Bitterroot Climate Action Group to host program encouraging communication | Local News


The Bitterroot Climate Action Group is hosting a “Find Your Voice on Climate Change” presentation on communicating clearly Wednesday, June 29.

BCAG chair Peter Reynolds said the presentation is aimed at helping people express their concerns.

“I think we do need it,” Reynolds. “This is the next step after our video series this spring.”

In March and April BCAG hosted a video series on the current climate crisis and what individuals and the community can do to build a more resilient and sustainable environment.

“It was aimed at policymakers and folks with a span of control to make big changes in society,” he said, “We learned conversation that although 71% of all people recognize climate change as a problem only 35% have had a single about it in the last year.”

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He said the biggest step is to be talking about climate change with family and friends and to let policymakers know that now is the time to act.

“Our lives are being changed,” Reynolds said. “If you like to ski — the season is getting shorter and shorter, fly fishing — the water is getting too warm. Regardless of political background, people know that we are seeing big changes in our lives.”

The Find Your Voice on Climate Change session is designed to create non-partisan working groups around advocacy.

“To hold candidates accountable, to write letters to the editor or what people are moved to do, to really talk about it,” Reynolds said. “That’s what it is going to take to create the culture change around energy use and how we live in our society that feeds into this problem. It is putting more action into our vision.”

The Find Your Voice on Climate Change session will equip community members with the tools they need to talk about the problem in a kind and productive manner.

Dave Atkins will be the presenter. He is a semi-retired forester and forest ecologist. Atkins is a member of the Missoula Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Montana Forest Owners Association, Blackfoot Challenge and the Nature Conservancy.

“He worked for the Forest Service and I think his background includes helping a couple of high schools around here into converting biomass,” Reynolds said. “He has been creative in helping community institutions make innovative changes in the use of energy.”

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby is helping to make the Find Your Voice on Climate Change presentation possible.

“The Citizens’ Climate Lobby has been around for almost 15 years and they have developed strategies and language that reach people with differing beliefs and opinions about the evolving climate,” Reynolds said. “[Atkins] will speak to that — how we can meet one another around what’s important and not politicize the issue.”

Reynolds said Find Your Voice on Climate Change will not be “an encounter group.”

“It will be a talk, I hope everybody there will be respectful because we’re there to learn about the issues and how to talk about them,” Reynolds said. “This won’t be discussing the science of climate change as much as it will be on how we can work on developing a concerted approach to turn this problem around.”

Atkins will cover advocacy through print media to make the process easier and more effective, connecting with opposing views to build understanding and bipartisan approaches, and holding candidates accountable to make sure candidates’ positions and solutions on climate are clearly understood.

Attend the Find Your Voice on Climate Change talk by Dave Atkins at 7 pm on Wednesday, June 29 in the Bedford Building, 223 S. 2nd St., Hamilton.

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