There are many things to be both worried and concerned about during this strange and uncharted time we are experiencing. However, there is a lot to be thankful for, too.
Homer and the South Peninsula in general have been considering community resiliency and climate adaptation for some time. This virus presents an opportunity and a wake up call to bolster our abilities to weather uncertain times. Take heart that we are not starting from scratch. When the threat of Coronavirus passes, we should all look for ways to make ourselves and our communities as vigorous and resilient as possible for future crises. And, mark my word, as climate disruption gets worse, there will be many more crises to come including more pathogens and other virulent agents.
What we are currently doing and ways for you to join or help:
There are three main ways we are currently working to help make Homer, the Kenai Peninsula, and the world in general a safer place: advocating for Jim Levine and other pro-renewable energy candidates on the Homer Electric Association’s (HEA) Board of Directors, building social and political will for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to adopt a Resiliency and Security Commission, and the Homer Drawdown series.
Pro-Renewable Energy Candidates
Fully one third of HEA’s overhead costs go toward paying for fuel – fuel that is subsidized by our financially wounded State. The Coronavirus should cause for us all to reflect on how unnecessarily venerable we are regarding our electricity generation. Wouldn’t it be nice if and when the next crisis comes knocking, we didn’t have to worry about our energy, because we produce it all from local, renewable sources? We can absolutely do that and save a bunch of money at the same time. Make sure you vote in the upcoming HEA BOD’s election and be sure to vote for Jim Levine and other pro-renewable energy candidates.
Kenai Peninsula Resiliency and Security Commission
Last fall, the Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) Assembly approved the adoption of a Climate Action Plan into the Comprehensive Plan. Now we need an official ordinance, the social and political will, and the establishment of the directing body that would orchestrate this new commission. Last summer’s fires, the extreme heat wave that warmed our salmon streams to the unimaginable mid-70 °F range, and the droughts should be more than enough to help us realize that climate change is on our doorstep. We need to get serious about mitigating global warming as well as learning how to respond to the changes that are already baked into this new World we all created. The KPB Resiliency and Security Commission would be tasked with exactly that. It needs you. Please visit kenaichange.org/security to learn more about this commission and then write, call and even nag our Borough Assembly to approve the ordinance. Please take a minute to fill out the form and submit your letter to the assembly by clicking HERE.
The book and ten-year research endeavor, Drawdown – The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming –, by Paul Hawkin, contains the top 100 most meaningful solutions to avert anthropogenic climate change. This winter, KBCS, AKCC and Cook Inletkeeper teamed up with others to establish a Homer Drawdown series. Our objective is to read through the 100 solutions and ultimately vote on one meaningful climate mitigation project and implement it. All but one of the solutions in Drawdown are called zero regrets solution, which is to say that these interventions aren’t just purely altruistic–they actually improve upon our current means and methods.
In the face of social isolation, we are still moving ahead with the Homer Drawdown meetings. However, we are now conducting our meetings on the virtual platform, Zoom. These meetings will occur every third Thursday of the month until we determine which project we plan to undertake. Please join us.
The Coronavirus has exposed a lot of our vulnerabilities, but it has also exposed our strengths. Our biggest assets are one another. Just like sunlight and water for a plant, community, friendships, and resiliency all are greatly improved when they are properly nourished. The three main projects on our agenda would all be greatly improved with your participation. However, these are not the only ways we can address the climate crisis or better prepare ourselves and our communities for the next catastrophe.
Mutual aid and direct action should become reflexive instincts for us all. When you see a neighbor struggling, know that you don’t need permission or an order from a superior to give them a hand.
I will close this post with a few lines of dialogue from Lord of the Rings between Frodo and Gandalf:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that isnot for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Alaskans Know Climate Change, Director