“Sustainable” Missoula: our electrifying fall – and our energy future
Isn’t this one of the most colorful falls in Missoula? September was simply magnificent.
Autumn is all about change. Smoke from the forest fires clears and blue skies predominate. The green chlorophyll dissolves, leaving a kaleidoscope of colors – orange, rust, yellow and red. All of this has us at Climate Smart electrified!
Okay, that’s a little cheesy, but stick with us as we consider the changing seasons, the reorientation of our workflow, the switching of energy systems, and the changes in advocacy.
Our hot and smoky summer focused us on resilience efforts. We’ve worked hard with a myriad of partners to help our community be Wildfire Smoke Ready, bombarding Missoula with information and handing out hundreds of free air filtration systems to those in need. Along with Missoula County and the City, we have forged new partnerships with the All Nations Health Center, Missoula Food Bank & Community Center and many more, improving our collective ability to “weather the weather”.
And as the weather changed and the skies cleared, we moved from resilience to mitigation, reducing our contribution to this climate emergency. A few weeks ago, during the third annual edition of Missoula Climate and Clean Energy Fair, people came to explore and discuss climate solutions. Our community is full of climate champions who are just as invested in this work as we are.
The city, county and a host of nonprofits and businesses are rising to the challenge of mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis. From creating a community climate Venn diagram to looking under the hoods of electric cars and e-bike trials, to discussions about compost, zero waste, advocacy and more. along with our exhibitors, the Expo showcased many ways our community is impacting the climate.
There are more ways than ever to get involved and be a part of the movement, and bring our community together (safely) and seeing such enthusiasm and commitment gives us fuel to keep taking the next steps.
At the Expo, the Climate Smart team was also proud to launch our new project, Electrify Missoula, a partnership between Climate Smart, the County of Missoula and the City of Missoula that aims to accelerate the transition to a healthier, more affordable and clean energy future through the electrification of building systems and technologies that generally run on methane, such as space heating and cooling and domestic cooking.
In Missoula, our methane-dependent construction sector is a major contributor to our community’s carbon footprint and can also pose a threat to the health and safety of residents. The double whammy of the health and climatic implications of gas combustion in our buildings get more attention, as new research emerges and places like California enact restrictions on gas infrastructure.
Our Electrify Missoula aims to address this challenge, providing residents with the information and resources (technical information, financing options, etc.) needed to help reduce the most common barriers to switching to an all-electric system.
As part of our collaboration, Building (s) of the Future Program, is a campaign that concerns us all, motivated both by a broader policy change and by individual purchasing decisions. It will take builders, architects, landlords and tenants, vendors and contractors, and decision makers at all levels.
Electrify Missoula is one of the ways this community delivers on its climate action promises. You can also be part of this campaign. To learn more about Electrify Missoula and how to get involved, visit www.electrifymissoula.org. Also find our model “Electrify House” at 3rd floor of the Missoula public library. The model, built with help from MMW Architects at this year’s spontaneous build event hosted by Home Resource, showcases different ways to go electric in your home.
In addition to our Electrify campaign, we have another fall offer, which matches the sky outside: our new podcast: Clear the Air (via our website Where Spotify). Somehow, we convinced local experts, community members and leaders to discuss with us the urgency and intensity of their climate-focused work and we recorded it all. ! We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Episode one even concerns buildings. It’s electrifying. (Sorry, we couldn’t help her!)
Autumn means change. And as we contemplate the changes we see in Missoula (some beautiful, some difficult), we cannot ignore the global changes. This fall has allowed us to step up our work locally. Yet – there is always a time – we cannot get to where we need to go without real system changes for our country and the world.
At present, it is possible that important climate legislation will be passed by Congress. If you’re struggling to keep up with all the ins and outs of the budget reconciliation process these days, you’re not alone! It’s confusing, and we also find ourselves frustrated with the media coverage that too often focuses more on political horse racing and arbitrary dollar amounts than on the real substance of what is being debated. How to put a price on a livable future?
But cynicism is not the answer. We can and must come together to raise our voices and make our elected leaders hear loud and clear that climate action is essential.
Are you a skier who worries about less snow in the winter? Are you a business owner who is impacted by hotter summers causing restrictions on our rivers? Are you a parent, teacher or guardian who has had to keep children inside when it was smoky? Are you a tenant paying high energy bills in an inefficient apartment? Are you just a Missoulian concerned about rising housing costs and wanting our community to be accessible, vibrant and healthy as it grows?
Take a few minutes today to tell our senators how the climate crisis is affecting you and ask them to support the climate provisions of the budget reconciliation bill. The climate policies and programs currently under consideration would be an important step towards slowing down emissions from global warming and investing in solutions that bolster our community’s ongoing efforts (including, yes, the electrification of our buildings!).
Call Senator Tester (202-224-2644) and Senator Daines (202-224-2651) and ask them to support climate solutions in this reconciliation bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. To manage here for more information and links to add your voice.
As the seasons change and provide opportunities for reflection and perspective, we hope you will join us in thinking again about how to ACT, ADVOCATE and HELP others as we build. a climate-safe community.
We are truly electrified by what we can do together!
Kelli Littleton is Program Director and Mason Dow is Program Associate at Climate Smart Missoula.
This sustainable Missoula column is brought to you – via the Missoula stream – every week by Climate smart missoula and Home ReSource.
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October 9. Workshop The work that reconnects, 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Join families for a livable climate on a half-day outdoor gathering to engage in a widespread set of practices that can liven up our exhausted minds in this time of climate change, rekindle our awareness of how we are. interconnected and remember why it is worth stepping up and taking action. Following here.
October 12. Climate change and your child’s health: What Every Montana Parent Should Know, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM. What are the threats of climate change to children in Montana and how can we keep them safe? Join Families for a Livable Climate and Montana Health Professionals for Healthy Climate for a special event with Dr Lori Byron and Dr Robert Byron. Following here.
October 14. Climate Parent Social, and Action Meetup. Imagine Nation Brewing, 5 pm to 6:30 pm Hide away and join other parents and guardians taking action on climate change at Imagine Nation Brewing. Listen to upcoming actions and connect as a community. Please RSVP so that we can keep our numbers safe for social distancing.
October 28. Climate Conversation with Al Gore and Max Baucus. By Zoom, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Organized by the Max Baucus Institute at the Blewett School of Law, University of Montana: A climate conversation featuring former US Vice President Al Gore and former US Senator and Ambassador Max Baucus. Register for this Zoom event here.
October 31. Solar dedication service at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Bonner. 11h. The public is invited to join a special service dedicated to the new solar panel which will cover 100% of the church’s annual electricity consumption. Visits and information discussions will follow the inauguration ceremony. Outdoor ceremony for COVID-19 security. Contact Eric huseth for more information.
Trees for Missoula has a lot of fall Volunteer tree planting opportunities this autumn.
Missoula Farmers Markets. Eat local now until the end of October! The original Farmers Market at the north end of Higgins takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – info here. The Clark Fork Market is now located at 101 Carousel Drive near Dragon Hollow, runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – information is here.
Material donations to Home Resource turns the wheels of reuse in our community; and remember that all you need to know about what to do with your unwanted items is below. www.zerobyfiftymissoula.com.
Find more local activities and events on Missoulaevents.net and the Montana Environmental Information Center Retention schedule. And you too can help organize events – here is the 2021 Calendar of Environmental Awareness Days – month-by-month distribution of World Day campaigns.