Alaskan climate activist Kate Troll emphasizes community action

Author Kate Troll from her official Facebook page. (Photo via Facebook.)

Author Kate Troll says while political changes such as the Paris climate agreement — in which countries have pledged to keep the global average temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius — change will not depend just on laws, but on local actions.

“It’s really built on individual and community action,” Troll said. “Riding a bicycle, purchasing green products, using electric vehicles; all those things will make a huge collective difference.”

Troll’s new memoir “The Great Unconformity: Reflections on Hope in an Imperiled World” covers her journey and the social, political and environmental realities the world faces as the global climate changes.

Originally working in coastal management, Troll went on to become a significant force in climate and energy movements. As the executive director of the Alaska Conservation Association, Troll helped draft the $250 million Alaska Renewable Energy Fund.

In the Pacific Northwest region — with its dependence on fishing, crabbing and shellfish farming — one of the most serious effects of climate change is ocean acidification, she said.

“Seattle is very much tied to marine ecosystem,” she said. “When you’re making changes on the level of acidity, those are changes that will be impossible to undo.”

Troll also emphasized the importance of communities pushing for renewable energy — and the hope.

“We can see some trends moving in the right direction,” she said.

She says that the biggest success of the renewable energy movement is that solar and wind energy have become cheaper than fossil fuels, such as coal, for utility companies to purchase.

“That even accounts for the fact that the fossil fuels industry still receives substantial subsidies,” she said.

Troll added that the rise of women in the corporate world also created substantial change in companies’ approach toward climate issues.

“We see more and more women rising to the level of leadership positions in corporations,” Troll said. “They bring a sense of corporate social responsibility.”

With devastating wildfires throughout the west coast and catastrophic hurricanes hitting the southeast US and the Caribbean, the time to address climate change is now, she said

“I think it’s really important to emphasize the hope,” Troll said. “I don’t gloss over the realities of what we’re going to have to overcome. But if we’re going to motivate people, you gotta present opportunities and messages of hope.”

Troll will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 17,  at the University Bookstore on the Ave.