Governments gather for climate agreements in Spain, 2019 State of the Sound calls for action here at home
The UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, is meeting this December in Madrid, Spain. The twenty-fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties states a desire to stimulate ambitious goals for addressing an issue of collective action, the growing and evolving global climate crisis.
For those paying attention to both the global efforts to address the climate crisis and our regional efforts to recover and protect Puget Sound, you may see similar language: “bold actions,” “working together,” and “shared goals.” While those phrases are inspiring, the outlook for both the global efforts and our regional efforts can seem daunting and the hurdles insurmountable, dynamic, and growing.
In the face of these challenges, it can be helpful to ask what we can do to maintain our optimism and commitment to advance forward in spite of slower-than-desired progress. It is important to make clear calls for action, to heed the wisdom of those most familiar with their home environments, and to listen to younger generations who will be saddled with even greater challenges in the face of continued change and uncertainty. We must also look at the progress we have made and use those small victories as the foundation to build upon as we continue to collaboratively shape the future of the Puget Sound, the greater Salish Sea ecosystems, and our shared home.
Just like the organizers of COP25 proclaiming that it is #TimeForAction, the Puget Sound Partnership’s 2019 State of the Sound serves as a specific Call to Action. More parallels are evident when we look to the national and global stage and see natural disasters amplified by human-driven pressures: wildfires and extended droughts in some areas, unseasonable blizzards and intensified hurricanes in others.
Here in the Puget Sound, we witness the tragic plight of the Southern Resident Orcas, as experienced through the poignant images of Tahlequah carrying the body of her dead calf for 17 days. The fate of these orcas seems uncertain in the face of increasing vessel traffic, persistent toxins, and overall lack of food — all driven by human actions on the landscape. Still, we must strengthen our resolve and choose to make the necessary commitments and take the necessary actions required to create the future we desire.
Puget Sound Partnership Executive Director Laura Blackmore closes her message in the 2019 State of the Sound with these words:
“We hold the future of Puget Sound in our hands. We can act now to protect this place we love, for our sake, for our children’s sake, and for the sake of all the creatures that depend upon it. Join us.”
Open up the State of the Sound to explore the three featured stories of hope, commitment, and determination of local communities coming together to advance recovery.
To learn more about the State of the Sound, the specific Call to Action for Puget Sound residents (if you live, work, play, vote, or just generally enjoy and appreciate the Puget Sound, YOU TOO have a role!), and an assessment of the current condition of the Puget Sound Ecosystem, visit www.stateofthesound.wa.gov.
Environmental Planner and Implementation Strategies Lead
Puget Sound Partnership