What is Southern Oregon Climate Act Now (SOCAN)?
Southern Oregon Climate Act Now is a non-profit organization created by Ashland residents who passionately tackle reducing the impacts of global warming through education and action. This local organization is an immense resource within the Rogue Valley. The team’s website and members link many resources for onlookers on climate science, organizations to connect with, and ideas and actions to start reducing your carbon footprint today! The Master Climate Protector course is offered once a year through SOCAN and integrates both trainings on climate science and a service component. The 20-hour service component is designed for graduates to further demonstrate their knowledge and promote action through community engagement, conversation, or writing letters to political officials.
How did you find out about SOCAN?
The course was advertised across the Rogue Valley and my manager, Becs Walker asked if I would be interested. She did say “I understand if this adds too much zoom to an already full zoom calendar!” Through my PEAK job, Becs had sparked the idea of developing experience and working in the community and this felt like it would support this.
What did this course cover and how has this course helped you better understand Climate Change?
After being an online student for about a year now, I can easily say this was a very well-structured class. There were opportunities for conversation, reflection, togetherness, scientific data, jokes, and real-life scenarios. Multiple group discussions were helpful to see others’ perspectives and stimulate ideas on collective and individual actions.
The course condensed the facts of our climate crisis we face. In our ten sessions, we explored basic science, recognizing alternative explanations to climate change, energy and construction, weather and water, transportation, terrestrial systems, agriculture, human health, and individual and collective actions. Not only were the resources well-thought-out and credible, but they also provided relevancy to the Rogue Valley.
How did you feel during the course?
It was interesting to see how the course played out. About half the course covered the hard realities around climate change, then around halfway through, the conversations shifted to taking actions and providing solutions to these tricky issues. We were asked to write down after each night how we felt, and some nights I felt overwhelmed and sad, and other nights I felt motivated and eager.
What are your 3 main takeaways from the course?
- Communicating with others and the language we use to associate with our environment is highly important. One example shown to the class was the 2020 Yale Program Study about, “Global Warming’s Six Americas”. This study helped us recognize the spectrum of America’s association with climate beliefs. After “getting to know your audience” engagement and language are key factors towards connecting on climate.
- The most tangible prediction regarding global temperature rising came from Climate Central in 2014, stating that Jackson County projects summers like Redding, California by 2050, and in 2100 Jackson County will experience summers similar to Delano, California. It was a tangible statistic I could wrap my head around considering what Redding in the summertime feels like.
- It is important to not only become educated on the basic science of our changing climate but also putting your actions into practice NOW. In the SCOAN course it was highlighted that, in the Rogue Valley, 44% of our contributions to global emissions result from our individual consumption. Individually and collectively, cutting our carbon emissions and short-lived climate pollutants will promote long-term benefits for the future of our planet.
How has it helped you in thinking about the SOU’s role in helping to tackle climate change? Or What do you think SOU can do to tackle climate change?
Wherever there is a chance for community, there is a chance for change. Community within SOU, SOCAN, and Ashland. How we come together as a town and as a University, as one, to connect to these crises that are happening now will help us to make the changes we need. SOU, like any institution, has to set the example for its students, staff, and faculty, and surrounding community to instill habits and educate for change. SOU has to be ever-adapting to what lays ahead, however, we have a great start to our Sustainable practices and curriculum on campus.