Mission Nonprofit Spotlight: Thurston Climate Action Team

Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Robert Kam sat down with Melinda Hughes, executive director, and Lynn Fitz-Hugh, community engagement director, for Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) to talk about the organization’s important work.

Thurston Climate Action Team’s Mission is to bring “our community together to reduce climate disruption–resulting in a healthy, just and prosperous future for all.”

The nonprofit has three goals: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to the climate crisis; minimize the increasing costs of energy and transportation and consumer goods for Thurston County residents; and educate Thurston County residents on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Climate change is a huge problem and a lot of people think of what they can do in their own backyard, but climate change doesn’t have boundaries,” shares Melinda. “It actually affects everybody, everywhere.” She goes on to share that things you buy at the grocery store, like your cocoa or vegetables, are affected by climate change. Your grocery bills have already gone up due to climate change…and will probably keep rising. Wildfires are becoming more and more frequent, also due in part to climate change.

Your health is also affected. “Allergies are more prevalent, respiratory issues are more prevalent, which you don’t hear a lot about, but it’s obviously happening,” she adds.

While you can do little things in your backyard, like grow your own vegetables so they don’t have to travel so far, or water conservation, TCAT wants you to think bigger. Melinda says you should look at what you buy and where you buy it, as corporations play a big part in our climate change. “Letting your local government leaders know you are worried about climate change is the number one thing you can do right now,” she adds.

TCAT works locally with local government to decrease our harm when it comes to climate change. Putting in electrical vehicle charging stations, reducing waste, resilient agriculture and promote greener living with policies to reduce greenhouse gasses, are some of the things they work on with local governments.

Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan

The Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan is a local plan similar to the Paris Climate Accord. Thurston County, along with the cites of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, are working together on reducing the greenhouse gases in the region. “There are over 70 different actions in that plan that can be taken,” explains Melinda. Things like voting codes, transportation policies, greener living, etc.

“Being in the state capitol in Olympia in a state that actually cares about the world, we’re kind of a role model for the rest of the country right now, all eyes are on Thurston County,” she adds. The group meets monthly and the public can watch the meetings to learn how to get involved in the plan.

TCAT also has many action groups that people can join and get involved including a buildings action group, a transportation action group, a food actions group, a tree action group, an advocacy action group, an equity actions group and even a youth action group for young people!

Recently, TCAT put up a new mural at Olympic Way, between the round-abouts. The climate justice mural was a public project that TCAT is hoping will spark change from those who see it for years to come.

You can help the Thurston Climate Action Team further their mission through volunteering on an action group, doing your part to reduce greenhouse gases and be donating. For more information, watch the full video above and visit the Thurston Climate Action Team website.

You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thuston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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