350 Central Colorado, in partnership with GARNA (Greater Arkansas River Nature Association) and the Central Colorado Humanist Society, presented a community Forum: Climate • Energy • Building a Resilient Community on October 11th at the Salida Community Center. Micah Parkin, Executive Director of 350 Colorado acted as Moderator and contributed extended remarks setting the theme and rationale for the Forum.
Dr. Abel Chavez, director of Western’s Masters in Environment Management program and ABD Katherine Clark, also on Western’s faculty with extensive experience in Boulder’s ongoing energy transformation initiative, completed the presentations of why and how communities in Colorado and elsewhere are addressing the climate-engendered problems through community initiatives, mitigation and adaptation actions.
More than 100 attendees acted not just as audience, but as participants addressing 4 questions pertinent to their concerns in our region and communities. They then worked on these in three “breakout” teams with Micah, Abel and ‘Kate”, the presenting team.
The results have been analyzed by community volunteers and 350CC members. The questions and most prevalent answers were as follows:
Question 1 – How do you think climate change is going to affect you and your family?
A– Large scale environmental concerns • costs (taxes, insurance, loss of tourism business)
Question 2 – What do you believe the local economic effect might be….?
A– Answers were essentially the same as for question one, above.
Question 3 – What would you like local government leaders do to address climate change?
A– Acknowledge the reality of climate change, liaison with 350CC • work toward a climate action plan.
Question 4 – Preferred topic for the next community forum/event?
A– Similar to #3…community action • renewable options • costs (food, water)
In sum: the Forum was an event that succeeded partly because of the coalition of groups committed to support and participate in it. It has given us direction in planning a next event and encourages us to expand our regional reach–with a meeting in early November to initiate a broader, regional stakeholder’s Advisory Team to work with 350CC in planning future events. Immediate plans include sharing the outcomes with the City Administration and governing bodies although they had declined to be constructively in support of this first Forum.
Mel Strawn – co-chair, 350CC