Abby Huseth and Amy Cilimburg 

A record-breaking hot summer. Thick, unhealthy wildfire smoke in mid-September. New ways to accelerate clean energy. Climate is in the news and top of mind. And this weekend, we've an opportunity to learn, visit, share ideas, and act:

Climate Smart Missoula is excited to host Missoula’s fourth annual Climate and Clean Energy Expo, Saturday, September 17th, 10am - 2pm at Caras Park. It’s free, family-friendly, and filled with climate inspiration. We hope you can join us, our co-sponsors and over 25 exhibitors!

Why are we excited about this Expo?

This summer we’ve all been awakened to a world where the climate problem that was supposed to be decades away is actually today’s emergency. Extreme drought, record heat waves, ever-lengthening wildfire season, unprecedented flooding... There’s no denying we’re all affected.

And there’s also no denying we can all be part of the solutions we need now more than ever. That’s what the Expo is all about!

You can visit with sustainability organizations, clean energy advocates & businesses, e-bike and EV aficionados - who will all share their unique piece of the climate solutions puzzle. Interested in solar?  Curious about electric bikes? Want to get off fossil fuels in your home? Want to know more about composting? Interested in learning how to advocate for climate action during our next state legislative session? Heard about the new climate bill passed by Congress and wondering how you might benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act?

Find these answers - and more - this Saturday.

The day’s activities will also feature several short presentations and panel discussions. The main stage schedule includes:

  • 11 am. Sustainable transportation: Going beyond Electric.  From EVs to e-bikes to e-buses, electrification is one strategy for a low-carbon transportation system. Let’s talk about all the ways to build a more bike-, walk- and bus-able community for everyone!

  • 11:30 am. Climate policy and advocacy lightning round. How do we make the most of and build on the Inflation Reduction Act? What climate issues will be on deck at the state legislature in 2023? Hear from policy experts and advocates about what you need to know and how to get involved.

  • 12:30pm. Electrify Missoula: Success Stories & Inspiration. Hear from Missoulians on their journey towards electrification, from heat pumps to water heaters to solar and more!

  • 1:00pm. EVs, Solar, and Batteries, Oh My! Presentation and Q&A with industry veteran Dan Brandborg of SBS Solar on integrating batteries with EVs and home solar.

And all day –

  • The Electric Transportation show: electric cars, bikes and buses

  • Local solar installers

  • 25+ climate and sustainability exhibitors

  • Kids activities

  • Cool, inspired people to chat with!

The Expo runs from 10am - 2pm, but you can make a whole day out of exploring local climate and sustainability offerings! Consider arriving at the Expo alongside a crew of fellow bikers, by joining Families for a Livable Climate’s Climate Protector Ride starting at 10am from Silver Park and ending at Caras Park. Grab a cup of local coffee or kombucha while you explore the Expo, then head over to Home ReSource for their annual Spontaneous Construction celebration of creative reuse.

You may be thinking, I’m interested, but climate and clean energy seems so overwhelming. What do I have to offer? What is my niche?

If you’re asking these questions, you are on the right track - and you’re not alone. We know it’s not easy right now. With many challenges facing our world and community, inspiration can be hard to find and it’s easy to feel disconnected or despairing.

But we also know that the antidotes to despair are community connection and feeling that we can make a difference. There truly are amazing things happening in our community, and our Expo aims to showcase these efforts and opportunities to get involved. As urgent as the challenge is, there have never been more opportunities for all of us to be part of climate solutions, right here in Missoula. Local action helps not only build a safer climate, but also a stronger community, so we can weather the impacts we’re already experiencing and lean on each other for inspiration to move forward.

So, we hope you’ll join us this Saturday at Caras Park.

For more information visit: www.missoulaclimate.org/clean-energy-expo.html

Abby Huseth is the Outreach Director and Amy Cilimburg is the Executive Director with Climate Smart Missoula. This Sustainable Missoula column is brought to you – via the Missoula Current – most weeks by Climate Smart Missoula and Home ReSource.

Sustainability Happenings

Here we offer ideas about sustainable ways to stay involved in our community. For more, consider signing up for Climate Smart’s eNewsletter via their homepage here. And sign up for the Home ReSource eNews via their homepage here.

Sept 17, 10am. Climate Protector Ride. Silver Park. Join Families for a Livable Climate, Missoula County Sustainability, Free Cycles, and Soil Cycle for a family friendly ride that ends at the Expo. Meet at the Silver Park shelter at 10am with your superhero capes, bright costumes, and banners.

The bike ride is family friendly and will take place entirely on a protected bike lane - all abilities and speeds are welcome! Participants will receive a free ice cream cone coupon from Big Dipper, a climate protector sticker, and a climate action guide, and will be entered to win a free 6-month compost drop-off membership with Soil Cycle. Register here.

Sept 17. Missoula’s fourth annual Climate and Clean Energy Expo, 10 am – 2 pm. Caras Park. Featuring solar installers, climate & sustainability organizations and businesses, mini-presentations on climate and clean energy topics, an Electric Transportation show, kid’s activities, and more!

Sept. 17. Spontaneous Construction. Home ReSource’s annual celebration of creative reuse includes a building competition, family-friendly activities & more. Prizes and party starts at 5:30pm. Full details HERE.

Sept. 18. Sunday Streets Missoula, 12-4pm. Missoula’s annual open streets festival is coming to the Lewis & Clark neighborhood this year. Their 1 mile route will showcase the neighborhood's new traffic calming circles along with several of their favorite parks. It will also include temporary activation stations, food vendors, and local businesses and organizations hosting activities along the open street route.

Now through Oct 2. Bike to Barns tour.  Explore local farms and flavors on a 15-mile bike tour through Missoula’s Orchard Homes and Target Range neighborhoods, with the chance to win prizes!

Materials donations to Home Resource keep the wheels of reuse spinning in our community; and remember that everything you need to know about what to do with your unwanted stuff is at www.zerobyfiftymissoula.com.

Find more local activities and events at Missoulaevents.net and on Montana Environmental Information Center’s Conservation Calendar. ·

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