Friday, May 14, 2021
Combatting Climate Change in Sun Valley
The North Valley Climate Action Coalition is following the lead of the Hailey Climate Action Coalition is effecting change that will keep the snow in Sun Valley and other resorts throughout the world.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020


News had just circled the world that Antarctica, the world’s coldest continent, had recorded its highest temperature ever of 69 degrees as 22 people took their seats in the basement of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

A French ski resort had just closed in mid-February after two consecutive years with no snow. Czechs had tapped into stockpiles of snow they had stored in a giant snow storage facility to build a 5-kilometer track for a Nordic World Cup meet. And Norwegians, who had just opened an indoor ski resort as the country suffered under its warmest January ever, were setting up snow making guns at school playgrounds so kids could make snowmen during recess.

Overshadowing all was NOAA’s report that January was the warmest for Planet Earth in 141 years of recordkeeping—the previous record set in 2016. Not only did January 2020 mark the 44th consecutive January and the 421st consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average but the year to come is likely to rank among the five warmest years on record, spokesmen added.

Sabine Love designed this logo for the North Valley Climate Action Coalition.

The people in the room wanted to change that. That’s why they formed the North Valley Climate Action Coalition.

Those in the room included Cheryl Hymas, whose grandfather sold the Brass Ranch to Union pacific Railroad to create America’s first destination ski resort in the early 1930s. Sun Valley Resort, like others  worldwide, now faces an uncertain ski future in the face of climate change.

It included Sun Valley Community School student Sabine Love, who sketched a logo for the group as they talked; a representative of Idaho Power and Aimee Christensen, who founded the Sun Valley Institute to find solutions for wildfire and other threats caused by a warmer, drier climate.

“Greta Thunberg is the catalyst for me,” East Fork resident Sandra Willingham told the group. “I have four grandchildren and we’re in a quagmire. We’ve got to do something. Hailey led the way with their Hailey Climate Action Coalition. We’ve got to jump on the bandwagon.”

There are pockets of hope even in a state that has not been quick to acknowledge the need to address climate change, organizers noted. The Sierra Club, for instance, is working to get Idaho cities to set 100 percent clean, renewable energy goals.

Boise became the first, adopting Boise’s Energy Future to move the city’s electricity to 100 percent renewable sources by 2035.

Those in attendance decided to help the Hailey Climate Action Coalition with its Home & Garden Expo from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at Campion Ice House in Hailey. The coalition is trying to get 50 booths registered for the climate action expo, which will kick off a week-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

Organizers hope to get at least 50 vendors to showcase local innovations, ideas and actions with vendor registration at
And Love said students hope to organize a climate crisis rally on April 21.

Groups and individuals who wish to share climate change solutions and/or activities throughout the remainder of the week from April 19 through 25 can contact Valley restaurants promoting plant-rich menu items using local foods and/or organic sustainable practices will also be highlighted throughout the week.

 “The year 2019 may be remembered as the year when people here and around the world began to more clearly understand the urgency and cataclysmic impacts of our climate crisis,” said Elizabeth Jeffrey, one of the co-founders of the Hailey Climate Action Coalition. “Communities are entering 2020 with a determination to cut back the human impact on our global climate, to limit its most dire consequences and to find ways that we can adapt to the changes.”

The North Valley group plans to decide what its central focus and priority will be at its next meeting on March 12, said Amy Lykens, who is heading up the group.

“If we are focusing on one big thing, some suggested water use in the valley. Another mentioned the policy Sun Valley has in place for single-use plastics at all their events. I personally believe we should ask how we can get this valley to carbon neutral as fast as possible,” she said.

What the group does know now is that members envision a world that has a sustainable climate. And that its mission is to engage the Sun Valley and Ketchum communities to take action towards halting climate change.

Sun Valley Community School teacher Scott Runkel, among the co-founders of the Hailey Climate Action Coalition, told the group that the Hailey group is trying to reduce the use of plastic and, in fact, convinced Company of Fools to reduce plastic use at the Liberty Theatre.

It is also pressing the City of Hailey to have a full-time sustainability coordinator and working on community outreach. The group has had success showing up at City Hall, he said: “If want to change policies, budgets, people have to show up at council meetings.”

Lykens told the group that it will stay the North Valley Climate Action Coalition for the time being. But it would be open to merging with the Hailey Climate Action Coalition into one Wood River Valley Climate Action Coalition as both groups grow.


  • The Hailey Climate Action Coalition is holding an Earth Week planning session from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, FEB. 26, at 1030 Airport Way next to Rocky Mountain Hardware.
  • The Hailey Climate Action Coalition is holding a special Solution Saturday event from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, FEB. 29, at 1030 Airport Way next to Rocky Mountain Hardware. John Reuter, a local energy consultant and solar installer, will share what goes into a home with no utility bill. Thanks to new building science and technologies, it’s possible to build homes that produce as much energy as they consume, he said. Among the topics: thermal envelope, mechanical systems and occupant to-dos.
  • The North Valley Climate Action Coalition will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, MARCH 12, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum. For more information, contact or at 208-309-3242. Or, visit
  • The Hailey Climate Action Coalition will hold its March meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, MARCH 10, at Natural Grocers, 710 N. Main St. in Hailey.
  • The Hailey Climate Action Coalition will hold its April meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, APRIL 14, at Natural Grocers, 710 N. Main St. in Hailey.







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