Lander Climate Action Network to Hold Summit on June 25
For the first time since the organization was founded in 2019, the Lander Climate Action Network is hosting a climate summit on June 25 in Lander to help spread awareness about the issue of climate change in Wyoming.
The summit will take place over the course of the day, with panels on how climate is impacting Yellowstone, what impact climate is having on Wyoming's indigenous community, and how to increase the use of electric cars in the state.
Ariel Greene, an organizing committee member for Lander CAN, said the issue of climate change is something affecting everyone in Wyoming in larger ways.
"Wherever you are in Wyoming, there's a sense that climate is changing and it's affecting a broad spectrum of people," Greene said. "From ranchers to farmers to people who like to fish, to affecting forest health, increasing the number of hot days, reducing the days of the snowy season, increasing forest fires and air pollution. And so, there's increasingly tangible effects. I think different communities will rise to a consensus that action will need to be taken, and that will happen at different times."
While they don't know for sure how many people will show up, Greene expects there to be a few hundred people in attendance and hopes to host this summit again in the future.
Greene said that due to a large amount of mineral extraction in Wyoming, there isn't much political incentive to address climate change.
"Wyoming is in a very particular situation because its economy is more dependent on carbon-intensive industries or historically has been, than any other state," Greene said. "It's not just that it's jobs, it's that our state revenues are disproportionally dependent on these extraction industries that are carbon-intensive. And so, there's very little incentive at the political level for Wyoming to move away. And it takes really forward-thinking and long-term thinking to understand why we need to do it. That said, Wyoming is also disproportionally poised to adapt to a new low carbon economy, a new low carbon landscape, that the whole world is moving towards because we have an unusually abundant supply of solar resources and wind resources."
Greene said they believe it's important for them not to advocate for specific politicians, but rather to remind elected representatives and the community how important climate change is.
"We're not promoting political solutions, and we're certainly not advocating for a particular politician," Greene said. "We're very much working at a more fundamental level, getting a conversation going and getting people together, talking about the kind of solutions that exist, and creating an understanding of what the problem is over the long term, how fast it's coming, how intense is it going to be...Even politicians who might say that they're very concerned about climate change, or would say they'd be in support of pro-climate policies, they frequently forget that it's a priority if they're not reminded by their constituents, or their constituents don't feel themselves that it's a priority. So we think the thing to do is to create understanding among for the general population and if the understanding is there, that will naturally lead to different approaches in policy."