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Tackling the Climate Challenge

litr.logoSave Our wild Salmon Coalition’s climate program in 2013

Salmon, the light in our rivers, are also a beacon to help lead us through climate change.  What these adaptive masters need most to make it through climate change is connectivity – diversely linked and scaled chains of habitats.  Connectivities – ecological, social, institutional – are also what people need both to stabilize climate change and to weather it.  Salmon can show us such ways if we let them survive to do so.
Our program seeks both to stem climate change, and help salmon, waters and people weather its effects.  We must meet these challenges in tandem; with recognition that climate change dissolves boundaries between issues, laws, and people; and with urgency that is also yoked to the long haul.  Our program tackles immediate challenges, and sets foundations for the work of years that climate change in the Columbia and Snake Rivers will demand.
Our Light in the River program in 2013 is:
1.  In March, re-issue our 2010 Light in the River reports:  A Great Wave Rising, by Patty Glick and Jim Martin, which documents climate change’s effects on salmon and describes a science framework and actions to respond; and Bright Future, by the NW Energy Coalition, which shows the Northwest can meet its future electricity needs, electrify cars and trucks, wean itself from coal power, adjust hydropower to restore wild salmon, create jobs and keep electric bills low – all through expanded energy efficiency and new renewable energy.
2.  Highlight climate effects and seek climate action in each part of our salmon work.  This includes our participation in NOAA’s Columbia-Snake stakeholder talks, our work to finally secure a legal Columbia-Snake Biological Opinion for endangered salmon, our challenge to the Army Corps of Engineers’ fruitless dredging of the lower Snake, and our promotion and touring late this year with DamNation, the new film on American river restorations.
3.  Explore with Northwest leaders ways and means to create fruitful collaboration on how to weather climate disruptions for the Columbia-Snake and its users.  We are talking to leaders of NOAA Northwest, Bonneville Power Administration, and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council; Northwest governors, members of Congress, and Indian Tribes; and users of both rivers. 
4.  In July and August, when water temperatures are at their highest, elevate in Northwest media and to its leaders the threat of hot water to the Columbia and Snake.  Both are getting hotter, hot rivers are sick rivers, and the illness affects every river use and user.  We are partnering with other organizations on this public awareness project.
5.  Build public and political support for the Columbia Basin Tribal initiative to make “ecosystem function” a co-equal purpose (with power and flood control) in the Columbia River Treaty being re-negotiated by the U.S. and Canada.  The new treaty must put stemming and adapting to climate change at its core; the Tribes’ initiative is the way to do that.
6.  Help cut carbon emissions.  We have joined work led by others to keep the Northwest from becoming a coal export corridor, and the Lewis & Clark/Nez Perce Trail from becoming a transport corridor to the tar sands; and to support the Northwest wind industry against Bonneville Power’s unneeded curtailments.  We will keep partnering with NW Energy Coalition to expand the job-creating engines of Northwest energy: energy efficiency and renewable energy.  

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