Major environmental legislation like the Clean Air and Endangered Species Act followed the first earth day celebration in April of 1970. Whitefish resident Steve Thompson is hoping the growth of local efforts across the country will again have a similar effect, this time in relation to climate change.
Thompson is a member of Glacier Climate Action, a local group of people who came together out of a common concern about climate change. He said similar groups have sprung up across the nation and the state. On Saturday there are at least 13 communities across Montana rallying to support climate solutions. Thompson said Montana is in a unique position to be part of the problem, and part of the solution.
“You know, the first rule, when you find yourself in a deep hole, is to stop digging. Well, we need to stop digging coal and exporting it to China. So that’s one side of the equation, the other side of the equation is the huge opportunity for energy production and local solutions,” Thompson said.
Saturday’s event will have a focus on what is happening in Montana with alternative energy development and the potential for other solutions to climate change problems. There are events scheduled from 12 to 2 across the state; Bigfork, Billings, Bozeman, Columbia Falls, Great Falls, Hamilton, Helena, Kalispell, Lame Deer, Missoula, Pablo, Red Lodge, and Whitefish are all hosting rallies and events. On Saturday night at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish is hosting a capstone event for the Flathead area. It features science, music and art.
“Some people are very scientifically oriented, they’re left-brained. They want facts and figures, they grasp the science of what’s going on. Other people are more kinetic learners, or they are more right-brained, so to speak. And so, music is how they interpret and relate to the world,” Thompson said.
Thompson said like the first Earth Day in 1970, they hope these local efforts can spur legislative action. The Whitefish event, “Stories from the Mountain, Songs from the Soul” starts at 7:30 and costs $5 at the door.