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It Takes a TEAM: Local Response to Climate Change

by Scott Morgan

Over 40 elected officials, public sector employees, and concerned citizens met at the Evergreen State College on in late June to discuss and learn about climate action planning for agencies, institutions, and communities. This symposium featured a review of climate action planning at the state, municipal, institutional, and grassroots levels.

The climate change crisis is a complex concept; it has not developed as a result of any single individual or group's actions. It's a consequence of accumulated by-products from the mostly unconscious actions of billions of people. It stands to reason that we will need collective efforts to resolve this predicament. Response to climate change cannot be simply delegated to a few individuals, organizations, or policy makers; active citizen commitment and participation is crucial.

Hedia Adelsman, an Executive Policy Advisor in the Department of Ecology Director's Office, opened the symposium with an overview of statewide concerns and goals. She pointed to probable impacts of sea level rise, diminishing fresh water reserves, and overheating of salmon habitat. Hedia has been actively involved with the Washington Climate Action Team and climate policy recommendations and presented a compelling case for a united response to climate change.

The Evergreen Sustainability Coordinator, Scott Morgan (author of this article) presented a brief overview of the nature of climate action planning, and Jessica Bateman discussed her recently completed research on municipal responses for the City of Olympia. Barb Scavezze, of Olympia Climate Action, wrapped up our panel presentation with an inspiring and powerful call to action for everyone in the room to become personally involved with grassroots and community-level actions.

During small group discussions, symposium participants were able to discuss and define their current level of activity locally, by agency, and/or institution, expected next steps, productive partnerships, and their own immediate strengths in planning for climate change. It was apparent throughout the half-day symposium that collaborative teamwork across disciplinary and jurisdictional boundaries is vital to an effective response to the crisis.

Scott Morgan is the Sustainability Coordinator with the Office of Sustainability at The Evergreen State College. He can be reached at 360-867-6916. For more information, please refer to the session summary at: http://www.evergreen.edu/sustainability/capsymposium.htm


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