On Friday, over 100 people, from health professionals to city planners to affordable housing advocates and more, turned out for Climate Smart Missoula's third Community Climate Summit, this time to discuss all things climate and health. This diverse cross-section of the Missoula community heard from a panel of excellent speakers about current efforts to address public health challenges at the neighborhood level, the latest cutting edge research on local climate change projections (spoiler: it's going to get hot), and how we can work together to address the mental and physical health impacts wrought by a changing climate, especially for the most vulnerable groups like low-income folks and children. (It's no coincidence that's a key part of our Summer Smart program!) Speaking of Summer Smart - we also unveiled a new video about wildfire smoke - now live on our website. More videos to come soon!
For the second half of the morning, we turned the tables: attendees had a chance to share their ideas for how to improve community health for all Missoulians in light of climate challenges. In breakout groups, there were insightful and productive conversations about wildfire smoke and extreme heat, healthy homes and emergency shelters, mental health, wellness and livability, and long-range planning strategies. So much good stuff!
We were thrilled by the great turnout and dynamic conversations around the room. Like our previous summits, we were impressed with our community's creativity, collaborative spirit, and dedication. We know that, together, we can take bold action to create the Missoula we want to see.
Here are a few more good things to check out:
Hello there! For the majority of you who don’t know me, I’m Hailey Jorgensen (read my short bio here) and I will be spending the next year working on all the amazing initiatives here at Climate Smart Missoula as the new Energy Corps Service Member.
I first moved to Missoula from Seattle six years ago to start my undergrad at the University of Montana. I couldn’t tell you exactly what made me want to move to Montana other than the way my grandma’s face light up every time she told me about Missoula. Back in 1957, my grandpa was a professor at the University and the lone faculty member of the newly formed Radio-TV department. They didn’t stay long, but something about this place stuck with her, as it has with me.
After graduating from the University in 2014, and living in Oregon for a few years I couldn’t be happier to be back. I am even more excited to be apart of Climate Smart Missoula’s efforts! One of the more integral parts of climate action is having meaningful conversations and making connections with people in your community. Climate Smart has continually worked to provide space for these types of conversations from the Monthly Meetups this past year to our upcoming Health and Climate Summit next week.
I am also super excited to be helping with the second round of Solarize Missoula, a partnership with several organizations, to help Missoulians simplify the process of adding solar to their homes.
Part of what I love about Missoula, and Montana as a whole, is that people seem to genuinely care what happens to the natural world around them. I am continuously inspired by all the different events and initiatives taking place in Missoula with the goal of bettering the community we live in. This next year will be an amazing roller coaster and I can’t wait to work with each and every one of you to help make Missoula climate smart!
Autumn might just be my favorite season. The air outside is cool and crisp, the slanting light brings the golden mountains and trees into gorgeous contrast, cozying up inside with a steaming mug of tea seems ideal…are you a fan of fall too? Fall is also the time of year when I become hyper-sensitive to the indoor spaces I spend time in, turning on more lights and bumping the thermostat up a few degrees. After months of warm summer weather, it’s almost easy to forget that we live in a place that is cold and dark a lot of the year!
In the policy realm, an exciting effort, led by Northern Plains Resource Council, is also championing the passage of PACE legislation in the upcoming 2017 state legislative session. What the heck is PACE, you ask? It stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy, and in a nutshell, it’s a funding mechanism that expands opportunities for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures for homes and businesses.
Policies like PACE are super important, but they're only part of the energy sandwich. Forgive the silly lunch-hour metaphor, but if energy policy is the peanut butter, then the jelly is all the energy saving actions we can take as individuals and as a community. And the more jelly, the more delicious the sandwich! Replacing an old water heater or putting your lights on a timer may not be as sexy as installing shiny solar panels on your roof, but energy efficiency and conservation measures like these are pretty darn effective at shrinking carbon footprints, not to mention good for the wallet. (Wondering what’s the difference between efficiency and conservation? Good question. Check this out.)
At our meetup, we asked those gathered for some feedback and brainstorming about how to get our community jazzed to save energy together. Maybe all we need is a little friendly competition with our friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We are interested in gathering ideas and we want your help! We’d love it if you would take a minute to get in touch and tell us:
As the weather gets cooler and winter marches ever closer, throw on an extra sweater, put your thinking cap on and share your creative ideas for saving energy with those around you, and with us, of course!