What does Oregon need to do to keep our green economy moving?
By Jim Hutchison
University of Oregon
One of the primary reasons the United States has been able to experience such prosperity is that we're good at attracting, nurturing and liberating creative minds to solve problems.
Oregon is no exception. In fact, our state has successfully created a niche as a leader in sustainability and is home to businesses that set the bar when it comes to green innovation. But with competition mounting from green and clean-tech efforts in China and India — not to mention other states — we need to raise that bar further. We must define the grand challenges that Oregon needs to address in order to ensure our green economy keeps moving and stays ahead of the pack. And by we, we mean all of us — including you. So we hope you’ll read on so we can set the stage, and then tell us what you think.
A growing proportion of Oregon's creative talent is focused on innovations that make the material goods of our economy more sustainable. These innovations are important because they make Oregon businesses more competitive in the global marketplace. Columbia Forest Products' formaldehyde-free adhesive for plywood, PureBond, is a perfect story showing how Oregon-based green innovation produces products that are cost competitive, open new markets, defend against eroding markets, and keep jobs in the United States.
This technology and the 60 or so others that have won U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards have eliminated more than 1.3 billion pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents, saved over 42 billion gallons of water, and eliminated nearly 460 million pounds of carbon dioxide releases to air. Green chemistry offers real economic savings and protects the environment.
Jim Hutchison is the Lokey-Harrington Chair in Chemistry at the University of Oregon, Colin Price, research director at the Oregon Environmental Council, co-authored this column. Both Jim and Colin are members of the Oregon Green Chemistry Advisory Group. The Growing Green Chemistry in Oregon conference is Oct. 13 in Portland.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.