working lands, wonderful communities, and wild places — and planning for 50 more.
Here are some of the Oregon places that inspire our work:
"Courtesy of our land use system, Oregon has over a quarter million acres of unplowed prairie and vistas where one can scan to the horizon with no homes in sight." - Russ, Executive Director
"1000 Friends of Oregon worked with local residents to stop a development at Smith Rock that would have made it unrecognizable today. Cases like this inspire me to protect Oregon's iconic places while enhancing the quality of life in rural and urban communities." - Alexis, Urban Lands Advocate
"Sauvie Island exists as it is today, with thriving farmland because of 1000 Friends of Oregon - Our very first legal victory in 1975 protected 12,000 acres of farmland on Sauvie Island by designating the land for exclusive farm use. I love working for 1000 Friends because the work that this organization has done literally planted the seeds for our state to grow in a way where farmland and natural areas are preserved and our cities and towns get the investments and infrastructure that Oregonians want and deserve - great public transportation, housing options, and parks and natural areas within our urban growth boundaries. There is much more work to be done, and I'm excited to be a part of it with 1000 Friends." - Lily, Operations Director
"Fun fact: part of my farm is inventoried and protected because of Goal 5! I didn't know this until I tried to site my residential solar panels in one location and was told that I needed to move it to another (which ended up being a better spot for many reasons). Lesson: research your land use zoning and overlays before you start a construction project!"- Jasmine, Working Lands Engagement Coordinator
"My favorite place is the coast because the ocean connects my home (Oregon), and my birthplace (the Philippines), and where I grew up (California & Hawaii). My work at 1000 Friends of Oregon helps to protect its natural beauty for the enjoyment of me, my children, and all Oregonians." - Lou, Executive Coordinator
"From the call of coyotes echoing beneath a sea of stars across the rolling hills of John Day to the incredible deep silence of a Doug fir forest blanketed in fresh snow, to the ding-ding-ding of the Portland Streetcar clattering down a cobblestone street, to the endless thrumming Pacific tide pierced by the cry of a bald eagle basking in the light of a sunset rainbow, I could never choose one favorite part of Oregon; I think that's part of why I love it so much. But I do have a soft spot for the high desert east of the Cascades. As Oregon's own Ursula K. Le Guin once wrote, "Out here, there is another way to be."' - Kate, Development Director