Climate Dispatches: Climate Stripes for Earth Day
Earth Day, which is Friday, April 22, should be celebrated, yes, but it also should be a day to learn, ignite conversations, and collaborate with others on climate change. This is a time dedicated to restoration, preservation, brainstorming, and reflection for the year ahead on planet Earth. What can we do to help limit carbon emissions, recycle properly, be mindful of our consumption, or communicate the climate challenge that we are all facing?
For the second year in a row, Palisades Tahoe, the North Tahoe Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, local schools, the Mountain Forge, artist Sara L. Smith and graphic designer Darilyn Kotzenberg of DK Design Studio are taking on this challenge by collaborating on a “Climate Stripes” exhibit to be displayed at the Earth Day Festival at Palisades on April 23.
It all started with Lorenzo Worster, a middle school teacher at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School (SELS). He created a very special visual learning experience on climate change for his students. He felt that there wasn’t enough emphasis on climate change in both the chemistry and physics curriculums. Lorenzo was inspired by a photo he came across of a Spanish mural, which displays the yearly differences in average global temperature from the industrial revolution to the current day as vertical stripes. So he and his students produced a climate stripes mural out of wood strips and paint on an outside wall of their school.
A Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer, Janet Atkinson, saw the mural and approached Lorenzo and several schools about collaborating on a larger project involving climate stripes banners for Earth Day 2021. The successful 2021 exhibit at Palisades during Earth Week will reprise at the Earth Day Festival this year with more and updated banners and more schools participating.
Climate scientist Ed Hawkins at the University of Reading in England created the original climate stripes graphic. The stripes illustrate the global average temperature for every year since 1850, and each stripe is given a color. Blue stripes represent cool years and red stripes represent warm years, and together they show the progression of human caused global warming. Students from SELS, Alder Creek Middle School, Forest Charter School, Creekside Charter School and Tahoe Expedition Academy are researching data on the effects of climate change — such as wildlife extinction, rising sea levels, and wildfire, and superimposing the data on eight different climate stripes banners for the Earth Day Festival.
The Climate Stripes exhibit is meant to inspire conversations about our environmental past; the future will suffer if we do not act on climate now. The students hope that the Climate Stripes banners will inspire us to consider what better decisions we can make to be part of the change we wish to see. How can we leave a livable world to the young people who will suffer the worst effects of climate change if we do not act now?
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is an organization that has its roots in this question. It is a non-partisan, notprofit grassroots advocacy climate change organization that exists to create the political will for national climate solutions. It does this by enabling individual citizens to realize and exercise their personal and political power. It trains and supports volunteers in chapters across the country to build relationships with their members of Congress, other government officials, the media and local communities to create the political will for fair, effective and sustainable climate solutions. Its current focus is on adopting a national carbon fee and carbon cash back dividend proposal, a best-first-step climate policy that is supported broadly by climate scientists, economists, the business community, and citizens of all political stripes. Learn more at CitizensClimateLobby.org.
Climate change can seem like an insurmountable problem. What strikes you about people like Lorenzo Worster, the North Tahoe Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers, and the organizations, schools, and people behind the Climate Stripes exhibit is that they take action that is the antidote to despair over climate change. They know that we need to have conversations about climate, educate ourselves about the choices we can make to limit carbon emissions, and use our voices to be the change we wish to see. We all have work to do.
Jenna Beckingsale lives in Truckee and is a volunteer with the North Tahoe Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. You can find her skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer, and running every time in between. She is passionate about mountain preservation and thinking green
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