Outdoors

Climate Action Week

Global concerns, local solutions

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WHAT: Whatcom Water Week
WHEN: Through Sat., Sept. 19
WHERE: Online, and throughout Whatcom County
INFO: http://www.whatcomwaterweeks.org

WHAT: ALL IN for Climate Action Week
WHEN: Sept. 20-27
WHERE: Online and beyond
INFO: http://www.cob.org

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

It’s difficult to argue that climate change is a hoax when the effects of it are in your face—or in your lungs, as was the case when a growing number of wildfires raging in California, Oregon, and Washington state over the course of the past week resulted not only in the horrific loss of life and landscapes, but also in some of the worst air quality to be found anywhere in the world.

It’s the perfect time, then, for ALL IN for Climate Action Week, an annual event organized by the City of Bellingham that draws upon on the knowledge, progress and resources our community has to offer when looking for solutions to address global climate change at the local level.

“It will take everyone to make the shifts that need to happen,” organizers say, “and our community is full of individuals, groups, organizations, businesses and governments that are making strides to build up our city as a leader in climate action.”

Coming at the tail end of Whatcom Water Week—another environmentally focused event that features opportunities for citizens to learn more about the ongoing stewardship of area marine and freshwater resources through education and real-world experience—Climate Action Week will take place from Sept. 20-27 and build on the idea that humans are capable of helping their planet heal.

Serendipitously, one of Whatcom Water Week’s final offerings happening Weds., Sept. 16 features a “Watershed Friendly and Wildfire Safe Properties” presentation led by Jenny Coe, the Community Wildfire Resilience Coordinator with Whatcom and Skagit conservation districts. During the free online event, Coe will discuss wildfire risk, fire-resistant structures, fire-resistant landscaping that attracts wildlife and protects water quality, and wildfire risk-reduction resources available for homeowners and communities.

If the skies have sufficiently cleared of smoke by the weekend, also consider signing up for a Social Distance Beach Cleanup happening from 10am-2pm Sat., Sept. 19 throughout Whatcom County at Locust Beach, Cherry Point Beach, and Semiahmoo Spit. You’ll be helping keep plastic from polluting Bellingham Bay and surrounding waterways, and learning more about groups such as RE Sources, Northwest Straits Surfrider, Ocean Conservancy, and Whatcom Marine Resources Committee.

The following day, an online “Equity and Action” discussion with Tamara Toles O’Laughlin of 350.org and risk and behavioral scientist Dr. Sweta Chakraborty will kick off Climate Action Week, with Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood providing an intro, and Dr. Grace Wang acting as moderator. That’s also the day Bellingham Veg Fest begins, offering various vegan restaurant specials and opportunities for people to find out more about how animal agriculture is linked to climate change, pollution, deforestation, world hunger, environmental racism and more (get the particulars in our Chow section on pg. 23 of this issue).

Viewings of films such as 2040 (a documentary that conjures a positive portrait of what “could be” instead of the dystopian future with which we are often presented), The Condor and the Eagle (telling the story of four indigenous leaders who embark on a journey from the Canadian boreal forests to deep into the heart of the Amazonian jungle to deepen the meaning of “climate justice” and unite the people of North and South America), and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement’s “A Climate of Change” Wild & Scenic Film Festival (a curated program tackling the issue of global climate change as it relates to salmon recovery) are also on the lineup at various dates during the week.

But that’s far from all. Register for a piece of concrete canvas at a socially distanced Community Climate Action Chalk Art Contest Sept. 21-27 at Zuanich, Marine, Squalicum Creek, Maritime Heritage, and Waypoint parks, with categories including Global Climate, National Climate, and Local Climate (earn extra brownie points by finding ways to incorporate water and ocean themes into your drawing).

Other activities to consider include “Yoga for Earth Activists,” “All Things Solar, Storage, and Net Zero Living,” an “Energy and Climate” Trivia Power Hour, “Build Electric Washington,” an online youth event on “Whales and Climate Change,” a Climate Action Book Club discussing George Marshall’s tome Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, a “Turning the Tables on the Giant Asian Hornet” webinar, and a “Protect the Ocean for Our Birds” Zoom meeting with the Salish Sea School.

On Fri., Sept. 25, Bike Anywhere Day, hosted by Whatcom Smart Trips, will also draw attention to the fact that not only is bicycling good for humans and the environment, but it’s also an ideal form of socially distanced transportation during the age of the coronavirus. Whether you take the opportunity to bike to work, for an essential errand or just for fun, use the time to appreciate the natural world around you—if it’s not on fire, that is.

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