WEST SOUND CONSERVATION COUNCIL’S HISTORY:PEOPLE ENGAGED FOR THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE WEST SOUND OF THE SALISH SEA
5 April 2021
The environmental advocacy group West Sound Conservation Council (WSCC) is closing its metaphorical doors this year because many of its members have moved on to other projects or entered other phases of life. They are passing the torch of habitat preservation and environmental protection to a new generation of Kitsap Peninsula citizens.
West Sound Conservation Council (now disbanded as a formal organization) was one of the founders of the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition, the group that brought the now-conserved Port Gamble Heritage Forest into being. The Coalition expanded far beyond WSCC’s early involvement to become the decade-long, multi-group, many-volunteers organization that—under Great Peninsula Conservancy’s leadership—advertised, recruited, negotiated, compromised, innovated, dedicated, and more, eventually raising millions of dollars to purchase thousands of acres of forever forest: the Heritage Forests in Port Gamble and North Kitsap.
The following is a 14 Mar. 2021 email notice from Don Willott, a member of the steering committee for the Master Plan of the Park. He asked that this information be shared with others who might like to participate:
“Help develop the excellent plan our community deserves. Please share with others who might like to participate.”
Pediatrician and Kitsap Sun columnist Niran-Al-Agba, MD, writes a clear and useful column about health issues. This 7 March article talks of the importance of local news and of how having local newspapers available to us, with their reporters out in the community, affects our health.
As her article states:
“the greatest value of local news is to inform and empower citizens”
“without local news, citizens don’t have access to the information to hold government officials accountable, to hold other institutions accountable, and to be active, engaged citizens”
“research shows people lacking local news coverage will be less likely to express opinions about Congressional candidates—and therefore, less likely to vote”
She adds: “As newsrooms shrink, fewer reporters are subject matter experts on things like the environment, government, or healthcare.”
Quality matters, and professional newsrooms–with their editors and standards–help separate the true from the false, and they dig into the details. Newspapers enable discussion of competing interests and their reporters interview experts about issues of consequence. As Niran-Al-Agba comments, “In my opinion, the information you glean from your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is no substitute for quality, professional reporting.
Subscribing to local newspapers—print, online, or both—is an investment in accurate information’s availability, democracy’s strength, our community’s vibrancy, and, as Niran Al-Agba states—our health.
At a 19 Feb. 2021 webinar, American climate leaders from many spheres of influence announced the launching of America Is All In. They talked of the climate actions that have occurred at the subnational level (cities, states, towns) during the last four years, and they projected the climate actions that will occur, now reinforced by federal engagement and with America having rejoined the Paris Climate Accord.
WSU Kitsap Extension publishes an outstanding newsletter with monthly notices of conservation-related education programs, citizen science, and volunteer opportunities. To get on that newsletter, please contact Amy Smalley at email@example.com.
Per my blog posting yesterday (21 Feb. 2021), Washington State Attorney General Bill Ferguson (who I respect very much), says that Clean Cars 2030 (the bill mandating that all new cars in Washington from 2030 onward be electric) would not survive a court challenge. A counter argument is that we now live in a new world where climate change and mass extinction are proceeding relentlessly and that we need to (and in fact scientists are screaming at us to do so) think boldly and dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. As the Kitsap Sun opinion piece by Charlie Michel (referenced below) says: now is the time for electric vehicles, and we now have the technology to covert from gas cars to electric cars.
Given the relentless climb of parts per million CO2, with all the terrible consequences that entails, we can’t afford not to switch.
— Charlie Michel, “Changing the status quo on what we drive,” Kitsap Sun, 19 Feb. 2021, Web, Changing the status quo on what we drive; “Transition time for electric vehicles,” Kitsap Sun, 21 Feb. 2021, Print, 2C.
Michel says that–despite what the naysayers say–the time to switch from gas vehicles to electric vehicles has come. As a retired petroleum engineer, he’s witnessed first-hand how dirty petroleum is, from getting it out of the ground to using it in our cars. He points out that we did not have electric cars to replace gas cars in the past, but technology has advanced, and now we do. For the climate, the environment, and for species, we must switch—and now we can. He observes that the two drags to us doing what needs to be done is the inertia of us choosing to do what’s always been done—which is to use gas cars–and secondly, the resistance by the fossil fuel industry, which wants to delay losing its very profitable business.
Just at the tobacco industry was able to delay by thirty years general acceptance by the public that smoking causes cancer (so as to prolong that industry’s profits), so too does the fossil-fuel industry strive to delay our conversion away from fossil fuels.