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Methow Valley sets aside political divisions to act as good stewards

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

From the outset, Task Force members concluded that immediate, local climate action is vital for future generations to enjoy the valley’s forests, rivers, and snow-covered mountains. Photo by Linda Pastor

  • Wildfires are devastating the 4th Congressional district

  • Carbon-neutrality is achievable

  • Historic federal and state funding is accelerating needed change

I had a chance to discuss the Methow Valley Climate Action Plan with Tom Jones. You can find it at

In 2019, overwhelming trauma from repeated wildfires and mounting concern over global climate trends compelled the Methow Valley Citizens Council to initiate a community-based planning process.

Photo by Stephen Mitchell

The Methow Valley Citizens Council began by organizing a task force of community leaders and stakeholders to lead the planning effort. The planning process was supported by subject matter experts and involved hundreds of diverse Methow Valley residents, including representatives from local governments, businesses, nonprofits, community members, and tribes.

Public workshops, consultations with tribal officials, and one-on-one engagements with Methow Valley residents led to better understanding of the impacts of climate change on the Valley, the community’s contribution to the problem, and recommended solutions. Task force members not only crafted a thoughtful and practical vision but also formulated actions and strategies to address climate impacts at the local level, resulting in the Methow Valley Climate Action Plan.

Figure from Methow Valley Climate Action Plan p. 30

A separate community initiative — Resilient Methow — provides leadership and supports climate action implementation, ensuring that the Climate Action Plan is implemented quickly for current and future generations.

Resilient Methow guides and coordinates the work of the Action Partners and community partners through the Climate Action Implementation Hub. The Hub also collaborates with tribes and regional entities, advocates, and ensures that actions equitably-prioritize the community members that are expected to experience the adverse impacts of climate change the most.

Photo by Stephen Mitchell

The Methow Valley Climate Action Plan is based on shared community values:

  • Human well-being for all members of the community, especially those most disadvantaged and affected by poverty, air pollution, socioeconomic disadvantage, and climate change

  • Sustainable livelihoods for all members of the community

  • A built environment that is affordable, sustainable, and reliable

  • Resilient and healthy natural systems

  • The well-being of future generations

  • Equity, which is defined in the plan as “providing added support to disadvantaged groups so everyone can experience the benefits from our adaptation and mitigation actions.”

Photo by Cathy Davis

The Climate Action Plan focuses on mitigating local climate emissions and enhancing Methow Valley’s resilience in five sectors — agriculture, health and emergency services, infrastructure, natural systems, and markets — by:

  • Efficiently using and conserving water. Reducing consumption and waste. Strengthening the conservation ethic. Promoting a sharing and reuse economy

  • Protecting existing areas of biodiversity and slowing habitat loss. Using natural systems to sequester of carbon through careful stewardship of natural resources, land use, and agriculture

  • Optimizing the built environment and infrastructure around energy conservation, efficiency, and distributed energy sources. Prioritizing equity-oriented solutions

  • Becoming a smoke-ready community. Adopting Firewise building and landscaping standards.

  • Improving emergency response and communication. Investing in comprehensive transportation solutions. Advancing universal, affordable broadband and electricity infrastructure

  • Establishing a thriving, place-based economy that prioritizes equity. Enabling affordable, low-carbon housing that incorporates modern construction technologies. Diversifying the local economy.

  • Nurturing a thriving future for agriculture. Improving the financial stability of farms. Expanding and increasing opportunities for carbon storage on agricultural lands

  • Reducing carbon emissions from wildfires and transportation to achieve carbon neutrality. Electrifying vehicles and reducing miles traveled by increasing public transport, rideshare, biking, and walking

Photo by Patricia Leigh

What the Methow Valley citizens have accomplished by working together, regardless of political affiliation, is a lesson for us all. Let’s take their lead and make every community in the 4th District a better place to live.

If climate and energy are important to you, please support our campaign with a donation, join us for a conversation about these topics, and vote!

Photo by Patricia Leigh

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1 Comment

Patricia Leigh
Patricia Leigh
Jan 14, 2022

Thank you Doug for working to protect North Central Washington!

Pat Leigh, Winthrop

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