Climate Conversations

Welcome to our Climate Conversations site where we keep the recordings, text chats, presentations and resources from from our climate conversations series where we discuss solutions to addressing the climate emergency.  You can find future conversations on Meetup here: https://www.meetup.com/SeattleClimateChange/.

If you have any questions related to these discussion please e-mail Scott Henson at scott.henson@outlook.com.

2021 Discussions:

November 7th: TED Countdown Discussion 2021

From the TED Global Countdown Site

On November 7th, we got together to discuss the content from this year’s TED Countdown series. Picking up from last year, we focused on topics we have not specifically discussed as a group. Topics included a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, the opportunity of geothermal energy, and how much clean/renewable energy we will actually need by 2050. Along with 22 other videos in the series, from an incredible array of speakers, 2021 was very thought provoking. Check out the entire video series here and all of the resources and ways to take action here.

Links to Resources: All Videos, Resources Shared, and Chat Log are Here.

October 24th: King County’s Strategic Climate Action Plan (SCAP) Featuring Robin Briggs From SeattleClimate.org

In this discussion, Robin led us through the actions King County is planning to take on climate change.  Robin Briggs facilitated a discussion on the new King County Climate Action Plan with an emphasis on the Plan’s greenhouse gas reduction policies. The talk covered the County’s reduction goals, emissions inventory results, and proposed policies for reducing greenhouse gases.

Robin Briggs is a retired software programmer, who co-founded the Climate Advocates Hub for Seattle-King County. The Hub is a coalition of district environmental caucuses and other climate action organizations focused on climate advocacy at a Seattle City and King County level. Robin manages the Hub website at https://www.seattleclimate.org.

Links From the Discussion:  Zoom recording, PDF of presentation, and curated chat and resources we discussed in our meeting. Original Meetup here.

October 11th: Antarctica: The Last Continent and its Role in Climate Change

Our discussion on October 11th was led by Dr. Ed Sobey who has expertise is in oceanography – particularly polar oceanography and ocean currents. For the university program Semester at Sea, he teaches oceanography, weather and climate, and environmental sciences. For our discussion we focused on what is happening in Antarctica and why it matters to us and the rest of the planet.

Links From the Discussion:  Zoom recording, presentation (PowerPoint, PDF), and curated chat and resources we discussed in our meeting. Original Meetup here.

September 26th: Putting a Price on Carbon: Accelerating Solutions to the Climate Crisis

In this discussion Jeff Thiel led a discussion where we learned about how the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 2307) can help us ensure a livable world for future generations. This topic is very timely – the Senate Finance Committee is considering including a price on carbon in the budget reconciliation bill that is being hammered out this month.

Link to HR 2307 is here:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2307/cosponsors

Links From the Discussion:  Zoom recording, presentation, and curated chat and resources we discussed in our meeting.

September 12th: Making Climate Change Education Mandatory for K-12

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

On September 12th, John Stafford (who also led a great discussion on our state’s legislative progress earlier this year) gave a presentation and led a discussion on the work he is helping to lead to make Climate Change a mandatory part of K-12 education in Washington state.  In the discussion John and the group discussed the movement afoot nationally and internationally to address this challenge — a movement for mandatory, interdisciplinary, K-12 climate change education in all schools.  New Jersey was the first state in the U.S. to institute such requirements, and Italy was the first country to pass such a bill. Islamabad, Pakistan has recently followed suit and efforts are underway elsewhere. We discussed the embryonic global movement for mandatory, interdisciplinary K-12 climate change education, and also discuss the dimensions of what a potential bill in Washington State might look like.

Links From the Discussion:  Zoom recording, presentation, and curated chat and resources we discussed in our meeting.

August 29th and 30th: Climate Solutions 101 #3: Putting it All Together and Making it Happen

This is the third and final of our discussions on the Climate Solutions 101 program.  These discussions dived more deeply into putting the Drawdown solutions into action looking at the whole system while we do it.   Similar to the second series we repeated the discussion twice to allow more people to participate in the discussions based on the flexibility of their schedule.  Both recordings and combined resources are below.

