Sustainable Missoula: With gratitude for our community’s passion, hope, commitment

“We believe part of being a sustainable community is recognizing and valuing the gifts we have here in our community.” (Amy Cilimburg)

As people who work on climate change and sustainability issues for a living, we’ll be the first to admit that gratitude isn’t always our default response to the state of affairs around us.

So often, the headlines do not reflect the way we want our community – and the world – to be. But this year, the many individuals and organizations that have contributed to this Sustainable Missoula column series generated headlines that paint a different picture: one of a community that is bringing real solutions to local challenges and doing so with passion, hope and commitment.

We’ve had fun highlighting voices around Missoula this year. We are grateful to the Missoula Current for the opportunity. And we’re planning to continue this column in the year ahead.  For Thanksgiving week, we thought we’d bring it home, so we asked around our respective offices (and store) for staff to share what they’re thankful for. Here’s what they said:

At Climate Smart Missoula, we are thankful for:

Abby: Missoula, meaningful work, and family. 2018 was a wild ride. I am thankful for my 8-month-old son, Soren, who makes me laugh every day. Soren has made my world smaller and larger at the same time: He helps me appreciate the smallest joys while never forgetting the big picture that Soren’s future is what my work is really all about.

Amy: A community that doesn’t give up, laughs, shares generously, and finds joy in being outside, regardless of the challenge. I am particularly grateful right now for young people – from my high school daughter and her friends who are willing to volunteer on elections, to UM students and faculty who are passionate about applying what they know and learn to assist nonprofits throughout Missoula. And this week, I’m thankful for clear skies and the moon that shines bright.  

Anna: The magic that is Missoula. Serving with Climate Smart, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many community members with different passions and goals for a climate-resilient future. Over the past two months, I shook hands with a whirlwind of new people, and all welcomed me into this quirky community with open arms.

Everyone here is motivated to get something done, and everyone is happy to make you part of their team. Meeting all these local change-makers has been inspiring and reminds me of why living in a community this size can be so great — it allows for collaboration and sharing of resources. I wholeheartedly believe that any large-scale societal shift, like that which is necessary to combat climate change, starts with local connections and movements. I’m so thankful to live in a community that embodies this idea.

At Home ReSource, we are thankful for:

Tylyn: That people in Missoula care so deeply about the community, from feeding people to keeping where we live clean and green and everything else.

Jeremy: I am grateful for the teachers and parent chaperones and everyone who make ZWAP! possible and all the people engaged in Zero Waste processes in our community.

Katie: That our community stands up for what is important to us, that people work together to make change, and that we really enjoy the places we work and live and play and the people who live here. I am grateful for connection, compassion and people’s great sense of humor.

Matt: So many people come to the front counter and buy something and ask a question and thank us for the work that we do.  Thank you, Missoula, for thanking us!!!

We believe part of being a sustainable community is recognizing and valuing the gifts we have here in our community.

We looking forward to keeping the Sustainable Missoula series going in 2019. We hope you have been as inspired as we have by all the good work happening around Missoula. Giving Tuesday (November 27, #GivingTuesday) is a great time to consider a contribution to any of the organizations that inspire you and that will help sustain these efforts. Whatever form it takes, we’re grateful for your support during this season of Thanksgiving.  

Abby Huseth is the Energy Program Director and Amy Cilimburg is the Executive Director at Climate Smart Missoula. Katie Deuel is the Executive Director at Home ReSource.

This Sustainable Missoula column is brought to you – via the Missoula Current – every Friday by Climate Smart Missoula and Home ReSource.

Upcoming Sustainability Events:

November 23. Buy Nothing Day

November 24. Small Business Saturday in Missoula 

November 24. Missoula Winter Market, 9am-1pm, Missoula Senior Center, 705 S. Higgins

November 27. #GivingTuesday. Support your favorite non-profits with this day on on-line giving.

November 27. Post-Election Opportunities for Climate Action. 7 pm, Public House, 130 E. Broadway. The election is over. The landscape has shifted. What does this mean for the Montana climate movement? Come and explore this question with a diverse panel of experts. Hosted by Sierra Club.

December 6. Climate Smart Missoula’s Year 3 Celebration. 5 – 8pm. Goodworks Ventures, 129 W Alder. Help celebrate 3 years of Climate Smart Missoula! Food, beverages, and annual Smarty Pants awards honoring folks who have made an impact on local climate action this year. 

View more climate and energy events via Climate Smart Missoula’s CalendarThere are many more conservation events for the upcoming months HERE.