Inspiration for Climate Action in the South Sound

Thanks to Ellen Zito, a 2017 Nisqually Stream Steward, for writing today’s guest post!

What better way to start a rainy Saturday than to listen to an engaging keynote speech from a 17-year-old who is suing the government for not taking action on climate change?!

On Saturday, April 14th I spent the day volunteering and tabling as a Nisqually Stream Stewards representative at the 3rd Annual South Sound Climate Action Convention. The day was packed with inspiring speakers, interesting workshops, good food, great networking opportunities and fun tunes sung by the Raging Grannies! I spoke with many potential volunteers passionate about the local ecosystem and learned about many other environmental groups in the Olympia-Lacey area.

After being thoroughly impressed by the keynote speaker Aji Piper (one of 21 youth suing the US in a federal climate change related lawsuit, Juliana v. United States), I chose to attend his Engaging Youth workshop, which explored keys to intergenerational communication, action and impact. The workshop provided a fresh perspective on how to lead with listening and asked participants to share examples of a time they used creativity to elicit change. I was inspired by the stories and by the willingness of older generations to look to youth for leadership and new ideas! For more info on the lawsuit, check out:

Another inspiring experience was attending the Backbone Campaign workshop Solutionary Rail: A Climate Crisis Solution to Electrify America’s Railroads, and Usher in a Clean Energy Future, led by Bill Moyers, which opened my mind to the possibilities of moving freight traffic off of highways and onto specialized electric rail infrastructure, as is done in many other countries across the world. You can watch a video and find a whole book devoted to the concept at:

For the last workshop I chose Carrie Ziegler’s Collaborative Art as a Catalyst for (Climate) Action. Carrie explained her methods and some of her past projects and then gave us all an opportunity to create! We designed and cut out stencils that she will use for her current project addressing food waste. This exciting work will be located at the new Lacey Food Bank. To read more about this check out:

The 3rd Annual South Sound Climate Action Convention was a great day spent volunteering as a Nisqually Stream Steward, meeting and discussing action steps with like-minded folks who want to move the needle on climate change. Keep an eye out for this exciting opportunity next spring and get involved!

Nisqually Stream Stewards are community members who participate in summer classes and workshops to learn about conservation, native ecosystems, and watershed management in the Nisqually River basin. Stream Stewards volunteer throughout the year with a wide variety of community events and organizations. To learn more or sign up for the 2018 Stream Stewards program, email