Links from the Discussion:  Zoom Recordings from Sunday and MondayTranscript and Resources for Unit 5 (Putting it All Together) and Unit 6 (Making it Happen).

August 22nd and 23rd: Climate Solutions 101 #2: Reducing Sources, Supporting Sinks, Improving Society

Picking up from our June 27th discussion (posted below), these discussions dived more deeply into the sources, sinks and societal solutions that can reverse global warming. Earlier this year, the Project Drawdown team released an excellent educational series focused on the solutions to the climate emergency. There are some amazing information in these discussions (which can also be overwhelming with the amount of information) so please check out transcripts and resources below for where you might start your climate journey (and invite others in as well).

Links from the Discussion: Zoom Recording, Transcript and Resources for Unit 3 (Reducing Sources), Transcript and Resources for Unit 4 (Supporting Sinks and Improving Society)

August 8th: Combating Climate Change by Reducing Waste Featuring Heather Trim

Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash

On August 8th, Executive Director of Zero Waste Washington, Heather Trim led a compelling discussion on the role of waste in our local community and how waste is critically tied to climate change.   During the discussion, we found out about the valuable work of Zero Waste Washington and partners. Specifically, how they have been working to support major legislative efforts to revamp our recycling system and reduce plastic pollution in our local waters.  Also increase our statewide infrastructure to divert organic material out of the landfill and into beneficial uses via compost and anaerobic digestion. Excess food should be going to feeding hungry people not disposal. Another key initiative is “Right to Repair.”  which creates jobs, empowers communities to have more durable access to technology.

For a summary of all legislative work from Zero Waste Washington please visit their web site or check out the curated chat with many more resources from our discussion.

Links from the Discussion: Zoom recording, PDF of Presentation,  and curated chat with resources.  Original Meetup here.

July 25th: Climate-Friendly Farming with Maddie Price

On July 25th, Maddie Price led us through a fantastic discussion on climate-friendly farming answering such questions such as: What does “climate-friendly farming” look like? Why don’t we see more climate-friendly farming across our food system (but do see it in high farmers’ market prices)? How is combating food waste, from field to fork, not as simple as just buying “ugly” veggies? What policies can reduce barriers to uptaking climate-friendly farming practices and different food recovery solutions? This talk will explored these questions and the connections across these topics, including what’s being done around these issues in Seattle and King County. The Drawdown solutions addressed will be: Conservation agriculture, Regenerative annual cropping, Perennial staple crops, Multistrata agroforestry, Managed grazing, Reduced food waste, Composting.

Links from the Discussion: Zoom recording, PDF of Presentation,  and curated chat with resources.  Original Meetup here.

July 11th: Youth to Power: In the words of Greta Thunberg

On July 11, Paul Litwin facilitated a great session focused on the activism of famous climate advocate Great Thunberg.

Back in 2018, the climate movement was searching for a leader and out of nowhere emerged a 15-year old girl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg. Greta started skipping classes on Fridays to sit outside the Swedish Parliament to protest her country’s inaction on climate change. Later that year, she spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit in Poland and since that time has given speeches to the EU, Davos, the UN, and the US Congress. In 2019, she was named Time Magazine Person of the Year.

Greta is famous for pulling no punches and calling out leaders’ lies, inaction, and intransigence. In this session we will watch several of Greta’s speeches and videos including Greta’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2020, her Earth Day message in April of 2021, and a few other gems. We can learn a lot from this amazing young woman.

See full agenda and resources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xdK4tRBCHCRKgrKulGCFn4EjEjxw9Yv3O2duRsgHbC4/edit?usp=sharing

Other Links from the Discussion: Here is the Zoom recording and curated chat with resources.  Original Meetup here.

