Happy Earth Month!
According to WHO (World Health Organization), “An estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 of total global deaths, according to new estimates from WHO. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and types of injury. “
211info recognizes that environmental health disparities exist in our communities. Many of the contacts we field in our contact center relate to health and safety concerns people have when it comes to their homes, workplaces, or schools. We’re able to acknowledge the validity of their concerns and provide people with resources to help, whether that be tenant rights groups, labor rights groups, lead testing services, community clinics, etc.
Also, did you know that 211info is the Pesticide Incident reporting line for the state of Oregon? Oregonians who have concerns about a pesticide application that has negatively impacted people, animals including insects (bees), or the environment can call 211 or 503-986-6470 to make a report.
You can also call 211 to report Tsunami debris that you find on the Oregon coast.
We have been activated during several emergencies relating to environmental health, including: radon testing information, NE Killingsworth Fire, Salem Water, Johnson Creek Flooding, Wildfires, Bullseye Glass air quality concerns, etc.
We’ve also taken a look inwards - A couple years ago, a few 211info staff members came together to form a Green Team. Here are some of their many accomplishments:
Gained certification with the City of Portland's Sustainability at Work program
Held 3 all staff training events with Genevieve from the City of Portland to learn about recycling
Moved pay stubs to a paperless system
Created a Green Team bulletin board with recycling information, wildlife sightings journal, bike map and other info for staff
Created a clearly labeled and monitored recycling station in the kitchen
Distributed under-desk recycling boxes throughout the office
Facilitated two Eco Challenge events in October 2016 and October 2017 to engage staff in changing small habits
Held two Earth Day events in April 2017 and April 2018 with prizes and fun activities (veggie potluck! "who gives a fork" silverware drive! wildflower seed bombs! reusable mugs for all)
Installed a faucet aerator in the kitchen to reduce water flow
Put together "cleaning caddies" for each work station pod with green cleaning solution and a reusable microfiber cloth as an alternative to Clorox wipes
Established a scratch paper area by the printer for unused single-sided paper
Purchased grabbers so that staff can safety pick up trash on daily walks