PORT TOWNSEND — January will have some Bigfoot sightings, Bob Bindschadler promised city officials earlier this week.
He and local climate activists are all about the shaggy beast these days — and all about Taming Bigfoot 2021: Recovering Greener, a competition soon to get underway.
In this countywide contest, local residents can track their carbon footprints by recording their transportation, home energy, food and shopping choices.
After setting a baseline, participants then learn ways to lighten their carbon load on the Earth.
Local 20/20, the sustainable living organization incorporated as a nonprofit 11 years ago, hosts the Taming Bigfoot project, providing abundant information at L2020.org.
The registration deadline is Jan. 22 for the event starting Feb. 1.
The 2021 event is an updated version of the Taming Bigfoot held five years ago. That first one was a resounding success and exceeded expectations, said Bindschadler, a retired NASA climate scientist who lives in Quilcene.
Having already received the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners’ endorsement, he gave a presentation to the Port Townsend City Council last Monday night in hopes of gaining its blessing. He wasn’t disappointed.
“I’m thinking of doing it,” said member Monica MickHager, “and I’m thinking of my grandchildren” signing up too.
“It’s really creative [and] educational,” member Ariel Speser added before the council voted unanimously to endorse.
The point here, added Bindschadler, is that it’s possible to have fun while having an impact on the planet.
To that end, Taming Bigfoot’s namesake creature is expected to appear not only in various places across the county, but also in a video on the event’s Facebook page.
After the competition comes to its finish line in April, there will be prizes, donated by local businesses, for those who’ve shrunk their carbon footprints the most.
Before the first contest, “people were asking: What can I do and will my actions really make a difference?’” Bindschadler told the City Council. Taming Bigfoot’s answer: a lot, and yes. The event aims to show people the effectiveness of carbon-cutting actions, be they bicycling, using LED lights or eating local produce.
As contestants measure their home energy use and gasoline and grocery purchases February through April, Local 20/20 will publish updates on team standings. Participants also will be invited to short presentations, all online, about climate change in Jefferson County.
Taming Bigfoot’s labyrinthine website explores the many other facets of the competition. Organizers plan to assemble teams from the people who sign up as singles or couples, as well as welcome those who register as already-formed teams of seven.
The intent, Bindschadler noted, is to bring together people with diverse experiences. So the website gives a list of possibilities: participants younger than 30, who live inside Port Townsend, who live outside the city, own a local business, parent a child younger than 12, who telework, who are retired, who work or volunteer in education or who work in a food-producing industry.
“We want to be as inclusive as possible,” Bindschadler said, adding there’s no age limit, high or low.
Taming our carbon footprint, after all, is “a common good, a common responsibility.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.