Elin Kelsey, author of “Hope Matters,” will discuss her science-based approach to hope amid the environmental crisis during an online program Thursday. Peninsula College will present Kelsey free of charge. (Photo courtesy of Agathe Bernard)

Elin Kelsey, author of “Hope Matters,” will discuss her science-based approach to hope amid the environmental crisis during an online program Thursday. Peninsula College will present Kelsey free of charge. (Photo courtesy of Agathe Bernard)

Environmental scientist to speak at students’ request

Online class to feature idea of hope

PORT ANGELES — We have good reasons for hope right now: That’s the message from environmental scientist Elin Kelsey, who will appear in a free presentation online Thursday.

Peninsula College hosts the public program, part of its Studium Generale series, at 12:30 p.m.; connection information can be found at pencol.edu under the Events listing.

Information also is available from organizer and professor Kate Reavey at 360-417-6268 or [email protected]

Kelsey, a University of Victoria adjunct professor and author of “Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis,” will give a short talk and then converse with the audience, Reavey said.

“Studium is first a class and second a gift to the community,” she said, emphasizing that Peninsula College students are a force for bringing in nationally known — and inspirational — presenters such as Kelsey.

When seeking a speaker for this midwinter program, Reavey discussed several possibilities with the college’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Club.

Members Kaitlyn Viada and Vanessa Affandy were drawn especially to Kelsey, who’s known for making hope her field of study.

This is a figure who’s gained renown of late, so many people are asking for her time, Reavey said, but she encouraged the students to contact her.

Kelsey said yes; Viada and Affandy will join her to cohost Thursday’s discussion.

“I think it was the fact that students were asking her that really made the difference,” Reavey said.

Kelsey uses platforms of all kinds to transmit her message: books including “Hope Matters,” just released in October; “Watching Giants,” her first-person exploration subtitled “the secret lives of whales,” and Twitter, where her #OceanOptimism campaign has been shared more than 100 million times.

She also has ultra-short videos available online for people dealing with what she calls “eco-anxiety.”

One of those, in less than three minutes, has Kelsey explaining how hope works. It’s part of a series titled “An Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators,” and it starts with her call for challenging “the tired narrative” of doom and gloom.

Instead, she says, we’ve got to seek true stories of progress.

A critical mass of people now know about climate change and are worried about it, Kelsey added. Climate strikes and emergency declarations have taken place around the world.

On the North Olympic Peninsula, many activist groups are organizing. Among them are Local 20/20 in Jefferson County, which is launching Taming Bigfoot 2021, a competition open to signups through this Friday at L2020.org.

In Clallam County, Olympic Climate Action provides resources and ways to engage at Olyclimate.org.

We live in a world “alive with 8.7 million other species,” Kelsey observes in her video; “we are not the only ones responding,” nor are we the only ones with elaborate ways of communicating.

“Social networks between trees promote faster regrowth of forests,” she said, just as social networks of humpback whales have led to population recoveries in many parts of the world, faster than scientists predicted.

This means “more whales, more plankton, more fish, more trapping of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Emotions are contagious, both face to face and online, Kelsey said. The positive ones such as hope give us the backbone to keep fighting for justice — for the environment and for the human race.

“Hope is not complacent,” she said.

“It is a powerful political act.”

________

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

More in Entertainment

“Soul Consoling Tower, Cemetery, and the Sierra Nevada”, photographed in 2015, is one of the few remaining structures left after the camp was dismantled, sold off and bulldozed. The oblisk monument in the camps cemetery was designed and built by incarceree stonemason Ryozo Kado and is inscribed with Japanese characters which translate to “Soul Consoling Tower”.
Peninsula College exhibit, lecture focuses on Manzanar

Photographer Brian Goodman will talk about his work documenting… Continue reading

Warming up for Saturday's "Chalk It Up!" event are Cate Chance, 11, left, Lucas Chance, 7, and Sarah Butterworth, 10, all of Port Angeles. (Photo courtesy Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts)
‘Chalk It Up! to turn parking lot into a canvas

Outdoor installation offers space, color and a place to be artistic

Bruce Corbridge's painting of his dog, Sergeant, is among the pieces displayed in the Port Ludlow Art League exhibit.
Acrylics, gemstone jewelry on display in Port Ludlow in March

An artist who says he “over-tweaks” his acrylic paintings… Continue reading

Singer Sam Chase, seen at a mural in Eugene, Ore., will give a free online performance Friday via the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts' YouTube channel. (Photo courtesy The Sam Chase)
Singer-guitarist to perform free virtual concert

Live streams make trying times bearable for rock musician

Classic sailboats, like this one in 2017's Shipwrights' Regatta, will race on Port Townsend Bay in a 2021 event this Saturday. (Peninsula Daily News file)
Shipwrights’ Regatta sails away Saturday

Entrants can sign up until noon

Studium to explore public programming

Drawing on more than a decade of event production… Continue reading

Washington state poet laureate Claudia Castro Luna, seen at Fort Worden's Wheeler Theater in summer 2019, will give a free online reading Thursday via Northwind Art. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Former, present poets laureate to read work

Special presentation offered free online Thursday

Candlelight Concert to feature Port Townsend duo

Chris Gilbert and Jay McHagar will perform at the… Continue reading

Royalty contestants for the Sequim Irrigation Festival include, from left, Zoee Kuperus, Sydney VanProyen, Hannah Hampton and Allie Gale. Sequim's queen and court will be shown at 6 p.m. Saturday online at the festival's Facebook page and website. (Keith Ross/Keith’s Frame Of Mind)
Irrigation royalty to be crowned online Saturday

Four students in competition have focused platforms

Most Read