June 27th: Climate Solutions 101

Earlier this year, the Project Drawdown team released an excellent educational series focused on the solutions to the climate emergency. In this discussion series, Scott Henson (co-founder of Drawdown Seattle and the Seattle Climate Change Meetup group), facilitatated a discussion on the first two of the six units discussing the solutions we have in hand today that can actually reverse global warming.

Links from the Discussion: All resources (Powerpoint, videos, etc.) from the discussion can be found on the Drawdown Seattle “Introduction” page here.  In addition, here are the Zoom recording and curated chat with resources.  Original Meetup here.

June 13: Let’s Talk Waste-to-Energy as a Climate Solution

Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

Following up from the March 28th presentation about waste, there were many questions about Waste-to-Energy (WTE) and the climate and environmental implications. This discussion with Philipp Schmidt-Pathmann was a dedicated follow-up discussion focused completely on WTE. This Q&A style session (with a 15-minute introductory overview) was structured so you can learn more about technology, functionality, integration, planning, and everything that you wanted to know about thermal treatment of waste.

Links from the Discussion: 15 minute overview video, Zoom recording, PDF of presentation, PowerPoint, and curated chat with questions and resources.  Original Meetup here.

Suggested Reading & Resources:

Waste-to-Energy on the Project Drawdown Web Site. In a sustainable world, waste would be reduced from the outset and composted, recycled, or reused. The current reality, however, is that cities and land-scarce countries face a dilemma about what to do with their trash. Waste-to-energy is a transitional strategy for a world that wastes too much and needs to reduce its emissions.

Scientific Truth About Waste-To-Energy(by Marco J. Castaldi. PH.D.) This study provides the most up-to-date information on WTE and the environment, and can serve as a comprehensive resource for policy makers and others interested in learning more about the quantifiable benefits of WTE.

Summary: Scientific Truth About Waste-To-Energy.If you don’t have time for the full report, this high level 2 page summary will give you the key points.

Summary Table of WTE Benefits.  Another great resource on the high level summary of WTE benefits.

The Zero Waste Utopia and the Role of Waste-to-Energy. From the opening paragraph: While there is no doubt that the prevention of municipal solid waste (MSW) generation should sit at the top of any public policy, industrial strategy and individual behavior, just like reducing the consumption of energy, this proposition might mislead the public into thinking that waste can suddenly disappear if only we had the will to make it happen. Zero Waste seems to be the only accept-able aim for today’s politicians who embrace an environmentally friendly platform. As a result, countries and municipalities all over the globe have committed themselves to achieving the goal of Zero Waste. So far, however, nobody has managed it, and given the many scientific and practical roadblocks, no one ever will.

May 23: Forest Health and Climate Change Featuring Joey Hulbert

We had a discussion with Joey Hulbert who is a Research Fellow at WSU about how community scientists are accelerating research to create shared understanding of tree health issues in the Pacific Northwest as part of the Forest Health Watch program.  Western redcedar is an important and iconic tree to PNW communities and information is urgently needed to sustain it for future generations. While there is a general consensus the dieback is linked to longer and hotter droughts, the relationship is complex and it is unclear which environmental parameters and site characteristics are most important for determining where trees are vulnerable. Anyone can participate and contribute to advance knowledge as community scientists. More information is available at https://foresthealth.org/

Links from the Discussion: Zoom recording, PDF of presentation, and curated chat with questions and resources.

May 9: Owning an Electric Vehicle

Our panel of owners talked about their experience of purchasing and owning an electric vehicle (EV)Watch to learn if it’s right for you.  We represented a variety of EV experience, including owners of the most common EVs, including a Tesla Model 3, a Chevy Bolt, a Nissan Leaf, and a BMW i3.  We also discussed the upcoming innovative solution from Tom Gurski, Founder of Bluedot Motorworks to retrofit existing cars and turn them into hybrid vehicles.

Links from the Discussion: Zoom recording, Powerpoint and  PDF of presentation, and curated chat with questions and resources.

