Transition Lopez Island Launches Fossil Free by ’33 Campaign

By Ande Finley of Transition Lopez Island.
 
Early in 2019, after the shocking IPCC Report came out identifying 2030 as the catastrophic tipping point for our planet, the Transition Lopez Island Steering Committee posed the question, "How quickly and how close can Lopez come to being fossil fuel free?" Though it was a daunting undertaking, the idea resonated around the table and immediately became our sole focus. We would have preferred more time to plan, but since the climate is clearly in crisis and getting worse, we stepped up and chose early November as our Launch date. After some deliberation, we arrived at a name that doubled as a slogan and Fossil Free by ‘33 started to take shape.
 
Over the next nine months, we identified three core areas to target: plastics and consumption; food, agriculture and water; and energy and transportation. The ten of us imagined, researched, brainstormed, held two sessions to collect input from our natural allies and finally got down to the business of organizing the activities and displays of our Launch Event weekend.
 
All this effort paid off the first weekend of November at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts when the Launch appeared to inspire and galvanize our community. In the true spirit of Transition, the perfect number of people attended every event and brought with them the full spectrum of questions and answers, passion, doubt, and commitment.
 
At the heart of the Launch event was the Walk of What If, a u-shaped promenade that showcased problems and solutions in our three fundamental areas, each one posing a central challenge. For the Plastics & Consumption corridor the overarching question was "How can our island be zero waste?" Food, Water & Agriculture responded to "How can Lopez feed itself?" Energy & Transportation queried "How can we power our island with 100% clean energy?"
 
Attendees were encouraged to calculate their Carbon Footprint, ride the Bicycle Generator powering lights and a blender, fill out an Eaters Digest Survey, add their creative spirit to a community painting entitled "The Future of the Future," and populate 3 year Dream Boards to suggest goals through 2033. 
 
"Climate Kids," a stimulating program for the over fives, ran concurrent with the adult events and included activities like making solar ovens, creating holiday items from repurposed material, and building beehives from clay, plus storytelling and nature walks. 
 
One impactful highlight of the weekend was the Friday night screening of Our Voice Our Future, 15 year old Matteus Rabel's powerful video commissioned by Transition for this event and reprised on Saturday night, preceding the Youth Forum. Working to ensure a livable future takes on deeper meaning for the youth of our islands and it was Transition's intent to feature their achievements and concerns as a centerpiece of the Launch. 
 
Through art, music, drama, and contemplative circles, panels and presentations to elicit common questions and concerns, and town hall conversations with elected decision-makers, Fossil Free by '33 engaged, challenged, and ignited the Lopez community and beyond. Fledgling Transition Initiatives are coalescing around this issue on both nearby Orcas and San Juan Islands.
 
But a launch is just a beginning. Transition Lopez Island will be taking an even deeper dive into the uncharted territory of doing all we can while we still can.  And it truly is going to take all of us working together – partner organizations, businesses, government and individuals, doubters and passionate allies, and everyone in between. 
 

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