Langley considers steps to confront climate change

Climate change continues to be a hot topic in Langley.

The Climate Change Conversations forum held on Nov. 15 drew a sold-out crowd. About 300 people packed both the Mainstage and Zech Hall of Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

The effort continues. The organizers of the event met afterward to review the successes and decided to follow up with a second Climate Change Conversations event by Earth Day 2020, according to Peter Morton, organizer and Langley city council member.

Two South Whidbey students, Annie Philp and Maggie Nattress, helped guide the forum and are invited to continue the conversation about climate change.

“We feel it’s important to keep young people in a leadership role,” Morton said.

Climate scientist Richard Gammon, who also spoke at the event, believes the community of Whidbey Island to be beyond the first barrier of accepting the science of climate change.

As a next step, he encourages city officials and businesses to be accountable for addressing climate change in the form of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. He found some of the presentations during the event’s intermission to be lacking in this aspect.

“Utilities and public service providers really focused on the problem,” Gammon said. “I think the cities and the school districts need to be much sharper on reducing their emissions.”

He suggests these representatives come up with more concrete plans. But overall, Gammon was impressed by the support of the community.

“This is just a first conversation,” he said. “We want to be an example. I hope the rest of the state is looking at Whidbey Island as a leader.”