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Climate column: Introductions from the Sonoma Ecology Center

Index-Tribune’s new monthly feature spotlights issues around climate change, the environment and the Sonoma Ecology Center.|

A friend in Sonoma noted that last year, when the actor William Shatner, who as Captain Kirk stood in for millions of would-be space travelers exploring strange new worlds, actually made it into space at the age of 90, his view of the cosmos changed profoundly. He wept when he stepped out of the spacecraft after returning to earth. The darkness of space wasn’t what captured his imagination. Instead, like many astronauts seeing earth from space, he was intensely moved by the beauty and fragility of the planet and its thin blue atmosphere.

That thin blue atmosphere is essential to billions of human lives and dreams. And despite our gifts, we are altering it in ways that make life on Earth less secure every time we drive, turn on a faucet, prepare a meal and take countless other daily actions.

This column is the start of a series that intends, with a nod to Mr. Shatner, to explore new worlds–in this case as a metaphor for ideas and actions that could help us shift course toward a life-supporting climate for ourselves and generations after us on our home planet.

The monthly series will investigate the climate-affecting emissions we’re generating locally. It will uncover the consequences of climate change on our local water, landscapes and things that depend on them, and on food, disease, fire risk, and more. It will show how the impacts of climate change are felt differently depending on one’s social and economic conditions.

Most importantly, though, we’ll look at things we can do, as individuals and together at different scales, to meet this climate-uncertain future with more tools and fewer negative impacts. There are innovations happening in our community and region that bring some optimism to this often dour topic, and there are innovators behind them with interesting ideas to share.

At Sonoma Ecology Center, we live these issues daily, and we look forward to sharing a range of voices from our staff, board, and partners. As we move through the months, we also look forward to your ideas on topics and solutions.

Our world is changing swiftly and the pace of change will only be accelerating. How well we adapt depends on how “boldly” we go into this future, and even more, it will reflect how well we learn to “boldly go” together. There are few places on earth where the potential is as great to take climate action as our own region and community. Let’s see what we can do!

Richard Dale is the executive director of the Sonoma Ecology Center.

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