Group gathers to discuss climate

Jan. 29, 2022 — On Jan. 23, a panel discussion on the controversial subject of climate change took place at St. Andrews's Episcopal Church, with both in person and virtual options for attendees. 

The panelists included Mark Nystrom, Lane County Climate Strategist; Cody Kleinsmith, Lane County Climate Resilience Analyst; Grace Brahler, Page Hopkins and Sophia Larabee, representatives from Beyond Toxics; and local activist Mike Allen, founder of the Florence Climate Emergency Campaign.

According to Allen, there was a unified theme presented by the panelists — the planet is being damaged by human activities.

“The panelists described a rise in sea levels due to the melting of polar ice and thermal expansion due to warmer ocean water, caused by the burning of fossil fuels that pose an ever-increasing danger to low lying areas of our city,” Allen said. “Estuaries, where the Siuslaw River empties into the Pacific Ocean, are also affected, not only by sea level rise, but by what is called ‘ocean acidification’ due to the rise in temperature of marine waters and fish especially shellfish, are being negatively impacted by this activity.”

The panel also discussed ways individuals can participate in Lane County’s Climate Action and Resilience Planning efforts.

Allen is well known for his ongoing attempts to have the Florence City Council officially acknowledge what he considers a “Climate Emergency” and returned to the issue at the forum.

Other cities and towns are developing plans both to mitigate the effects of climate change on a local level, and reduce our carbon footprint on a global scale,” Allen said.

The meeting called upon people to take action and described things individuals or families can do to minimize their negative impact on the Earth. 

Allen also pointed to the need for larger more impactful entities like municipal governments to get more involved in the process of mitigating climate change.

In addition, Catherine Rourke, George Rogato and Steve McVay from the Central Coast EV Association demonstrated electric vehicles and Jay Guettler displayed an electric bike. There was also a screening of the inspirational video, Wisdom of the Elders, provided by the Confederated Tribes of the Siuslaw which was well received.  

The event was recorded and will soon be available for those who were unable to attend.