Hello! Kelli here- I wanted to take a minute to reflect on my first month at Climate Smart and to share some of the things that I’m excited to dig into over the next few months. I think it’s fair to say that my first few weeks have been a Climate Smart “sampler platter”: a little bit of energy conservation, a little bit of wildfire smoke prep, some buildings for the future work, with a side of sustainable transportation! From wrapping up Missoula Gives week to conducting background research for an EPA grant, I’ve gotten my feet wet on a myriad of different projects, programs, and initiatives – which I think is a very appropriate entry into this type of work. The Climate Smart team has so many exciting things going on- a big part of this first month has been acclimating to the full scope of where climate smart has been, where it is, and where it’s headed.
One of the most exciting things about working on the CSM team is being encouraged to learn, research, and seek new and relevant climate knowledge – and being given the space and time to truly understand how it impacts our community. In just a month’s time I have become a more discerning reader and receptor of information and am starting to come to terms with the responsibility of disseminating it locally and effectively. Anyone who knows me well would say that I’ve found my people! On a daily basis I get to let my nerd flag fly and go down climate-research rabbit holes (if time allows- there are limits!) that align with my own interests and the goals of some of our bigger programs; namely sustainable design/ working to decarbonize the built environment.
Along those lines, perhaps the piece I’m most excited about developing is Building(s) for the Future; an initiative originally led by Caroline Lauer who is now the Climate Resiliency Coordinator for Missoula County. At its core, it is an ambitious and exciting call to reduce the carbon footprint of Missoula’s new and existing building stock and to push our community towards achieving its 100% Clean Electricity Resolution. I’m really looking forward to fleshing out some of the next steps and contributing a fresh perspective with my background in architecture and design.
As I’m settling in, I’m both excited and a bit apprehensive. Climate Change is an omnipresent issue and can easily be overwhelming. It is not even an “it”- it is a multiplicity, a force that directly relates to every single thing on earth *cue the head spinning*. But what starts making sense to me, and why I’m so excited to charge ahead at Climate Smart, is that piece by piece and bit by bit we can actually start making a tangible difference and gradually begin to right the ship, especially with the outstanding breadth of community, city, and county leadership we have here in Missoula.
Looking forward to working with all of you to chart a better, smarter, more sustainable path forwards!
CSM Program Director