San Juan County residents and visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about the impacts of climate change through a dynamic speaker series scheduled June through September in venues in Friday Harbor, as well as on Orcas and Lopez Islands.
The Climate Action Imperative: Understanding Impacts & Making Choices will feature eight experts on the topic—from oceanographers to botanists, biologists to meteorologists. The series will provide a current look at climate change and what actions are warranted by individuals as well as by our state and nation, according to Ron Zee of the Madrona Institute, a co-sponsor of the series. Lee Taylor, superintendent of San Juan Island National Historical Park, another co-sponsor, emphasized the dramatic ecosystem changes National Parks are experiencing.
"The impacts of climate change on national parks are immediate and real--rising sea level, ocean acidification, and increased wildfire to name just a few," Taylor said. "We need to increase our resilience to these changes here in the Islands and beyond."
All talks are free and scheduled for 7 p.m. at different venues (see list below). Please call 360-378-2240, ext. 2227 or 2228 for information. A concluding session on September 10 will feature State Senator Kevin Ranker, a leading legislative advocate for climate action, along with special guests.
Climate change has moved to the forefront of international, national, and state concern. In November 2013, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report stating that climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when demand for food is expected to soar.
This brought a strong pledge of action from President Barak Obama in his January State of the Union address. In the last eight years, the United States has reduced its share of total carbon pollution more than any other nation. The President noted, however, the effects of climate change will cause harm to western communities from drought and coastal communities from floods.
Meanwhile in Washington State, the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup in Olympia made their final recommendations to the Washington State Legislature, recognizing the dire urgency of our climate dilemma and calling for action.
In March 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the most comprehensive assessment yet of the effects of climate change on our planet. The report summary provides overwhelming evidence of the scale of these impacts.
In late April 2014, Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order outlining a series of actions to cut carbon emissions in the state and advance development and use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. A taskforce has been formed to design and implement an emissions reduction program.
The Third National Climate Assessment, released by the White House last week, warns that the effects of climate change will become increasingly disruptive in the coming years. The President said regarding the Assessment, " We’ve got to have the public understand this is an issue that is going to impact our kids and our grandkids, unless we do something about it."
Understanding Impacts and Making Choices
The series co-sponsors reflect the multiple fronts addressing climate change in the San Juan Islands: San Juan Island National Historical Park, Madrona Institute, San Juan Islands Conservation District, The League of Women Voters of the San Juans, San Juan Island Library, San Juan Nature Institute, San Juan County Marine Resources Committee, Northwest Straits Foundation, Stewardship Network of the San Juan Islands, Washington State University Extension Service, San Juan Island Grange #966and the Agricultural Resources Committee of the San Juan Islands.
After each talk, discussion will be encouraged to think global and act local - identifying choices relevant to our community.
Dr. Richard Hebda, a botanist at the University of Victoria School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Curator of Botany and Earth History at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, will kick off the series at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 18 at the Friday Harbor Brickworks.
The other speakers are as follows:
Dr. Jan Newton
Oceanographer, School of Oceanography, University of Washington; Co-Director, Washington Ocean Acidification Center, College of the Environment. 7 p.m. San Juan Island Grange. Dr. Newton is also scheduled to speak on Orcas and Lopez Islands; dates, times and venues to be announced.
Chad Kruger Director, Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, Washington State University; Advisor, NW Regional Biocarbon Initiative. 7 p.m. Friday Harbor Brickworks.
Lara Whitely Binder Outreach Specialist, Climate Impacts Group and Center for Science in the Earth System, University of Washington. 7 p.m. San Juan Island Grange.
Dr. Nicholas Bond Research Meteorologist, University of Washington, Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean; Washington State Climatologist. 7 p.m. Friday Harbor Brickworks. Dr. Bond also will speak on Lopez Island, date, time and venue to be announced.
Rebecca Lofgren Biologist and Member, Glacier Monitoring Team, Mount Rainier National Park, National Park Service. 7 p.m. San Juan Island Library.
Dr. Steven Fradkin Coastal Ecologist and Marine Resources Manager, Olympic National Park, National Park Service. 7 p.m. San Juan Island Library.
Dr. Philip Mote Atmospheric Scientist, Oregon State University, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; Director, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute; Oregon State Climatologist. 7 p.m. Friday Harbor Brickworks. Dr. Mote also will speak on Orcas Island, date, time and venue to be announced.
For more information about Climate Change and Climate Action, please see the following websites:
Capt. Lewis Cass Hunt, who squabbled with Capt. George E. Pickett over buildings on San Juan Island, was the brother of Henry Hunt, who commanded the Union artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg. Hunt's guns would largely decimate Pickett's division before they reached the Union lines.