ashland.news
July 21, 2024

SOCAN: Group reaches for a new level of climate action

SOCAN
Members and supporters of SOCAN gather at a Sept. 9 celebration to kick off the organization's fundraising drive. Dasja Dolan photo
September 14, 2023

Organization, which promotes awareness of global warming science, launches a fund drive to hire an executive director to boost its strength

By Alan Journet

Eleven years ago, among the wide array of local nonprofits in Southern Oregon, something was missing. SOCAN was the first organization to step in to fill the void in the grassroots climate action arena.

For over a decade, SOCAN (Southern Oregon Climate Action Now) volunteers have dedicated themselves to accomplishing its mission of promoting awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate change consequences and, within the framework of promoting social justice, to motivate individual and collective action to address it.

Multifaceted approach to activism

They have marched in the streets, given presentations throughout the region, held monthly meetings on topics related to climate change, run for local office, established climate action teams in communities across the Rogue Valley, developed a Master Climate Protector course, lobbied the governor and state legislators to take climate action, and taken the tools, inspiration and dedication they learned at SOCAN to establish other climate organizations in the region. The impact of SOCAN and its volunteers has been so pervasive regionally that one can hardly attend a local public event without seeing the nonprofit’s trademark orange T-shirts.

SOCAN is now ready to move from its grassroots origins as a volunteer-driven organization, led by co-facilitators and co-founders Kathy Conway and myself, Alan Journet, by hiring its first executive director. To hire its first full-time staff member, the board has initiated a fall 2023 fundraising campaign entitled SOCAN: Reaching a New Level of Climate Action. The strategy involves enhancing the group’s grant-seeking activities and encouraging greater support from individual donors and regional businesses. With a substantial initial grant from the Portland-based Oregon Raindrop Fund, the group is already making good progress.

Making the case for SOCAN expansion

On Sept. 9, members of the Board of Directors were joined by longtime SOCAN friends, volunteers and supporters in the delightful backyard of two super-volunteers in west Medford. Oregon House District 5 Rep. Pam Marsh, who serves on SOCAN’s advisory board and is one of the most stalwart climate champions in the state Legislature, was on hand to help make the case for an expanded, sustainable SOCAN. Marsh gave a brief history of her connection to Conway and Journet, while emphasizing the impact SOCAN has had on elevating the discussion of climate change locally and urging passage of climate legislation at the state level.

SOCAN has raised over $50,000 toward its $90,000 goal. In the coming months, SOCAN will be holding further fundraising activities, notably a donated concert on Nov. 11 at the Bellview Grange in Ashland by the local Grateful Dead cover band Shine On.

For further information or to make a donation, visit socan.eco/2023campaign/.

Alan Journet has a doctoral degree in entomoloy and was a professor of biology at Southeast Missouri State University for 30 years before building an energy efficient passive/active solar home in the Applegate Valley and, with his wife, Kathy Conway, establishing Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, which he serves as co-facilitator and board president.

Ashland.news welcomes profiles of area nonprofits. Submissions of 500-700 words may be emailed to betling@ashland.news. Please attach a photo or two, and include your name and contact information.

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