Promoting Sustainability in East Jefferson County, WA
Climate change is not only the greatest environmental issue of our time, but also a key issue for social justice, world health, immigration and more. According to a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the observed impacts of climate change have already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems on land and in the oceans, water supplies, and some people’s livelihoods. It touches all of the Local 20/20 Action Groups in some way.
Fortunately, our community and government are well aware of this issue. In 2008, the governments of Jefferson County and Port Townsend, Washington, pledged to help the community reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to levels 80% lower than 1990 levels by 2050. They formed a joint Jefferson County/Port Townsend Climate Action Committee, which then created the Climate Action Plan, which inventories our current emissions, describes ways to reduce them, and also notes that future work must include preparing to adapt to climate change.
The goal of the Local 20/20 Climate Action Group is to support and complement the work of all local climate groups:
• to reduce our community’s greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation)
• to prepare for climate change (adaptation)
The Local 20/20 Climate Action Group brings to reality our community’s commitment to taking action on climate change. Here’s just some of what we do:
• Provide up-to-date information for individuals and businesses on ways to reduce their carbon footprint. (See the JeffersonCAN website, originally created by the Climate Protection Campaign to provide tools for reducing the “carbon footprint” of an individual or business in Jefferson County,and now maintained by Local 20/20 Climate Action.)
• Conduct community outreach and education on climate change mitigation and preparation. (See for example, the Drought 2015 page for resources and events related to that effort.)
• Educate ourselves and others on how we as a community can prepare for climate change. A few examples:
• We help the community visualize sea level rise through participating in the King Tides project in partnership with Washington Sea Grant and the Jefferson Marine Resource Committee. We have been photographing, documenting, and learning from photographing three sites in Port Townsend at high tides and under various weather conditions. Check out the photos here.
• We provided input to the city and county comprehensive plans, providing language on climate change. There were also inputs from other Local 20/20 action groups on ways to increase the sustainability language in other aspects of the plan.
• Help drive emission reduction projects through partnering with groups, and through projects such as the Taming Bigfoot Carbon Footprint Reduction Contest run in early 2016
Additionally, we are the arm of Local 20/20 that networks and collaborates with “outside” groups focused on climate change, including the joint city/county Climate Action Committee (CAC), and the Jefferson County chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.
In the past, the group helped to promote passage of the greenhouse reduction pledge, played a big role in the formation of the Climate Action Plan and in the creation of the CAC. The action group also focused on educational forums – working with local schools to promote “Climate Dialogue Day”, and establishing a series of discussion groups about climate change.
See our Climate Change Plans and Impacts Page for information on local and statewide climate change plans and impacts. And if you are looking for other ideas for personal action, see Taking Action on Climate Change. Finally, our Other Resources page has some reading suggestions and … other resources!
There are two active working committees, one for Climate Outreach and one on Climate Adaptation. These meet monthly, and the timing varies. We welcome new members for both, see contact information below.
If you are interested in participating in either working committee, or are generally interested in climate action in Jefferson County, e-mail us at CAG@L2020.org.