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While doing consulting work for Senator Richard Devlin’s 2010 (ultimately successful) re-election campaign, Tania Rain was tracking political campaigns on social media. That’s how she found out about OLCV.
On Facebook, Tania, 38, learned that OLCV was giving away coveted priority seating tickets to the Portland rally with President Obama to the first people who signed up to volunteer. Tania signed up —she’s pictured here, right, at the Kitzhaber-Obama rally with husband Steve Cameron and step-children Annalise, 14, and Beck, 12--and ended up donating her superb design skills to the Oregon Conservation Network, the coalition coordinated by OLCV that works to pass pro-environment laws in the Oregon Legislature.
Tania moved to Ashland from Arizona in 1993 as a single mom (she also has an 18-year-old daughter), looking for a good place to raise kids. Eight years later, Tania moved to Portland. In the fall of 2010, between family life and pursuing a Master’s degree in Business from Southern Oregon University, Tania found time to volunteer, developing a new logo and web tools for OCN. Her work with OLCV has aligned nicely with her work at business school, where she is specializing in management of aging services, and studying aspects of sustainable business practices.
Tania believes that all businesses need to be socially responsible—“and the environment is a piece of it,” she says. For Tania, the relationship between business and the environment is an integral one. “Sustainability is becoming a foundation of every single business,” she says. “Sustainability equals longevity. What’s the point of creating a business that isn’t going to last?”
As a part of her Master’s, Tania is developing skills building business models that help aging populations. In addition to the sustainability component, environmental issues also serve as a focal point because, she points out, the baby boomers are our country’s largest aging group right now—and they care about the environment.
Services for older populations need to reflect their lifestyle and values, Tania explains, and help them to age with dignity. But it’s not the environment on its own that fills that role.
“Part of aging is civic engagement. We have to make sure there are programs that they can get involved in, cleaning up streams… things they are passionate about.” She continues: “They aren’t playing Bingo all day long. They want to be engaged in meaningful activity.” It’s that same intersection of environmental values and engagement that is at the core of OLCV’s mission.
The importance of civic engagement—for people of all ages—is something that truly motivates Tania, and it’s something she’s trying to teach her children. She was pleased that President Obama focused on a message of engagement when he spoke at the memorial for the victims of the tragic Arizona shooting aimed at U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Living our values seems to be integrated into all that Tania does, and it’s something she writes about on her blog, The Art of Conscientiousness. Be aware of how many plastic cups you’re using each day, she says. Help someone who’s struggling on crutches; be aware of your entire surroundings. By simply being aware, Tania says, we can make better decisions.
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The solemn expression on her young face, gazing out over the vast ocean before her, speaks volumes to me. This experience must be protected and provided for all generations to come.
Karen Erickson, Chayse's grandmother