WSU Whatcom County Extension

Carbon Masters™

Carbon Masters




as of 6/29/11

This program integrates home study, class discussion, workshops and teleconferences with experts to provide hands on tools to adapt and help lessen the effects of climate change. Program also includes fieldtrips to view innovative ways our local community is addressing climate change.

Class sessions on Thursdays, 2:30-5:30pm.

Fieldtrips are usually on Saturday mornings.


September 22, 2011

Session 1 - Intro and "It’s melting, melting, melting… Climate Change 101"

Introduction to Carbon Masters

- WSU Extension Model and the land grant university system
- Policy and procedures relevant to their role as WSU volunteers
- Their important role as pathfinders and their role in our research efforts

Welcome Pete Kremen, Whatcom County Executive

Drew Betz, WSU Whatcom County Extension

Sue Blake, WSU Whatcom County Extension


"Climate Change 101"
Dr. Andrew Bunn, Huxley College, Western Washington University
• the natural carbon life-cycle and understanding carbon pools
• greenhouse effect and sources of green house gas (GHG)
• complexity and interrelatedness of climate change
• human fingerprints on GHG
• climate change and impacts on earth’s systems
• the concept of the commons and how it relates to the global atmospheric commons


Prior to session:
Gilbert’s Why Humans can’t get Climate Change
(and why we’re great at Ducking Baseballs) 15 min.

Simple explanation of weather vs. climate

Dr. James Powell’s 15 min. video “Global Warming, Is it True?”

Bathtub analogy for Greenhouse Gasses
10 min.

September 29, 2011

Session 2 - “The Dirt on Dirt—mitigating climate change from the ground up”

Climate change impacts on Soils & Agriculture and Biochar
Dr. Craig Cogger, Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences, WSU Extension
• The Carbon cycle in soils
• Carbon sequestration in forests, agriculture and soils
• Ways we can adapt to and mitigate for climate changes through better gardening and landscaping techniques

Hal Collins, Researcher, WSU, USDA
• Carbon sequestration in forests, agriculture and soils
• How biochar can be useful for sequestration
• Benefits and drawbacks of using biochar


Prior to session:


October 6, 2011

Session 3 -“Let’s shop till we drop” (Not!) 

The History of Consumerism
John De Graaf, Independent Producer

• The rise of the “Age of consumerism” How we got to where we are today
• The connection between consumerism and climate change
• Consumerism’s impact on democracy
• Happiness as the antidote to consumerism


Resisting Consumerism—what we can do
Cecile Andrews, PhD, Educator

• Voluntary Simplicity
• Take Back Your Time
• The Sharing Movement
• Slow is Beautiful

Prior to the class:

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Gospel of Consumption

LIVING SIMPLY - The new Simplicity

“The Story Of Stuff”

George Carlin: A Place For My Stuff

Reducing Work Time as a Path to Sustainability


October 13, 2011

Session 4 - "What can WE do?? Civic Engagement"

Dr. Troy Abel, Huxley College of the Environment - Western Washington University

• Proactive Local Communities
• How Carbon Masters™ can participate in the local political process
• How Local government is impacted by climate change


Sue Blake, Facilitator

• Envisioning a resilient community - What is your picture?
• Brainstorming positive changes that will help mitigate and adapt to climate change
• Volunteer activities and projects


Prior to session:

Browse International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)

“The Power of Community” 1 hour about transitioning to a sustainable community

Information from the Union of Concerned Scientists regarding civic engagement

American Climate Attitudes


October 20, 2011

Session 5 - "Should I buy a boat?"

2:30 PM--Announcements

2:40—Program:  Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest
Sue Blake, Water Resource Educator, WSU Extension, UW and Sea Grant Washington

  • Our resources and how we use them
  • Climate change impacts on PNW resources and ecosystems and current challenges
  • The connection between water and energy
  • What we can do—sustainable landscaping and water retention

Break:  3:30
(The class includes learning exercises thorough out the afternoon)


Prior to session:
Dr. Alex Rogers, Scientific Director of IPSO and Professor of Conservation Biology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, gives the overview of the main problems affecting the ocean — and some suggested solutions:
Peruse or skim the following repports
State of the Watershed, 2010:


Climate Change and Water Resources—Climate Impacts Group U of W presentation/overview of impacts.
(Click on “Agenda”, then go down to 10:45:  “Key Findings”  check out either the audio file or PowerPoint.

Adaption Strategies  (just Chapter 11)


October 27, 2011

Session 6 - "But how do I get there from here?"

Transportation - Overview
Eric Leonhardt, Director, Vehicle Research Institute - WWU
• How transportation emissions/industry/infrastructure contributes to climate change
• Impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure
• Current Vehicle Research Institute projects


Transportation - Whatcom County issues
Susan Horst, Community Transportation Program Manager, Council of Governments
Maureen McCarthy, Community Outreach and Marketing Manager, WTA
• Local alternative transportation and how to reduce emissions
• How to listen to transportation problems, and help find solutions
• Reaching the community, our approach and how you can help


Prior to session:
Explore the SMARTRIPS website

Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits

The Price of Gas

The Biofuel Presentation by Niels Torslov (Active Transportation in Copenhagen section of the SFA presentation)

Taken For A Ride
50 min

This session will be hosted at the VRI technology and development area at WWU, which participants will tour.

November 3, 2011

Session 7 - "Watt about energy?"

