Leaders of the Idyllwild Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (from left) are Mallory Cremin, Dr. Joan McCullough, Melanie Lamaga and Karen Johnston, who concluded their first meeting in the library. by Holly Parsons

With the initial formation of Idyllwild Indivisibles’ environmental committee, Melanie Lamaga, Dr. Joan McCullough, Karen Johnston and Mallory Cremin became community leaders for climate change. However, it didn’t take long to realize the overwhelming nature of their call to action.

Lamaga began researching. “I picked CCL because of their bi-partisan support in Congress, their market-friendly, carbon-fee dividend program and their simple positive approach which telegraphs non-violent communication,” she said. “As I see it, changing climate is threatening this town’s very existence by threatening the forest with drought and, potentially, fire.”

When asked what motivated her involvement, she responded, “It’s a feeling of necessity because the situation with climate change is dire. I love the planet, and I don’t want people to suffer and I feel responsible to use the skills I have to do what I can.”

Johnston added, “Personal involvement is so important; wouldn’t it be great if Idyllwild residents would make it a priority to reduce their carbon footprint?” McCullough shared, “It’s actually fun to make progress against something so intimidating. Our goal is to use science to demonstrate that climate problems are so huge that everybody needs to do their part.”

In Cremin’s view, “I’m impressed with CCL’s tiered organizational structure offering so many ways people can offer their impact. I think CCL offers hope in this era of rising temperatures — through collective efforts we can affect change.”

The Idyllwild chapter’s first meeting took place Saturday at the library, led by CCL So Cal coordinators Craig Preston and Linda Kraemer. It was well attended by local residents and an interested educator from Hemet, “looking for education and direction for action steps,” said Dawn Rizor.

Her husband, Jim Rizor, president of the San Jacinto Green Coalition added, “I lived in Idyllwild for 34 years. We moved our family off the Hill when education and jobs found us working or going to school off the Hill. We couldn’t justify the amount of auto pollution we were generating daily. As a diver, I’ve seen degradation of coral reefs first hand. I came today because I want to get further involved.”

He added, “As a science teacher teaching about climate change for 20 years, a concern is the effect on wildlife.” His message, “keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

Early on in the meeting during a group conversation addressing issues pertaining to consensus building, Kraemer offered a quote from University of Arizona Regent and Professor of Geography and Developmental Sciences Diana Liverman, who said, “The US’ greatest problem is the politicizing of climate change. Europeans are able to separate the hard science from their political leanings. Americans really need to take a cue.”

CCL lobby and Citizens’ Climate Education materials entitled “A New Horizon for Climate Action” include purpose, action and solutions. Their carbon fee and dividend program provides a solution for unlimited carbon emissions while building responsible economic and social infrastructure. A Republican Climate Resolution, which declares that climate change is real and deserving of congressional action, has been signed by seventeen Republican representatives to date. Also, 37 Republicans have teamed with Democrats across the aisle to stand together with the Climate Solutions Caucus to develop and implement advancing climate-change legislative directives.

Preston, a registered Republican, got involved with CCL when he learned about his individual climate footprint. “Building a climate constituency through education and bi-partisan support is CCL’s national charter,” said Preston. “Our plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to stabilize the climate while boosting the economy.”

Idyllwild resident Frank Baele, a retired science teacher from Crossroads School in Santa Monica, said, “I’m most concerned about the effects of drought; climate change is of great importance.”

The CCL Idyllwild chapter meets the second Saturday of each month and features a nationally linked speaker and breakfast snacks. The next meeting is at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at the Idyllwild Library. For more information, www.citizensclimatelobby.com or contact Lamaga at [email protected] or Cremin at 951-642-2255.