Slow climate change, one carbon footprint at a time

Remember "Think Globally, Act Locally"?

The Step It Up Fair to Slow Climate Change will offer ideas for doing just that on Sunday, April 15, at the Greenwood Library, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N., between 1 and 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Phin-ney-Greenwood Climate Change Action Now! (PGCCAN). Attendees will be encouraged to sign a pledge to reduce their carbon footprint, which is the amount of greenhouse gases each person produces.

The pledge offers 10 ways to lower carbon footprints, such as turning your computer off at night, eating less beef, lowering your thermostat by 2 degrees and reducing weekly car travel.

"These are little steps people can take," said PGCCAN co-founder Karen Schneider.


The fair will feature displays, door prizes, music and free compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Several organizations will have informational displays about climate change, including Phinney Ecovil-lage, Northwest Biodiesel and New Roots Organics. One group will have a machine that compares the energy use of light bulbs.

Local folk singer Gary Payne will lead children-oriented sing-alongs. Accordionist Ken Peterson and banjo player Ming Chen also will perform.

Door prizes will include gift certificates to local restaurants and coffeeshops, as well as books and free haircuts.

The Bubbleman also will make an appearance.


Schneider, Anne Engstrom and Cecile Andrews formed PGCCAN last May after receiving a $2,500 grant from the Department of Neighborhoods.

"Warm Hearts for a Cooler Planet" is its slogan, Schneider said, which they hope will encourage people to reduce their carbon output and become active in their community.

The group is affiliated with the Greenwood and Phinney Ridge community councils, Phinney Ecovillage and the Phinney Neighborhood Association.

Co-founder Engstrom said that building community will be essential in the future. "With climate change, we will need to depend on neighbors more," she said.

Things you can do to lessen your carbon footprint could be riding bikes more often and not using your dryer, Engstrom explained.

"Reducing your carbon footprint has a lot of advantages," she said, "like exercising, meeting the community, saving health and saving money. You gain a lot."

Schneider seconded Engstrom's opinion. "This is not about deprivation; it is about celebrating ourselves - that we are capable of making changes that are good for ourselves and the planet," she said.


PGCCAN is part of a nationwide grassroots climate-change organization called Step It Up. It is currently promoting a national day for climate-change activism on Saturday, April 14. More than 800 organizations from across the country will participate.

In Seattle, there will be a march at 2 p.m. from Pioneer Square to Myrtle Edwards Park, where a rally and climate-solutions fair will take place.

PGCCAN's forums take place at the St. John United Lutheran Church, 5515 Phinney Ave. N., at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. Recent forums have featured information on raising humane children, transportation choices and how the civil-rights movement relates to climate-change activism.

PGCCAN also will have a table at the Woodland Park Zoo on Earth Day, April 22, and at the Earth Care Fair on May 6, also at St. John church.

As for this Sunday, "We're hoping to get the neighborhood to come in, meet us, enjoy some food and music," Schneider said.

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