I strongly support a local free press for at least three reasons: a local free press is essential to know what’s happening in my hometown, it’s essential to the survival of our democracy, and it’s essential to know what environmental threats are occurring or that are proposed. We need the local free press to shine the light to keep our towns, democracy, and environment healthy.
This letter to the editor (hyperlink: Kitsap Audubon meets with legislators) was published in the 22 Dec. 2020 web version of the Kitsap Sun newspaper as “State Can Act on Climate Goals.” The letter reports that members of the Kitsap Audubon Society met recently with Senator Christine Rolfes and Representative Drew Hansen to discuss climate change and wildlife habitat legislation for 2021. It also mentions some organizations that Washington State people can volunteer with to advance climate action and habitat protection.
Johnson, Ayana Elizabeth and Katharine K. Wilkinson. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. New York: One World, 2020. Print.
I just began reading All We Can Save, a book that contains excellent essays by environmental big thinkers like Naomi Klein (author of On Fire), Abigail Dillen (president of Earthjustice), and Mary Anne Hitt (former director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign). All We Save, for me, is the 2020 update to the 2010 environmental ethics book Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, which was edited by Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson. All We Can Save not only updates the global warming/extinction discussion to 2020, using the experiences and realizations of the past decade, but also it is unique in that it’s entirely authored and edited by women.
Do you want to have a say in whether the Kitsap Shoreline is developed or kept natural? You can affect what direction it goes by participating in the Shoreline Master Program update, which starts 17 Dec. 2020 (and then occur on the 3rd Thursday of each month).
From the Kitsap County Kitsap County Department of Community Development/DCD:
“Kitsap County is conducting a required periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP) and we want to hear from you. To promote timely information sharing and transparency throughout the SMP periodic review process, the County will be hosting monthly project updates via Zoom Webinar now through Spring 2021.
“What will meetings cover? Monthly project updates are a chance for you and other community members to learn about the SMP periodic review as it progresses and ask questions of staff. At the December project update, the County will provide an overview of the SMP periodic review timeline and process, highlight public engagement opportunities, and introduce the online open house.
“Meeting participants will have the opportunity to ask questions during a moderated community Q&A.
“Please note, comments on the Department’s draft proposal need to be submitted through the formal public comment process anticipated in February 2021 to be included in the record for consideration by the Kitsap County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners.
“Meeting information: Thursday | December 17, 2020 | 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Meetings will take place the third Thursday of every month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The first meeting date is December 17, 2020.
“To join, use this Zoom Webinar Link and enter the following meeting credentials when prompted:
“If you would like to join the meeting by phone: Teleconferencing number: +1 253 215 8782iPhone one tap: +12532158782,,82199142754#,,,,,,0#,,200058# or +16699006833,,82199142754#,,,,,,0#,,200058#
“Having trouble accessing the meeting or have questions about this process? A downloadable PDF with tips for joining Zoom Webinar is available. You can also reach the County by phone at 360-337-5777 or by email at reviewSMP@co.kitsap.wa.us.
“To learn more about Kitsap County’s Shoreline Master Program and other opportunities to engage, check out the periodic review website.
“Contact Information We encourage you to reach out to the County throughout the process, for questions please contact:
The winter 2020 issue of the web-based Salish Magazine is now out, and the theme for the issue is Spectrum of Cycles [in Nature]. To see photos, videos, artwork, information, essays, and poetry about the cycles of nature, please go to https://salishmagazine.org/issue-10/
Several of us from Kitsap Audubon Society met today with our representatives. We had wonderful talks with Senator Christine Rolfes and Representative Drew Hansen of the 23rd Legislative District about Washington Audubon’s legislative priorities for 2021—which are to ensure the budget continues to protect habitat and species and that programs are instituted to fight the climate crisis.
The COVID crisis and the recession hit hard this year, and quite rightly, large expenditures are being made to help people. At the same time, the climate crisis is still advancing and species are going extinct, so sacrificing habitat and species, and not taking action on climate change, will just make the future more painful and more costly than we’re already committed to. We live in challenging times, so we must be creative at many levels. I’m glad our 23rd District representatives are the quality legislators they are.
Protecting habitat and species will be aided in 2021 through good funding of the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the WA Wildlife and Recreation Program, the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, and the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program.
Climate change threatens to blow the door down on everyone—human and nonhuman, and we need to pursue climate action at many levels. Locally, we in Washington can join our Pacific coast neighbors (British Columbia, Oregon, and California) and pass a clean fuel standard, a move that will move our transportation toward electrification. Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State. A clean fuel standard will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s something that Washington and all states must do.
Issuing green bonds (certified to ensure that investments go toward projects with measurable and environmental benefits) is one means to help protect the environment and fight climate change—while also raising money.
