Submitted by Transition Lopez Island
In 2019, after the shocking Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report identified 2030 as the catastrophic tipping point for our planet, the Transition Lopez Island Steering Committee posed the question, “How quickly and how close can Lopez come to being fossil fuel free?” After some deliberation, a name was chosen that doubled as a slogan and Fossil Free by ‘33 started to take shape.
TLI identified three core areas to target: plastics/consumerism; food/agriculture/water; and energy/transportation. The committee held sessions to collect input from natural community allies and began assembling the activities and displays of the launch weekend.
This effort paid off in November 2019 at the LCCA when the launch inspired and galvanized the community.
At its heart was the “Walk of What If,” a U-shaped promenade that showcased issues in those three critical areas, each one posing a game changing central question:
• Plastics/Consumerism; “How can our island be zero waste?”
• Food/Water/Agriculture; “How can Lopez feed itself?”
• Energy/Transportation; “How can we power our island with 100% clean energy?”
Attendees were encouraged to calculate their carbon footprint, ride a bicycle generator powering lights and a blender, add their creative spirit to a community painting entitled “The Future of the Future,” and populate three-year Dream Boards to suggest goals through 2033.
Highlights of the weekend included screenings of “Our Voice Our Future,” 15 year old Matteus Rabel’s powerful video commissioned by TLI for this event (video available on YouTube), followed on Saturday night by the Youth Forum. Working to ensure a livable future takes on deeper meaning for the youth of our islands and it was TLI’s intent to feature their achievements and concerns as a centerpiece of the Launch.
Through art, music, drama, a Green Home Tour, thre themed panel discussions and presentations to elicit common questions and concerns plus a town hall conversation with elected decision-makers Jamie Stephens (County Council) and Brian Silverstein (OPALCO), Fossil Free by ‘33 engaged and challenged the Lopez community and beyond. Another exciting outcome of the event is that TLI Initiatives are coalescing around these issues on both Orcas and San Juan Islands.
But a launch is just a beginning. TLI is planning an event for World Water Day in March and an Earth Faire in April. Teams are continuing to meet to wrestle with issues in progress, work on setting goals for the coming year, and to consider on which scale it makes sense to start – island, county and/or state.
Ag/Food/Water, in conjunction with Washington State University Extension Service, ARC, Ag Guild, and Orcas Community Co-op, is creating an Eater’s Survey to determine how best to work towards a sustainable local food system. Food sovereignty issues will also be explored to allow local farmers to sell their products directly.
The former islands-wide Energy Roundtable has been incorporated into the Energy Team to collaborate with OPALCO to increase options for community and individual solar and to research possibilities for funding public electric shuttles.
The plastics focus group will be exploring with local grocery stores what it would take to convert to zero waste markets in which items normally packaged in plastic would be available in bulk scoopable/pourable portions.
Choose your area of interest and contact the steering committee to join one of these teams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With most of these programs, all of us will have to be willing to change our habits and take collective action – sometimes radically – for the sake of leaving a livable future as our legacy. Not down the road, but now. It’s going to take all of us working together – partner organizations; businesses; government and individuals; doubters and passionate allies; and everyone in between.