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The challenge is on during Ashland's Climate Week

Starting Friday, Ashlanders will be given the opportunity during an event-packed Climate Week — which is actually 10 days long — to immerse themselves in the many ways they can shrink their own carbon footprint and persuade their political leaders to do the same.

Climate Week, sponsored by Geos Institute and Rogue Climate, will inundate Ashland with classes, films, speeches and games, concluding with the Ashland Climate Challenge on Sunday, Nov. 15. The challenge is just that, a challenge to individuals to cut power use by 10 percent in a month, use alternative (non-fossil fuel) transportation four times in a month and to speak up about clean, efficient energy and climate change with friends and neighbors. People who do those things will receive entries in a series of drawings for prizes.

The week offers a busy slate of events designed to get climate change off the back burner and, say organizers, to shift people out of the notion that it’s too big for one person to do anything about.

“City residents want to do something about it,” says city Councilor Rich Rosenthal. “Climate Week draws awareness to the public process through 2016 with concrete actions in early 2017 from the city — and actions that individuals can do to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Keynote speakers will detail how Eugene and Fort Collins have taken climate energy action and integrated it in their planning process, said Hannah Sohl, director of Rogue Climate.

“It’s a full week of climate events, a real exciting time, with our mayor committed to developing a clean energy plan,” says Sohl. “The kickoff is a big opportunity for our community to come together and learn what other communities have achieved. ... It’s important because we’re starting to see the impacts of climate change now and the city needs to start preparing for them.”

The climate action plan will be the first one written in this region, notes Rosenthal, and will be the result of its authors “witnessing and experiencing the effects of climate change."

"People want to know what cities are going to do about it," Rosenthal says. "Ashland has come up with a list of things and that’s part of the process, to gather information, consider facts and scientific evidence and put together an understandable, easy to comprehend plan. My hunch is it will incorporate the low-hanging fruit and frame issues that are more important now to our community.”

Here are some of the highlights from the schedule:

Friday, Nov. 6

4 p.m. — Rally against the Jordan Cove LNG project, Ashland Plaza.

4-7 p.m. — First Friday Art Walk and Rogue Climate Public Artwork. The monthly event includes community creation of a giant snowflake at the Lithia Park bandshell and a climate-oriented photo exhibition at Hanson Howard Gallery, 89 Oak St.

The climate change film "This Changes Everything" will show at the Varsity Theater, 166 E. Main St. from Nov. 6 through Nov. 12. Call 541-482-3321 for times.

Saturday, Nov. 7

4:30-6:30 p.m. — Rebekah Case of Grid Alternatives: "Solar for Social Justice," on implementing solar power and energy efficiency for low-income people, Ashland Food Co-op.

Sunday, Nov. 8

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Youth Climate Action Training, Scienceworks Museum, 1500 E. Main St.

5 to 9 p.m. — Wild and Scenic Film Festival, an environmental and adventure film festival, SOU Music Recital Hall, 450 S. Mountain Ave. 

Tuesday, Nov. 10

6-9 p.m. — The Southern Oregon Pachamama Alliance Community holds a symposium, “Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream," at Bellview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Road.

Wednesday, Nov. 11

7 p.m. — The film “Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret,” about the global impact of animal agriculture, Rogue River Room of SOU Stevenson Union.

Thursday, Nov. 11

Noon — Southern Oregon University leaders detail the university's commitment to climate neutral practices and planning for future climate action, 315 Stevenson Union.

Saturday, Nov. 14

7-9 p.m. — The Hearth and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival offer music, community and personal stories on the theme of "Rising to the Challenge," Thomas Theater, 15 S. Pioneer St.

Sunday, Nov. 15

Noon to 4 p.m. — Climate Change Kickoff features food, music, theater and prizes at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St. Among the events are:

  • Noon-12:30 p.m. — Lunch and short plays about climate change by OSF actors.
  • 12:30 p.m. — Scott Denning, an atmospheric scientist with Colorado State University, will speak on climate change as simple, serious and solvable.
  • 1 p.m. — Panel of community leaders from Eugene, Fort Collins, Colo., and Ashland will discuss city climate action efforts.
  • 1:50 p.m. — Explanation of the Ashland Climate Challenge and how individuals in the community can get involved and join in the challenge.
  • 2:15 p.m. — Small group discussions on clean energy solutions in the community. 

Event details are at www.ashlandclimatechallenge.org.

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.