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To the Editor:

When the presentation "Anomaly or the New Normal?" by Barry Brunson and Jim Briggs — both Kittitas Audubon board members — began I was really anticipating the ending. ... In that it was promised in the program description some "good news." Good news regarding climate change? I was hooked.

Descriptions of extreme weather events, reduced precipitation, and upticks in degrees Fahrenheit — which are all symptoms of climate change — were delivered. I learned the fascinating story of the Gray Jay, a typically Canadian bird of Spruce forests, which caches its food sources in the summer months, using the deep freeze of winter to "store" this food. A successful strategy in the past is now being challenged as winter can have sudden warming events, thus "unplugging" the freezer and spoiling the food for these resourceful birds. Scientists have studied the Gray Jay and determined that this scenario is, in fact, happening.

Finally it was time for what I'd been waiting for: the good news. Renewable energy costs have plummeted. Developing countries are "leapfrogging" coal and natural gas for power plants and directly moving toward installing renewable energy instead.

The presentation quoted Steven Hawking on persistence: "However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up."

I left the event completely inspired and energized. What can I do? If I'm a natural gas customer, I can consider switching to an electric heat pump for home heating and use hydro power locally which is emissions free, unlike natural gas which emits half the CO2 as burning coal. I can purchase solar energy credits from the solar farm locally, and if I'm a Puget Sound Energy customer I can select 100 percent green power. If I can't afford those options right now, I can install one LED light bulb each month in my home or apartment and walk, ride my bike to work or school, or carpool one day a week.

I can join local organizations like Our Environment, Kittitas Audubon or the newly formed Kittitas Environmental Coalition, that have monthly programs and meetings where I can learn and lend my voice for policy change locally. Joining these groups and attending their programs and meetings offer solutions, community, and inspiration which truly costs nothing.

What will you do?

Meghan Anderson



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