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Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change

Our Blog 

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Climate Champions: Accelerating Local Leadership

We are in the process of identifying Climate Champions across Dane County. These are folks leading on energy and water efficiency, on clean fuels, on sustainable farm practices and on climate more broadly. 

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No till planting


Adaption & Resiliency: Guiding Principles in Practice

“Adaptation and Resiliency” is one of the six guiding principles of the Dane County Climate Action Plan. But what do these words really mean? From an ecological perspective, adaptation and resilience are a natural system’s ability to adjust to change and bounce back from a disturbance. 

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No till planting


CSAs See the Impacts of Climate Change

Climate change is already impacting organic vegetable farmers in our area according to Claire Strader, Organic Vegetable Educator for Dane County Extension.

Strader should know. A former organic farmer herself, she currently works with organic vegetable farmers across Dane County. 

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Neon sign that reads CHANGE


Framing the Message for Climate Action

Deep into a summer during which multiple of our society’s wicked problems seem to be coming to a head, I sought inspiration in a webinar...

The message that we need to move away from framing environmental issues as fatalistic problems resonated with me... 

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Green Teams Vital to CAP Implementation

The County cannot reduce all emissions unless all stakeholders—businesses, nonprofits, farms, individuals—are part of the solution. So engagement is an important part of our strategy.

Indeed, we are hosting a virtual meeting on August 20, 2020 to engage one really important set of stakeholders—the people who are part of green teams at their workplaces. 

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Mechanics Talk Shop: Inspiring Change

“There's an old African proverb that says ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ We have to go far — quickly.”
  -  Al Gore, March 23, 2016

Communities across Dane County aim to address climate change—they aim to go far and they aim to go fast.

It is good, then, that we are all working together.

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Young girl feeding kangaroo


Reflections on My Journey

It has been a long and fun journey to Madison and my work at Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change (OECC). I grew up in a city in South Korea and I traveled around the world thanks to my uncle and aunt who lived in Australia and France. This wonderful opportunity gave me a chance to experience different kinds of nature compared to South Korea, including this interaction with a baby kangaroo. 

I think my kangaroo encounter was the start of my interest in the environment.

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Outside art saying silence is violence


Seeking Climate Justice

The murder of George Floyd has prompted thousands of protests around the US and the world as well as millions of conversations about racism. Everywhere I look I see conversations about policing and community justice. I am hopeful this is the beginning of a long-overdue discussion about racism in the US. And I’m hopeful that we’ll address a comprehensive set of issues affected by racism, that we’ll address everything—including climate change. 

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Keith Reopelle


Marking a Milestone

It’s a challenge to mark milestones amid the pandemic.

Our office has had some significant milestones of late. Not only did we issue a groundbreaking economy-wide Climate Action Plan in April but, in May, our founding director, Keith Reopelle retired. 

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Filets of salmon


Sustainable Seafood

I cycled through the Ozarks last fall with a friend who is a fisheries biologist from Washington state. We camped out on mountain peaks and refueled in small towns. Overall, our dietary preferences were extremely compatible. Motivated by hunger, we efficiently re-stocked our panniers off the shelves of mom-and-pop gas stations and Super Walmarts - we were in rural Arkansas - without much debate.

Our joint mission ground to a halt, however, the first time we encountered seafood.

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Fist bump with gloves and title "Let's Beat COVID-19 and Climate Change"


COVID-19 & Climate Change: Increasing Our Resiliency

COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, has quickly become a global health crisis, a pandemic. It deserves everyone’s full attention, collaboration and cooperation. I truly hope that you, your family, friends and co-workers are exercising extreme caution, are supporting one another, and are safe and healthy over the coming days and months. 

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Jeans with boro stitching


Cutting Carbon Amid COVID-19

Without overlooking the devastating impacts of coronavirus, perhaps we can embrace the opportunities afforded by a slower rhythm of life to better care for ourselves and our planet. In the past several weeks, our worlds have shrunk dramatically while impressing upon us the fragility and resiliency of life. 

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Pile of junk mail


Eliminating Junk Mail

When I moved into my house four years ago, catalogs and junk mail flooded my mail stream. Most of this mail wasn’t even for me! The bulk of it arrived addressed to members of the previous household, and even the owner prior to them.

The average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail a year. 

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Map of US where 67% of Americans think global warming is happening


We Have Consensus So Let's Do This!

As our office shifts into engagement mode, I am spending more and more time talking with different groups about our work here at the Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change. I am privileged to talk about Dane County’s leadership and the hundreds of people that contributed to our Climate Action Plan, for example, and I also get to see the momentum that’s building around our efforts to take action to reduce emissions.

In these conversations it’s common for someone to ask me whether our efforts will be jeopardized by climate deniers.

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Basket of vegetables


Reducing Food Waste

Climate change can often feel overwhelming. In the face of a global crisis, our individual actions may seem inconsequential. Maybe rinsing out a can of refried beans before placing it in the recycling isn’t going to “Save the World,” but our consumer choices are significant. The impact of any given action is additive when it becomes a habit, and multiplies when we share our climate hacks with friends and family. To that end, I hope that this blog will provide actionable steps that support your journey toward living more lightly on our planet and that you, in turn, will share them with others.

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Creating a Climate Action Plan

Creating a science-based county-wide, economy-wide Climate Action Plan (CAP) that can get us on a path to deep decarbonization is a big task. Really. It's the sort of thing that can keep you up at night--trust me, I know. Luckily I didn't have to do this task alone. One of the great things about Dane County is the people and A LOT of people contributed to our soon-to-be-released CAP. In so many ways the CAP already belongs to the people of Dane County because so many people helped to create the CAP..

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