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Real Life Super-Heroes: Master Climate Protectors Being Trained By SOCAN in 2017

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Arctic ice is melting at rapid rates, polar vortexes are chilling regions as far south as Texas, articles on the degradation of the environment are being published left and right. It can feel daunting to know exactly what to do to face the coming crisis, let alone stop it. Climate superheroes are needed, and fast.

Luckily, Alan Journet and Kathy Conway, the co-facilitators of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN) are creating a program to train Master Climate Protectors.

SOCAN is a local non-profit focused on climate change that is all volunteer based. The group formed in late 2012, and now is includes almost 1000 Southern Oregon residents, all focused on global warming, climate change, and emissions. Their mission is “to promote awareness and understanding about the causes and consequences of climate change, to develop solutions, and to motivate concerned citizens to take individual and collective action.”

SOCAN’s goal is to work with individuals and agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To do this, they create and facilitate projects such as “It’s A Rogue Thing: Bringing Climate Concerns Home,” creating presentations and courses for adults and youth alike. In addition, the SOCAN Writing Corps, with some 50 local writers, keeps SOCAN and climate concerns in the media.

“We moved here from Southeast Missouri where we had started small group there focused on climate change, explains Conway. “When we moved to Ashland, we expected we’d join a group and work with them, and we were surprised that though there were some wonderful environmental groups and activists, there were no groups solely focused on climate change, so we started the group ourselves.”

SOCAN’s newest program seeks to super-charge their reach. Journet notes, “The Master Climate Protector program is one we have been thinking about almost since we’ve started SOCAN. It’s modeled on the Jackson County Master Gardener and Master Recycler projects.” According the SOCAN website, it will have education, training, and service components over the 10 week set of classes.

This first set of classes is part of a pilot in hopes to get feedback from participants to improve the process before a full public launch in September 2017. Sessions for the interactive pilot are free and run three hours over the 10 week course. (To be considered for the pilot program in Master Climate Protection, please email louise@socan.info.)

While there are a few Climate Protector programs in the U.S., such as the San Francisco Bay Area Climate Projection Program and the Climate Protection Action Committee in Cambridge, Mass., the model is found in Canada more frequently. Our northern neighbors have online courses, such as the Planet Protector Academy and the Canadian Government has a Partners For Climate Protection network through the country. Many of these models are less of a personal training effort, and more of a city or county wide initiative.

SOCAN’s pilot will be novel. This 10 week program will cover information on climate, energy, agriculture, water and more. The Climate Protectors will then serve as trained volunteers and work to “teach and tell,” bringing news and information about climate change science and offering ways to get involved.

SOCAN’s work has already had an impact on our region, with programs like “Climate In The Classroom” which is a high school and middle school based program that has an explicit focus on understand climate science. Co-Facilitator Conway notes that it is important to lead with positive change and take into context where youth might be when you approach climate change in the classroom.
Monthly SOCAN meetings are the last Tuesday of the month at the Medford Public Library 205 S. Central Medford, Oregon. For more information on those meetings please email info@socan.info.

 

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