Ashland Climate Action

Project Description

SOCAN’s Ashland Climate Action Project works to ensure that climate action is a top priority in Ashland and incorporated into all city planning and decision-making. Through education and outreach we inform and engage residents to work together to reduce our community’s climate impact and support achievement of the goals of Ashland’s Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP). We complement and support the work of the Ashland Climate Policy Commission, the Conservation and Climate Outreach Commission, and the Transportation Commission

Project Leader

To join this project contact Kathy Conway

Goals

Our Vision: Ashland will achieve the goals of the Ashland Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP).  We believe that leadership and informed action by the city, its residents, and businesses will reduce Ashland’s climate impact and strengthen our community. Our goals include:

  1. Outreach and Organizing: Increase the number of Ashland residents who are knowledgeable about the Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) and supporting its implementation
  2. Education: Provide, facilitate, and/or promote education and information dissemination on timely topics related to CEAP and greenhouse gas reduction.
  3. Advocacy: Ensure a robust citizen voice that prioritizes climate action and advocates for full and timely CEAP implementation 

Connection to SOCAN Mission

We work with individuals and organizations in Ashland to advocate for both personal and governmental actions that reduce the emissions and atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. 

Background Information

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a great number of people, Ashland developed and approved a Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) in March 2017. The CEAP is a comprehensive, landmark document, with goals, strategies, and actions for both municipal operations and the community.  However, implementing it takes time, commitment, funding, and a willingness to change the way we think about our city, our individual and community choices, and how we get things done. The Ashland Climate Action Project was formed to raise the voices of climate activists and raise awareness about climate action so that the goals of the CEAP can be achieved. Read the CEAP Executive Summary here.

Resources

Southern Oregon Climate Smart (SOCS) Working Group

Project Description

In September 2019, the Southern Oregon Climate Smart (SOCS) Working Group was formed to confer about and collaboratively react to perceived and potential climate change impacts on natural ecosystems in southwestern Oregon. We initially focused on proposed federal lands and natural resources management activities but expanded our scope to include state, municipal and private lands.

The SOCS Working Group is composed of individuals and representatives from:

Project Facilitator

Charisse Sydoriak

Goals 

The goal of SOCS is to promote climate-smart natural resources management throughout Southern Oregon.

Strategic Approach 

Education—Develop a “climate-smart” natural resources management guide for use by federal, state, and local entities demonstrating the “climate-smart” adaptation planning process through case studies. Attend, present, and participate in public forums.

Engagement—Collaborate with representatives of federal, state, and municipal organizations working on natural resources management related conservation policies and plans as early as possible. Participate on panels, special working groups, and similar.

Facilitation—Support federal, state, municipal, and property owner efforts to develop “climate-smart” conservation plans. Provide information (including GIS maps), facilitate dialog, consultation services, and advise.

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What does it mean to be Climate Smart in natural resources management

  • Being “climate-smart” is “the intentional and deliberate consideration of climate change in natural resource management, realized through adopting forward-looking goals and explicitly linking strategies to key climate impacts and vulnerabilities” (Stein et al. 2014).
  • It entails INTENTIONALLY making a transition from a paradigm of protection and restoration (resisting change), to one that anticipates and actively manages for uncertain yet plausible future conditions.
  • The challenge is to manage for acceptable outcomes, with uncertainty clearly in mind.

Figure 1: Climate Smart Planning Cycle [note: while this source graphic (Glick et al. 2021) mentions forests, the approach can be applied to other ecosystems]

The approach the SOCS Working Group is using was originally published in 2014 by a consortium of contributors led by the National Wildlife Federation (Stein et al. 2014) and updated in 2021 (Glick, P. et al.). The six-step process (Figure 1) is based on a set of principles that acknowledges historic and desired environments but deliberately questions their viability given rapidly changing and uncertain climatic and socioeconomic conditions.

The approach requires a change in the way we design and select natural resources management strategies and tactics, and is facilitated using geospatial tools, scenario planning, and public engagement. Highly prescriptive solutions are avoided while experimentation, flexibility, reevaluation, and creativity are emphasized.

