Western to host ‘October Climatefest’ conference Oct. 18

Western Today staff

Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment, along with the WWU Office of Sustainability and many community sponsors, will host the first October Climatefest conference from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 18 at the Performing Arts Center’s Mainstage Theatre.

The event is free and open to the public.

 This year’s theme, “Celebrating Local-to-Global Climate Action,” will bring together a variety of speakers to detail actions already under way to lower carbon emissions locally to globally, along with interactive audience activities throughout the day. In preparation for international climate negotiations in Paris this December, communities around the world are gearing up with a variety of actions related to the climate crisis, this day being one of many.

Climatefest is being held to engage and help empower others to act on the pressing climate issues confronting the planet.

“People are rising up to face the challenges from the climate crisis and it will take all of us to be moved to action through the inspiration and work of others,” said Jill MacIntyre Witt, a WWU Huxley College of the Environment graduate student and the event’s organizer.

The celebration begins with doors opening at 10:30 a.m. for tabling, action stations and a video story booth for sharing ideas and voices on the issue. The program runs from noon-4 p.m. with an intermission providing treats from local bakeries. From 5-7 p.m., “Climate Conversations” will allow attendees to meet with the speakers and participants to carry on the conversation and create plans of action.

350.org co-founder Bill McKibben and former Vice President Al Gore will be present through video technology with messages specifically recorded for the event. Climate Solutions Policy Director and 350.org Chair, KC Golden, will keynote, alongside many other speakers including Tamo Campos, the grandson of Canadian’s environmental hero and author, David Suzuki.

"I'm glad to be joining in this event, by (low-carbon!) electronics. As the world approaches the critical Paris climate conference in December, people from every corner of the planet are coming together to make their voices heard. And Bellingham, with its remarkable fight against coal ports, is a great inspiration in that struggle!" said McKibben.

One of the youth voices, Jacob Lebel, will share his action of suing the Obama Administration for what he regards as inadequate climate policy measures to protect his future.

“Climate change creates an existential crisis for humanity, but in every crisis lies opportunities and possibilities of a more just world. By bringing together international, regional and indigenous voices, this conference creates opportunity for inspiration, networking and strategies moving this movement forwards," Lebel said.

Parking is free on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays in the gravel C-lot on the south end of campus. Carpooling and alternative transportation are encouraged. Additional speaker and event details can be found on the “October Climatefest” event page on Facebook.

For more information, e-mail jill.macintyrewitt@wwu.edu

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 11:13am