April 25: Update on the 2021 Washington State Legislative Session With a Focus on Climate

John Stafford gave an informative and engaging talk on the last scheduled day of the 2021 WA State Legislative Session (April 25th).  John provided an update on what was accomplished, particularly as it relates to climate change. John will also speak about legislation requiring the teaching of climate change in grades K-12, a topic he is passionate about.

Links from the Discussion: Zoom recording, PDF of presentation, and curated chat with questions and resources.

You can also see David Robert’s summary here of why “Washington state now has the nation’s most ambitious climate policy”.  Governer Inslee’s summary of the legislative session here.

April 11: Biochar as a Climate Change Solution

Featured speaker, Jeff Thiel, presented a compelling case to answer these questions: What if we could sequester 10% of our current greenhouse gas emissions while improving the health of our soils, making farmers more profitable, and making our crops more resilient? That’s the potential of biochar. With recent innovations in gasification technology, we can turn agricultural and forestry waste into a valuable soil amendment at large scales.

Links from the Discussion: Zoom recording, PDF of presentation, and curated chat with questions and resources.

Original posting with full description on Meetup is here.

March 28: Is There an Answer to the Problems Waste Poses to Climate, Health & the Economy?

On March 28, featured speaker Philipp Schmidt-Pathmann helped us to gain an insight into the world of waste management with a focus on climate impact and the opportunities we have to significantly turn that around. He discussed  our regional and national roadblocks and how to overcome these based on examples from North America and Europe. Full Description at Meetup here.

Links from the Discussion: Zoom recording, Curated chat with questions and resources.

March 14: Earth-friendly Investing with Peter Krull of Earth Equity Advisors 

On March 14, Featured speaker, Peter Krull discussed Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing (SRI) also known as socially responsible investing. Peter also covered the history of the strategy, current trends, and why it’s important to align your investments with your values. Other topics included were fossil fuel free investing, investment performance and what to look for in a SRI investment. There is Q&A session at the end from the questions that were asked throughout.

Links from the Discussion: Zoom Recording, Curated Chat with Resources, Paul Litwin’s Opening Presentation, and Service Menu from Earth Equity Advisors on their Offering. Original posting with full description on Meetup is here.

February 28th: Tiny Native Foresting for Wildlife and Drawdown

Click image for the PDF of the presentation (more links below)

On February 28th, Jae Geller spoke about Tiny Native Forest Gardening for Wildlife and Drawdown. Jae Geller is the team lead for the National Wildlife Federation’s Redmond Community Wildlife Habitat Team, a local forest steward, and a member of the education teams for the Central Puget Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society and Eastside Audubon. Drawing from the Tiny Forest movement, Cascadia forest stewardship, sustainable gardening, wildlife biology, and a love of native plants, this presentation will give you the why and how to do your own tiny native forest gardening for wildlife and drawdown.

Links from our discussion: (Zoom recording, edited/curated text chat, PDF of presentation)

February 14th: Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal featuring Chris Meinig

Click image for the PDF of the presentation (more links below)

On February 14th 2021, our featured speaker Chris Meinig spoke about Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal (mCDR): a brief science background, challenges in developing monitoring technology and reasons he is optimistic. Chris addressed the ocean’s role in mCDR and give a brief introduction to a few promising methods (seaweed cultivation and chemical). He also discussed major challenges in ocean sensor development and why gaining social license is important. Chris Meinig, Director of Engineering at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/).

Links from our discussion: (Zoom recording, edited/curated text chat, PDF of presentation)

Additional resources: Visual Capitalist on Human Impact and the Ocean Economy

2020 Discussions:

July 26, 2020 – The Movement Voter Project and Food Waste (Watch Here)

Our discussion focused primarily on two topics: the Movement Voter Project (Rob Beem presenting)  and Food Waste (Maddie Price presenting).  Jim Little also did an introduction to set up why voting is so critical for the climate crisis this year.  Thank you Jim, Maddie, and Rob for your time and effort in leading these discussions!

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