Key characteristics of the climate smart approach are:

  • Linking actions to climate impacts. Natural resources management strategies and actions are designed specifically to address the impact of climate change in concert with existing threats. Actions are supported by an explicit scientific rationale and understanding of potential climate vulnerabilities.
  • Embrace forward-looking goals. Management goals focus on current and future, rather than past conditions. Strategies take a long view (decades to centuries) but account for near-term challenges and needed transition strategies.
  • Consider broader landscape context. On-the-ground actions are designed in the context of broader geographic scales to account for likely shifts in species distributions, to sustain ecological processes, and to promote collaboration across land management boundaries.
  • Adopt strategies robust to uncertainty. Strategies and actions ideally provide benefit across a range of possible future conditions to account for uncertainties in future climatic conditions, and in ecological and human responses to climate shifts.
  • Employ agile and informed management. Natural resources managers and the public embrace experimentation, continuous learning and dynamic adjustment to accommodate uncertainty–regularly taking advantage of new knowledge to cope with rapid shifts in climatic, ecological, and socioeconomic conditions.
  • Minimize carbon footprint. Adopt strategies that minimize energy use & greenhouse gas emissions and employ tactics that enable systems to naturally cycle and store carbon.
  • Account for climate influence on project success. Monitor the results of actions taken. Avoid investing effort likely to be undermined by climate-related changes unless part of an intentional strategy.
  • Safeguard people and nature. Adopt strategies and tactics that enhance ecosystems’ capacity to protect human communities and co-beneficial biota from climate change impacts.
  • Avoid maladaptation. Avoid choosing activities that ostensibly reduce vulnerabilities to climatic change but actually have unintended adverse consequences on human or natural communities.

SOCS Accomplishments in 2019

  • Formed the Working Group and developed the SOCS charter.
  • Developed a shared resources library and files management plan.
  • Provided comments on the Medford and Roseburg District BLM Integrated Vegetation Management Plan for Resilient Lands Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA)

SOCS Accomplishments in 2020

  • January -Met with USFS staff at Star Gulch Ranger Station to discuss Upper Applegate Watershed Restoration Plan in the context of climate smart principles.
  • Reviewed and submitted written comments on the USFS/BLM Upper Applegate Watershed Restoration Project EA and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for its “climate smartness” relative to proposed actions for forest and woodland vegetation treatments, wildlife conservation, recovery of the endangered Gentner’s fritillary, and ecosystem services. Presented our findings to the Siskiyou District Ranger and staff on January 28, 2020 and responded to questions.
  • Reviewed the Ashland OR Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) for climate smartness
  • Reviewed the Ashland OR Forest Plan (AFP) for climate smartness

SOCS Accomplishments in 2021

  • April–Formally submitted Ashland CEAP and AFP review comments through public testimony at an Ashland Climate Policy Commission session.
  • August–Provided public comment to the Oregon Global Warming Commission requesting clarification of the term “climate smart” in relation to natural resources management. The subsequent final version of the OGWC Natural and Working Lands Plan included a brief statement regarding climate smart management.
  • November–Met with the Medford District Ranger and staff to review climate change adaptation work at the Upper Table Rocks for inclusion as a possible case study in a climate smart adaptation planning guide and provided educational materials on the climate smart approach.

SOCS Accomplishments in 2022

  • March–Introduced Jennifer Sanborn, new Siskiyou Mountains District, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests, to the SOCS team, climate-smart natural resources management principles, and our goals and service approach. Opened the door to future collaboration.

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Connection to SOCAN Mission

Although the SOCS Working Group is not a SOCAN project, the following explains SOCAN’s engagement in the Working Group:

Our natural and working lands are critical elements of the climate solution since management practices both result in greenhouse gas emissions and can increase or decrease the carbon sequestration capacity of these lands.  Climate-smart management not only promotes adaptation of our ecosystems to future climatic conditions, but also seeks to reduce their contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions problem.

