Get on Board for the Climate: Now What, Humboldt?

Martha Walden, 11th Hour

A Climate Crisis Protestor. Photo: Markus Spiske, Creative Commons

It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that Terra-Gen unwittingly triggered a civil

war here in Humboldt county. Its bid to install wind turbines on two of our ridges pitted good people who care about the environment against good people who care about the environment. Strike a blow against the future ravages of global climate change or fight to protect precious cultural and biological diversity today?

Whether or not showing Terra-Gen to the door was a decisive victory for the environment is difficult to say. It’s easier to identify what was sacrificed. Community solidarity. Too much rancor marred dialogue and intimidated people who tried to speak in favor of the project. Unfortunately, that’s often the case when human passions run high.

However, there were also positive developments. The Wiyot tribe effectively defended its historically sacred land on Bear River Ridge, and many people in the community backed them up. Many of the projects’ opponents expressed their readiness to tackle the problem of climate change. If they will follow through and join forces with the project’s advocates, we can heal our differences in a productive way.

That’s why I’m writing this column–to encourage everyone to come together in a new wave of climate activism. I recently met with a small group of people to discuss how to get the ball rolling. We want to give it a good kick out into the community where as many people as possible can get involved.

Humboldt county staff is currently working on its Climate Action Plan, so this is a particularly good time to give them the benefit of our feedback and inspiration. We already know that the CAP won’t go nearly far enough to combat emissions, so one possible project would be to write our own Climate Action Plan to show what we want. We also talked about writing climate emergency resolutions to pass at city and county level.

Organizing Fire Drill Fridays is something we can do that doesn’t require cooperation from the government. Far from it! Direct action is an essential part of demanding change. Not only celebrities need apply.

Our biggest brainchild is to recruit you to help us organize and come up with plans for action. For that purpose we plan a series of Climate Road Shows from Rio Dell to McKinleyville to tap into maximum community energy. Boring lectures will be avoided. Instead we plan to use a hands-on exercise to identify the biggest emitters and the measured effect of different solutions. Afterwards we’ll organize ourselves into working groups.

Anyone with ideas, expertise, and energy is invited to join in this campaign! We want to see people of all ages and from all walks of life. You can email me at for more information. Discover and shape what your contribution will be. Every single one of us can be part of the solution.