Whidbey conference focuses on water, climate

Organizers of an upcoming conference dedicated exclusively to the topic of water hope that participants will come away more informed about where their water comes from, and what to do with it.

The city of Langley’s citizen-led Climate Crisis Action Committee is partnering with the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts to host a full day of speakers, exhibits and workshops. The event, which is titled “Whidbey’s Water Future in a Changing Climate,” runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 10.

The timely topic was suggested by Anne Tearse, a member of the Climate Crisis Action Committee and the coordinator for the conference.

“I suggested water is important to talk about, because we’re on a single source aquifer,” she said, adding that rain is South Whidbey’s only source of water.

Pamela SeaMonster, the vice chairperson of the Snohomish Tribal Council and a human and environmental rights activist, will provide a welcome at the beginning of the day and a reflection at the close.

Morning speakers include climate scientist Dr. Richard Gammon, permaculture consultant Brian Kerkvliet and Perry Lovelace, who serves on the city’s Public Works Advisory Commission. They will lay out the concerns about water on Whidbey.

Then in the afternoon, participants can choose three of six workshops to attend, which will focus on what actions can be taken.

“As stewards of our own land, what is it now that we can do to help alleviate this problem, to keep the water on the land, to prevent bluffs from sloughing, to replant the forests?” Tearse said. “My hope is that people would come away feeling energized and hopeful, but also understanding this is a serious problem.”

Conference attendees are encouraged to pack their own sack lunches. During a noon break, environmentally oriented organizations are going to have tables set up for viewing.

Other speakers of the day include Dr. Paul Belanger, Dr. Leah Beckett, Penny Livingston, John Lovie and Jake Stewart.

At the end of the day, all the speakers will be present for a full panel Q&A discussion.

Tickets to the conference are $20 each and can be purchased by visiting wicaonline.org.

The next day, on Sunday, June 11, a permaculturist will be leading a hands-on workshop for a limited number of people. For more information, email Tearse at atearse@gmail.com.