References Cited

Glick, P., B.A. Stein, and K.R. Hall. 2021. Toward a Shared Understanding of Climate-Smart Restoration on America’s National Forests: A Science Review and Synthesis. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.

Stein, B.A., P. Glick, N. Edelson, and A. Staudt (eds.) (2014). Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C.

Resources

Rapid Response

Project Description

The Rapid Response team comprises individuals willing to send emails, sign petitions, or offer comments about issues related to climate and of potential interest to SOCAN activists.

Project Leader

To join this project contact Alan Journet

Goals

The Rapid Response project goal is to contact individuals or organizations rapidly when we become aware of an issue or petition drive that deserves our comment or attention. 

Connection to SOCAN Mission

 It is frequently beneficial for area residents to contact individuals or entities to express individual concern about issues that are climate related or fall with SOCAN’s Mission. 

Background Information

Many climate activists receive emails from organizations seeking public input via comment or petition on issues related to climate. This team comprises individuals willing to share such requests and submit responses.

Resources

Monthly Meetings

Project Description  

SOCAN holds free monthly public meetings on climate related issues the last Tuesday of each month, beginning at 6 pm, except December. These meetings are free and open to the public. The Monthly Meetings are typically held in the Medford Public Library, however during COVID-19 restrictions, they are being held via Zoom. It is anticipated that once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, a hybrid format will be established with in-person meetings in the library combined with a zoom option. The program topics and possible speakers are determined by the Leadership Circle.

Project Leader

To help with this project contact Kathy Conway

Goals

Monthly meetings provide interested Southern Oregonians with programs that enhance their understanding of issues related to the climate crisis.

Connection to SOCAN Mission 

In order to address the climate crisis successfully, we need the public to understand critical issues related to this crisis. The general meetings provide opportunities for the public to become more informed and provide attendees with relevant actions that they can take.

Background Information

Since our establishment in September 2012, SOCAN has been committed both to undertaking projects that further our mission, and providing welcoming opportunities for members of the public to learn more about our activities, and learn about issues that relate to the climate crisis we face. These programs either cover basic information about the climate crisis or offer attendees information on what they can do individually and collectively to address the problem. 

Resources

Includes links to YouTube Videos of Monthly Meetings held via Zoom

Businesses Taking Action

Project Description

In an increasingly globalized market, companies play a vital role in every aspect of modern life. SOCAN’s Business Action Survey provides a platform for businesses to report on how their behavior positively affects the social and environmental health of communities in Southern Oregon. This survey allows businesses engaged in sustainable behavior to demonstrate that behavior and promote their actions/efforts and allows consumers to make informed choices.

Link to Businesses Taking Action Details

Project Leader 

For more information, contact Gabriela Safay

Goals

  • Identify businesses making a positive impact. 
  • Provide a resource for consumers to more effectively vote with their dollar and know that they are supporting businesses that align with their values.
  • Increase the demand for ethical and transparent business behavior in Southern Oregon.
  • Encourage businesses to set future targets for social and environmental stewardship.
  • Support local businesses taking action.
  • Encourage buying local.
  • Highlight BIPOC and LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
  • Shape a future where business accountability is not only encouraged, but expected.
  • Promote a safe and equitable society for underserved community members.

Connection to SOCAN Mission

Addressing the climate crisis requires that we all adopt behaviors that are sustainable and socially responsible. This project allows businesses engaging in such behaviors to identify themselves and allows consumers to make informed choices.

Background Information

In the business arena it is often difficult for owners to justify behaviors that display social responsibility if these compromise the bottom line. This project allows consumers to reward businesses that behave appropriately.

Link to Businesses Taking Action Details

Federal and State

Project Description

In order to stimulate appropriate action at the Federal and State levels, SOCAN is committed to reaching out to our elected representatives, their staffs and relevant agencies both to express our concerns about climate change and its consequences, and advocate for or against positions held by these individuals / agencies and proposals that are under discussion. The targets are legislators and administrators, and staff. We serve as a resource for scientific knowledge and expertise on climate change to all legislators and candidates for public office while encouraging legislatures and agencies to take appropriate action to address the problem.

