In order to successfully act on climate change, we need a sense that we’re all in this together.
In that regard, the state of Utah may have what it takes to lead the way.
On a trip this week to the Beehive State, the first of two this month, the Rotarians in St. George, Utah, answered my question with an enthusiastic “Yes!” when I asked if there’s a high degree of societal cohesion in Utah, perhaps because of shared backgrounds in the LDS Church.
At a meeting later in the day, a newspaper editor expanded on that; Utahans have a way of coming together to help one another out, he said.
The following day, a county commissioner added that Utahns have a pioneering spirit, a spirit that, back then and still today, led to cooperation and preparation with others in order to make it in a harsh, desert climate. In the same meeting with the county commissioner, a fellow added yet another factor in Utah’s societal cohesion: unlike other states where families spread out to go to college, take jobs, and put down roots, in Utah, there are lots of extended family relations still living in close proximity to one another.
Perhaps it is a faith perspective, a pioneering/helping/preparing spirt and lots of family relations that give Utah what it takes to act on climate.
All of those things were on display at two Rotary Club presentations, at a large event for students and townspeople at Utah Tech’s Institute of Politics and Public Affairs, and at another panel event at Southern Utah University.
There was time to reflect on all of these things as I joined Bill Barron of Citizens Climate Lobby for part of his forth (yes, fourth!) bike ride across Utah to raise awareness of the need for climate action. Time with Bill and other CCL friends, the spectacular scenery, and the sense that Utahans care for one another made it yet another encouraging time in Utah.
As noted, this is just the first trip this month. But I’m already enamored with the can do spirit enthusiastically on display in Utah.
A soundbite from the road…
“My husband has literally been mentioning you and your incredible initiative and positive leadership style to new people each day since we met you. You made a huge impact on him. Thank you for coming and sharing your enthusiasm and your knowledge with our community. It was wonderful meeting you, and we hope to welcome you back again soon.” – Event participant in southern Utah