The History of Energy in the Pacific Northwest
Nancy Hirsh, Policy Director, NW Energy Coalition
• The Big Picture: Energy
• Distribution system
• How we use
• What we use

Chuck Ebert, Opportunity Council Programs
• How Whatcom County ensure equal access to energy and energy savings
• Challenges and issues in the county in relationship with energy issues


Prior to Session:
NW Energy Coalition

Smart Grid

Efficiency Works!

Smart Grid - "Enabler of the New Energy Economy"

EERE: Energy Savers Tips Home Page – download the publication. Very comprehensive and useful. I expect that the content will answer most home owner questions (at least on the entry level)

The Home Energy Saver – great home energy calculator which can be adjusted to our climate.

Energized Learning – uses the Home Energy Saver in a learning exercise.

EERE: EERE Information Center – “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) Information Center answers questions about EERE's products, services, and technology programs”

EERE: Energy Savers Home Page – the title says it – saving energy in the home.

Building America: Related Links for Homeowners – if you want more – this is the place

US Building Best Practices - Maritime locations – Great relevant information for our region

November 10, 2011

Session 8 - "Planning for Resilience"

Ecological Urban Planning
Dr. William Rees, UBC, School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) Dr. Rees is the originator of ‘ecological footprint analysis.’
• “Ecological Footprint” vs. “Carbon Footprint”
• How cities can develop more sustainable humankind-ecosystems relationships
• Barriers that current policies and practices may impose
• Innovative ideas that Vancouver, Canada has been able to put in motion


Prior to Session:

“Toward a Sustainable World Economy” Dr. William Rees, April, 2011

“What’s Blocking Sustainability, Human Nature, Cognition and Denial,” Dr. William Rees, 2010

Chapter 5 of Canadian Cities in Transition: New Directions in the Twenty-First Century (Fourth Edition) Edited by Trudi Bunting, Pierre Filion and Ryan Walker, “Getting Serious about Urban Sustainability: Eco-Footprints and the Vulnerability of 21st Century Cities”, William E. Rees

November 17, 2011

Session 9 - "Oranges in Watcom? How climate change will affect the food system."

Food Systems
Chris Benedict, Agricultural Agent, WSU Extension
• Sources of food related emissions along the food chain
• Transportation and food


Farming and Climate Change
Chad Kruger, WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR)

• Changes in pest, weeds and crop responses
• Organic vs. conventional agriculture

Prior to session:
Agriculture & food systems

and it’s companion

GREAT SITE for overall information



December 1, 2011

Session 10 - "Beyond Waste"

Rodd Pemble, Sanitary Services
• Whatcom County waste stream
• GHG emissions that can be saved from proper waste management
• Opportunities for improvement for county recycling and waste management—what we can do


Prior to session:
Explore the Department of Ecology’s “Beyond Waste” website:

“The Story Of Stuff”

George Carlin: A Place For My Stuff:



Saturday Fieldtrips


September 24, 2011

Anerobic Digester, 9am - 10am

Tour Vanderhaak Dairy anaerobic digester to witness the waste/energy cycle and promise of “closed loop” energy production. The tour guide is Steve VanderHaak.

Bioenergy and Bioproducts Fact Sheet (pdf)


Green Earth Technologies, 10:15am - 11:15am

See where your FoodPlus! goes.  Witness large scale food recycling at Green Earth Technology. The tour guide is Stephanie Harvey.


October 1, 2011

Disposal of Toxics, 8:30am - 9:30am

Find out how to disposal of old paint, pesticides, oil, compact florescents and more, and where it all ends up. Alyce Cords will be the tour guide.


Tour of the Old GP Site, 10am - Noon

Tour of the old GP site, and what is in the works for the Port of Bellingham, including plans to lessen the ecological footprint through design &,concepts. The tour leader is Mike Hogan.


October 8, 2011

Resilient Communities—Infrastructure, 9am - Noon

(Meet at WSU Whatcom Extension Office)

We will discuss and explore issues related to our community ’s built environment, with a particular emphasis on lifeline infrastructure. We will link the concept of green building to broader concepts of low impact development and community disaster resilience, demonstrating that growth can’t be smart unless it’s safe.

After a brief class session, will take a walk through our community, discussing the type, 
location, and patterns of development and how these issues are linked to our community’s carbon footprint. We discuss how Bellingham can “build back better” – an idea well suited  to neighborhood redevelopment, climate adaptation, or disaster recovery.

Nick Hartrich, Green Building Program Manager at  Sustainable Connections

Scott Miles, Assistant Professor at WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment will facilitate the class session and field trip.


November 5, 2011

Tour the Business Performance Center, 9am - Noon

Explore ways you can reduce your energy bill, and help your neighborhood reduce theirs.



NOTE: Additional fieldtrips to be scheduled later.


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Why Carbon Masters™? The climate in Washington State is changing as the planet is warming. Scientists have documented that increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere surrounding earth are raising global temperatures. Washington State is especially vulnerable - our landscape, agriculture, and natural resources. Washington State University Extension, in partnership with University of Washington, is developing the Carbon Masters™ program to train, equip and manage a core group of volunteers on climate change issues. Training focus includes climate change science, community infrastructure, natural resources, green economy, transportation, social justice, energy, and civic engagement. Everyone will be affected by climate change. Together, we can do something to help!

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WSU Whatcom County Extension, 1000 N. Forest Street, Suite 201, Bellingham WA 98225, (360) 778-5800, Contact Us