The First Gathering of Keepers of The Coast Meet Them, Hear Them, Speak With Them September 20 by Joel Chaban
The first time our Thursday Ramblers hiking group hiked the Jenner Headlands was last November 8th. It’s almost a straight uphill climb to get to the ranger station where picnic tables are located for eating lunch. From the picnic tables the ocean views are spectacular. You look down at the Russian River flowing out of a valley and see the entire river estuary. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky.
About midway through lunch I gazed at the river for a few moments and noticed a huge, dark grey mass of fog coming down the river valley towards the ocean. That’s odd I thought. Fog usually comes in from the ocean, not down the river. I said to my lunchmates, “What’s that large, almost black cloud coming down the river?” Someone said, “Oh, that looks like smoke from a fire.”
With a heightened concern about wildfires in California, I whipped out my smartphone to search for any news of a fire. A fire had started in Butte County. But Butte County is over 200 miles away. “OMG,” I thought, “It must be from another fire. I hope it’s not in Santa Rosa again.”
It wasn’t from Santa Rosa. It was the first smoke of the Camp Fire in Paradise – smoke that traveled over 200 miles in just a few short hours. Smoke that would choke the coast for days to come.
Wildfires, decimation of life in our intertidal zone, and other effects of climate change and environmental harm are concerns to be spotlighted at Gualala Community Center on World Climate Strike Day, September 20th. This event will explore how we might decarbonize through local planning and initiatives and begin building community resilience.
Six months ago, on March 15, 2019, an estimated one MILLION children across the planet skipped school to strike and appeal for climate change action and oppose ecological destruction. Their anthem: "If the adults don't act, we will."
Youth leaders of the Global Climate Strike movement, including Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg, have sounded the alarm and request that on Friday, September 20, 2019, you and others across the world stand alongside them in solidarity. The first gathering in Gualala aims to educate the public about the severity of the issues and to bridge collaborative dialogue.
Not a single day passes without headline news coverage of some severe or erratic weather event linked to climate change. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2018 report predicts that we only have until 2030 (11 years) to drastically cut emissions if we are to meaningfully mitigate climate catastrophe and reduce the risk of societal collapse. Many scientists call these predictions overly conservative.
Mendocino and Sonoma counties have a strong tradition of ecological advocacy. These are places where people come from all over the world to be inspired. They come here to connect with their souls reflected in the rolling hills, towering redwoods, and majestic shorelines. Let us also be a bastion for ways of living rooted in sustainability, renewable energy, and climate justice. Can we become an example to the world?
You are invited to participate in this inaugural “Gathering of Keepers of The Coast” at the Gualala Community Center on September 20th. The keepers are groups and individuals that care for the Earth and life on the coast, including the land keepers such as Redwood Coast Land Conservancy, the whale watch keepers such as Mendonoma Whale and Seal Study, the ocean keepers such as Greater Farallones Association, and so on. If you are concerned about the climate crisis, show up.