Finally, the Growth Management Act should be updated to include planning for climate change. In 2021, we live in a new reality—one where climate change is hitting us here in Washington with forest fires, ocean acidification, and species’ extinction. To ignore the reality that is here and the reality that is coming will make responding to that change more difficult. The GMAs should be updated to acknowledge the new world we live in.
During this COVID-19 time (actually, during all times) it’s good to get outside. Fortunately, in Kitsap County we have lots of outside available.
So much to be thankful for: forests to meander in, trails to bike on, places where we can gaze at the Sound or sit and read, and beaches where we can identify shells, crabs, ducks, and seaweed, or just amble along. Here, it’s easy to get to nature, for nature is just a walk or a short drive away from anywhere in the county.
People and Organizations
Our parks and preserves didn’t happen by accident—and that’s where the thank-you to people and organizations comes in. Delving into the histories of open spaces reveals that many exist because of the work, planning, letter writing, and legislating done by engaged folks. Additionally, these parks and preserves are now maintained (trail clearing, trash pickup, invasive weed removal) by park professionals and volunteers. Here’s a tiny sampling of the people and organizations conserving Kitsap’s nature:
Gene and Sandy Bullock, Don and Judy Willott, and many others at the Kitsap Audubon Society provide the forum where knowledgeable lecturers teach us—during photo-filled presentations at the society’s monthly meetings (now virtual)—about birds and their habits and habitats.
Kitsap Audubon is about birds, but it’s also about preserving habitat and the environment. Now in their eighties, Gene and Sandy lead Christmas bird counts where they point out buffleheads, mergansers, wigeons, and kingfishers. Don and Judy have worked for years to bring bike/walk trails to Kitsap and were heavily involved in the creation of the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park. Kitsap Audubon provides scholarships to college students who are pursuing environment-related majors, and it gives kits to classrooms so that children can explore the world of birds. Kitsap Audubon also promotes—via organizational participation and money donations—habitat conservation through groups like Great Peninsula Conservancy.
Led for years by Sandra Staples-Bortner, and now by Nathan Daniel, Great Peninsula Conservancy purchases and oversees habitat, receives donated lands, and arranges conservation easements. In its twenty years, GPC has conserved over 10,000 acres of open space. Being apolitical, GPC provides a place where people of diverse interests enjoy coming together to do good by adding to Kitsap’s nature.
Attending the annual fundraising dinner (virtual in 2020) at Kiana Lodge is to get a positive fix, seeing the cross-section of people there. Over the years, thousands of people—environmentalists, business owners, tribal members, advocates for parks and trails, fish/plant/wildlife experts, volunteers, and politicians—have supported GPC. We’re nature-rich because of it.
Parks and Preserves
Parks and preserves are our wonderful heritage. Have you seen chum scooting upstream at Chico Salmon Park or seals lounging at Manchester State Park? Have you watched swallows flit among trees at twilight as you walk on the Clear Creek Trail? Have you identified shell types at Point No Point or gazed across the Hood Canal at the Olympics from Kitsap Memorial State Park or the Guillemot Cove Preserve? And how about strolling among trees and bushes at Port Gamble Forest, North Kitsap Forest, Illahee Preserve, Newberry Hill, Tahuya, Banner Forest, Coulter Creek, and other parks. Here, it’s easy to do.
We have first-rate nature education. Washington State University–Extension’s powerhouse program has been enthusiastically led by talented women—Peg Tillery, Renee Johnson, Amy Linhart, and now Amy Smalley—all ably assisted by marine biologist Jeff Adams of Washington Sea Grant. WSU–Extension sponsors Beach Naturalists, Stream Stewards, Shore Stewards, Salmon Docents, Shore Friendly, and other education/conservation programs.
We’re fortunate in Kitsap to also have many individuals who are passionate and educated about nature and who share their knowledge of trees, berries, fish, and ferns.
That’s only a few of the those that conserve our nature and teach us about it; others are Stillwaters, Islandwood, Western Washington University (through its SEA Discovery Center), Olympic College’s Dept. of Environmental Studies, Salish Magazine (an online publication by John Williams of Suquamish), Suquamish and S’Klallam Tribes, many activist groups, and more.
Finally, thank you newspapers and reporters. Without reporting, nature can’t be conserved because advocates wouldn’t know of the threats and opportunities affecting it. Reporters do the gumshoe work of interviewing city officials, legislators, science experts, and residents. Reporters seek facts, outline pro and cons of issues, and give the history of a community. Christopher Dunagan is a gem: he reported for years for the Kitsap Sun about the science and issues of the Puget Sound. His mantle at the Sun has since been taken up by Nathan Pilling, Christian Vosler, and Jessie Darland.
We in Kitsap County treasure our nature, which we learn about, conserve, and enjoy. That engagement is paying huge dividends during this COVID-19 time, for we have many places to safely explore—and much for which to be thankful.