Langley climate change forum set for Friday

The city of Langley will be discussing a hot topic on Friday night. Interested citizens are invited to attend an event addressing climate change.

The event, titled “Climate Change Conversations,” is the brainchild of city officials and South Whidbey High School students. It will include presentations from 10 local panelists and a Q-and-A period, an opportunity to have those most burning questions answered.

Climate Change Conversations is part of an initiative to increase climate change consciousness on Whidbey Island by Earth Day 2020.

“If this is a success, we will reconvene around the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and do a second session,” Langley council member and event organizer Peter Morton said.

For an hour before the official program starts, attendees can view exhibits when doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The event has a youth focus. At the beginning of the program, students Annie Philp and Maggie Nattress will welcome attendees. As sophomores, Philp and Nattress have been involved with environmental issues and political activism.

“The goal is to start the conversation for lowering the carbon footprint in our community,” Nattress said. “I think it’s important to have youth voices, because these problems are going to affect us and our future.”

“We know on Whidbey there are a lot of concerned citizens who want to take action,” Philp added. “I’m hoping that this event will help them find answers to what they can do in their own smaller communities.”

During a program intermission, event attendees are encouraged to engage with the panelists present. High school students from the Social Justice Club and the Aviation Club will accompany the panelists. A question period will follow.

And, of course, famed Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg will be present in the form of a video presentation. Special permission was requested from the U.N. to show her video.

“Everybody’s pitched in to make this event happen,” Morton said.

As of Nov. 8, 72 tickets have been sold. Tickets can be purchased online at wicaonline.org or at the event, which happens on Nov. 15 from 7:30-9:45 p.m. at the Michael Nutt Mainstage at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. Students can attend for free.

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