The film, An Inconvenient Sequel, ends by asking viewers to use their voices, their votes and their choices to fight climate change like their world depends on it…   That’s because it does.

I was honored to speak to the community gathered for Mt. Baker Meaningful Movies to see and discuss this film Jan. 25th. Like those featured in the film, I was trained by Mr. Gore, scientists, doctors, experienced Climate Leaders and cultural leaders who helped 800 of us here last summer understand the realities of climate change including the latest global and local data.

Climate change is not only real, it’s here. Wildfires, ocean acidification and oxygen depletion are already affecting Wash. state’s ecology, industry, health and recreation.

But we didn’t get schooled on climate change. We also learned of successes, like energy savings across Wash., Ore., Mont., and Idaho sufficient to power five cities the size of Seattle thanks to the NW Power Act that made energy efficiency the primary resource to meet new power demand.

We learned about the 2,000 people employed in Wash.’s wind energy in 2015 and that we could generate all the electricity we need statewide from wind alone. We learned about our solar jobs and our potential for solar energy.

And, critically, we learned that since 2000 our state’s gross domestic product has grown significantly while our emissions stayed roughly the same, proving you can decouple economic growth from emissions. Fighting climate change is an economic opportunity, not an anchor.

Finally, we met people from around the world committed to this fight. And let’s be clear: it is a fight. The fossil fuel industry has enormous profits at risk, which is why we saw them invest nearly a half million dollars in the Vancouver, WA, Port Commissioner race. A local port commissioner race! But the electorate was too smart for that misinformation campaign. They elected Don Orange.

There’s a critical message here, which we discussed after the film — that together, we can make a difference. Our environment and our future need not be for sale.

My “job” as a Climate Reality Leader is to talk about what we can do to combat climate change, to help our representatives genuinely understand the urgent challenge we’re facing and to recruit more people to use their voices, votes and choices to give us all a better future.

So I’m asking you to step up your own involvement. The momentum is building for pricing planet-warming pollution in Wash. this year. We need your help to make that happen.

If the legislature fails to pass the Governor’s proposal or an alternative of their own, there are hundreds of organizations, businesses and tribes uniting behind a 2018 ballot initiative to price pollution in order to fund equitable solutions and spur a clean energy future for Washington. If we can do that, we’ll not only protect our people, our economy and our environment, we’ll offer a working model for other states and the nation. And I think that matters, because we need leadership — and it’s clearly not coming from the other Washington. Please join us.

And come see the next Meaningful Movie at the Mt. Baker Community Club on Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. — “Awake: A Dream From Standing Rock.” The film captures the story of the peaceful Native-led defiance that forever changed the fight for clean water, our environment and the future of our planet.