Project Leaders

To join this project contact Alan Journet or Hogan Sherrow

Goals

The goal of this project is to stimulate climate sensitive action at the Federal and State levels of government.

Connection to SOCAN Mission

This project is designed to promote awareness and understanding about the need for climate action among elected Federal and State representatives and their staff and encourage collective action to address climate issues. As a result of this engagement, we hope to stimulate action that will promote reducing the severity of climate change by both decreasing the causes of it and by preparing for its inevitable consequences.

Background Information

While we are all individually responsible for doing the best we can do to address climate change through modification of our personal behaviors, the unfortunate reality is that this is a necessary but insufficient approach. Addressing this global crisis will take more than that; it will require the collective action of peoples throughout the world taking steps to curtail the greenhouse gas pollution that is increasing the global temperature and imposing havoc on our weather patterns. This global problem will take global collaboration. Beyond personal and corporate efforts, we want our local, state, and national governments to address climate change in a manner consistent with their authority and responsibility.

Resources

Coastal SOCAN

Project Description

Coastal SOCAN is made up primarily of people who live on the Oregon Coast and generally focuses on issues related to the coast. Through monthly meetings, talks to local groups, letters to the editor and guest columns, and interactions with other environmental groups along the coast, we seek to educate people in Curry County on the causes, current negative effects, and projected greater negative effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

Project Leader

To join this project come to our monthly meeting, which is open to the public and is free to all attendees. For additional information please contact Bill Gorham.

Goals

  • Stimulate individuals in the local community to take actions personally to reduce the impacts of climate change.
  • Nurture civil conversations on the local effects of greenhouse gas emissions such as ocean acidification, localized warming of the oceans, changes to the winds affecting oxygen levels in the shallow near shore, and warmer oceans stimulating increased domoic acid production in phytoplankton.
  • Engage with all ages in the discussion of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Educate individuals on the opportunities that can come from actively moving from a fossil fuel based energy system to a carbon-free energy system.
  • Provide opportunities for individuals to combine their personal efforts to reduce their carbon footprint with those efforts of others through coordinated letter and email writing campaigns, directed phone campaigns, and other cooperative outreach efforts.

Connection to SOCAN Mission

As a project of SOCAN, Coastal SOCAN works closely with the team in the Rogue Valley by having representation on the SOCAN Board of Directors, cooperating in educational outreach efforts, and sharing information of interest to both coastal and inland climate activists.

Background Information

Ed Patterson contacted Alan Journet and Kathy Conway (SOCAN Co-facilitators) in the fall of 2018, roughly the time the 4th National Climate Assessment was released, to expand SOCAN’s sphere of influence to the coast. Bill Gorham joined Ed as co-facilitators, they convened a Planning Committee, and hosted Alan and Kathy for the inaugural monthly meeting in February 2019. We celebrated our first anniversary at our February 2020 meeting and have continued to engage with our constituents, largely by Zoom due to COVID-19, through monthly presentations, small group discussions, guest editorials and letters to the editor to the local papers, and other community outreach activities.

Resources

Voices of the Valley

Project Description

Voices of the Valley is a narrative multimedia project that provides people from our own Rogue Valley communities, especially the most vulnerable populations, an opportunity to share stories of how extreme weather and climate change is affecting their physical and mental health, their work, and their home life. The project includes a series of mini-documentary interviews that can be viewed as a full documentary (68 minutes) or individually. Additionally there is a series of narrative photo displays, available for exhibition.

   

Project Leader

For questions or to join this project contact Liz Olson

Goals

The goals of this project are two-fold: first, to give an opportunity for people of the Rogue Valley in Oregon the chance to voice their concerns about climate change; secondly, to have their stories raise awareness and make an impact on their fellow citizens in a way that is direct, real and applicable to their own lives.

