Get On Board for the Climate: Humboldt Climate Challenge

Martha Walden

Get on board for the climate

Here comes climate change like a monster truck barreling down on Earth. Time to stop standing in the headlights and arguing about who is supposed to do something! To stop this catastrophe we must halve greenhouse gas emissions worldwide in the next ten years. This is a moonshot and beyond.  

After the Terra-Gen controversy bounced off Humboldt and left tattered environmentalists in its wake, several new groups of climate change activists have formed. I belong to the What Now Coalition, comprised of both opponents and advocates of the proposed wind farm project. What unites us is the urgent need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. So far, we have the participation and backing of 350 Humboldt, 11th Hour, MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán) and Humboldt Green Party.

We have scheduled Humboldt Climate Challenges throughout the county during the month of March to educate and recruit new people willing to put climate action at the top of their list. Coalition member Wendy Ring has devised a board game to help players identify the most effective strategies here in Humboldt County. We hope playing it will stimulate an informed discussion and inspire people to sign up for action groups networking throughout the county.

Our first goal is to influence the county to strengthen its Climate Action Plan (CAP). It has done a lot of work to gather information and formulate feasible programs and projects, but the target must be maximized. This would be no easy task, even if the forces of business-as-usual were not operating. We are a rural county, and we have to drive a lot to get anywhere. So predictably enough, emissions from transportation are very high. How can we make travel by bus and bicycle feasible for as many of us as possible? This is a huge issue for the CAP to address.

We who live in Humboldt naturally believe that our quality of life is distinctively better here than anywhere else. But like most other places, it too is built on a foundation of fossil fuels. The transition to a low emissions lifestyle is just as challenging here as anywhere else — maybe even more so because of our remoteness and the limit on how much electricity we can import. 

By the time you read this at least five Climate Challenges will have already taken place.  We may schedule more into April if we have sufficient support. Please help! Do you know of good places to meet and play our game? Can you help with publicity? Would you like to help staff an event? Let me know at