May 23, 2024

Online class connects the climate change dots

Southern Oregon Climate Action Now Master Climate Protector graphic.
January 23, 2022

SOCAN offers 10-week, online class as a step toward becoming ‘Master Climate Protectors’

Most Southern Oregonians are alert to the ongoing drought, the decreasing snowpack, the increasing risk of wildfires, the increasing intensity of hurricanes, and the unprecedented December tornadoes assaulting the Midwest, plus the need in the Rogue Valley to undertake water use conservation. People are aware global warming and its climate change consequences are influencing the region and the nation. 

For those wishing to learn more about the connections among the dots, and how they can address the climate crisis confronting everyone, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN) scientists developed the Master Climate Protector — A Primer for Action course. Launched five years ago, it is now offered annually from February through April. The seventh offering of the course starts on Wednesday, Feb. 9, via Zoom. The course runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays for 10 sessions.

Although the team prefers to offer the course in person, when COVID-19 struck during the 2020 course, the team switched to Zoom. 

“The face-to-face format offers greater opportunities for interaction among participants,” pointed out lead organizer Dr. Kathy Conway, “but we have developed alternative ways of providing small group discussions in Zoom by using the break-out room feature.”

Dr. Alan Journet, who teaches four of the sessions, noted that “The SOCAN focus on science is well-served by this course since we approach all the topics through with a science lens.” 

After an initial couple of sessions outlining the basic science of global warming and presenting the scientific counter to the alternative explanations offered by climate science skeptics, the course offers sessions on energy and construction, weather and water, transportation, terrestrial ecosystems, agriculture, and what people can do.

It ends with a course wrap-up and review during which participants decide what steps they, individually, will undertake. Woven through the course is individual completion of a greenhouse gas emissions footprint calculator. Course coordinator Ellie Cosgrove explained that: “This footprint calculator is an incredible tool — not only does it help class participants learn more about their individual greenhouse gas emissions, and identify ways to reduce their personal emissions, but it also offers a great way to engage their family and friends in the climate change conversation.” 

Course participants are also invited to achieve SOCAN certification as Master Climate Protectors by completing service activities during the subsequent years, and then be recertified by continuing climate service and attending annual refresher sessions. 

The registration fee for the course is $100, but scholarships are available to help defray this cost. For more information and to register, visit the course website (, or contact course coordinator Ellie Cosgrove at Registration is now open, but will close at the end of January. In order to promote participant interaction, registration is limited to 20 individuals per offering.

Source: Southern Oregon Climate Action Now news release. Email at

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Email him at

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