Panelists, from left, Kamna Shastri, Eve Andrews, Heidi Roop, Evan Bush.

What are the most pressing climate-crisis-related issues facing the Pacific Northwest?

That was the kickoff question at the “Communicating Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest” discussion hosted May 20 by the CCCE.

Panelists included  Eve Andrews, associate editor at Grist and the author the magazine’s ‘Ask Umbra‘ environmental advice column; Evan Bush, reporter at the Seattle Times; Heidi Roop, lead scientist for science communication at the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington; and Kamna Shastri, independent journalist and Seattle Globalist’s “Community Journalist of the Year.”

“The most pressing problem is the inaccessibility of our cities,” said Andrews. “They need to be reformed in a way that houses and transports people in better [more efficient] ways.”

“Water is the through-line on climate change; it connects everything,” said Bush. “You have too much when you don’t want it and too little when you do.”

“I think you have to look at who will be impacted the most [by the climate crisis],” said Shastri. “It’s communities of color and poor communities — and the impacts on those communities are going to increase as climate change takes hold… You have to involve those communities in coming up with solutions and putting them into practice.”

Panel moderator Adrienne Russell, CCCE associate director and professor of  communications, has written about societal and professional structures that can impede efforts to move publics to work for change. She asked the panelists to talk about the challenges they face in communicating to the public on climate change and how they would address those challenges if they could.

The main challenge is to secure greater resources, they all said. They would use increased funding to hire more reporters to do a greater number and variety of more-deeply reported stories on a wider number of topics in a larger number of communities around the region and across the country.

The panelists said they’re inspired by the fact that they’re all seeing a spike in public interest in news and information about the climate crisis.

Watch this space for a video link to the event.