Connection to SOCAN Mission

This project serves SOCAN’s Mission of promoting awareness and understanding about the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as motivating concerned citizens to take individual and collective action.

Background Information

People’s personal stories and the use of images are amongst the most potent ways of sharing information, especially when the people represented are known by others in the community. Climate Change can be a difficult subject to talk about for people of all ages. Video and photographic narratives help ease our way into exploring this crisis and its very real impact that is happening now and to people like us.

Resources

Master Climate Protector – A Primer for Action

Administrative Coordinator – Ellie Cosgrove

Link to Master Climate Protector Course Details

Project Description

Modeled on the extremely popular Jackson County Master Gardener and Master Recycler programs, our Master Climate Protector (MCP) program incorporates both a training component and a service component.  It is designed for individuals who want to know more about Climate Change and what we can do to address this critical problem.

Master Climate Protectors are trained volunteers who work to inform and educate the public about the science of climate change and its consequences. They work within their communities and local governments to promote personal and collective actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and serve as an educational outreach for climate literacy.

They go through a 10-week training course that covers climate change science and the impacts on key sectors of energy, transportation, agriculture, water and others. Within each sector is a focus on global and local impacts, personal and collective mitigating actions and measurements on how to reduce your greenhouse gas footprint. The course includes an up to date training manual, discussion based classes, and presentations from local and regional experts.

Goal

Participants will:

  • Increase their understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change
    consequences.
  • Become motivated and learn how to take relevant individual and collective action.
  • Develop the skills and confidence to inform others about the science of global warming
    and its climate change consequences including how to address the problem.
  • Develop a personal carbon (GreenHouse Gas – GHG) footprint to help them reduce their
    own emissions.

Connection to SOCAN Mission

This project addresses the Mission of promoting awareness and understanding of climate change, its causes and consequences. It also is designed to help individuals adopt personal solutions, promote collective solutions, and motivate others to take action.

Accomplishments

The Pilot began April 2017 and subsequent courses were held beginning September 2017, February 2018, February 2019, February 2020, and February 2021. The course will be held annually beginning in February each year.

Background Information

Although abundant information exists about climate change, its causes and consequences, sometimes it is difficult to understand the science and evaluate what evidence is scientifically credible and what lacks such credibility.

Climate in the Classroom

Project Description

We work directly with regional educators to support them in their efforts to integrate climate change topics into their curriculum.

We do this through:

  • Finding and developing curricular materials which promote student awareness and understanding of the science of climate change, together with its causes, consequences, and actions we can take. These curricula could be used in schools, for homeschooling, and in extra-curricular situations, such as youth groups, after school clubs, nature centers, summer camps, etc.
  • Developing and giving one-time presentations about climate change to elementary through high school students as an introduction to the subject. Give the teacher, parent, or group leader follow-up curriculum materials.
  • Connecting and working with high school and middle-school students who might help develop curriculum and present in lower-age classrooms and/or wish to use education in climate change as their senior project, capstone project, or to fulfill another class requirement.
  • Providing opportunities for teachers to network and learn together through quarterly Teacher Conversation programs and teacher professional development workshops.

Project Leader

If you are interested in joining this project or you are an educator/school administrator who is interested in joining our mailing list, please contact Ellie Cosgrove.

Goals

  • Provide access to climate change curriculum and support regional teachers with curriculum development.
  • Identifying and supporting regional teachers who would like to be leaders in their schools and districts who will encourage colleagues to integrate climate change curriculum into their classrooms.

Connection to SOCAN Mission

One of SOCAN’s main mission objectives is to educate the public about climate science, and of the most effective ways of doing this is reaching students at all levels.

Background Information

The Next Generation Science Standards, adopted by Oregon, explicitly include the expectation that students will understand climate science, but many teachers need the support to do so. We support teachers in their efforts to find and develop curricula to meet these standards and provide professional development opportunities where they can collaborate with other teachers and practice teaching about these topics.

Education Resources