What is the Columbia Climate Change Coaltiion?

Written by Monta Welch.

Columbia, Missouri, 65209
E-Mail:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone:   (573) 443-4717






220px-An Inconvenient Truth Film Poster

An inconveninet Truth



The Columbia Climate Change Coalition exists to address the need to take individual and collective action on personal, local, regional, state, national, and international levels to reduce the human contribution to the global climate crisis, to help others understand that we must take significant and quick action now and to facilitate that action, as best we can, through every available means in our power.

We Plan to Accomplish This in a Variety of Different Ways:

*  We plan to facilitate communication and interaction ranging from the individual to a broad spectrum of groups on the issue of global warming, in order to assist and enable them to make better decisions every day that will move us toward greater sustainability now.

*  We plan to continue to form and work with alliances in public and private schools; religious and civic organizations; business, government and various media, to build a cooperative community that will curtail emissions that contribute to global climate change. 

*  We plan to educate and provide models and tools for as many as possible through these alliances and to help organize and motivate them toward greater sustainability.

*  We plan to help people to understand that, by addressing the human contribution to global warming, there will be changes in the way we live and interact with the world; that these changes would be wise for good reasons besides global climate change; that there will be numerous benefits reaped in addition to reducing greenhouse gases; that these changes will provide many different opportunities ranging from business to personal and from the individual to the collective; and that these changes will enhance our quality of life in many ways, including but not limited to saving money, improving health, improving social interactions, providing a cleaner environment and sustainable lifestyles.

* We plan to act as a clearinghouse and ally for other groups with similar or related goals, as we all work together to address the issue of Global Climate Change, so we can better assist one another in a common goal and become more effective, efficient and productive in our efforts.

Some of the educational events we've sponsored or been associated with in the past:

*  Screening of Gasland
*  Call to action to save the state Renewable Energy Standard
*  Earth Hour 2011
*  The Hip-Hop Caucus

During the last half of 2005, I began to hear more about the science of Global Warming and how scientists were beginning to be alarmed with the speed-up of changes due to warming that they were seeing in their research which they had been conducting for many years, even decades. I very quickly understood the dilemma everyone on the planet was in and that we needed to “get it” and “get it fast” while we might have a chance to do something about it. I knew it meant everything for future generations and, as fast as the changes are coming, even for those of us still alive now.

But no one was “getting it” or at least no one was making enough noise that I could see something would be happening that would wake people up. So, I figured there was only one thing to do and that was, do it myself. I tried to think how best I could reach the most people with the least amount of energy and money, which I did not have, so I copied off a bunch of this science information and headed off to the local television stations, thinking surely someone there would be alarmed too. I talked to people there and left copies. I called the newspapers and still nothing happened. It just didn’t seem to be news, there were no special editors for that type of news, etc.

I sometimes describe the situation to people, as a giant snowball at the top of a mountain, picking up speed and mass, like the exponential factor with global warming, as it got bigger and bigger and faster and faster headed towards the tiny village below and that all the villagers better drop everything else and head up the mountain, as fast as they could, to try whatever they could to stop that gigantic snowball from getting bigger and faster with every passing second as it rushed towards the tiny village. Of course, many of the people were skeptical because they couldn’t see that far up the mountain from where they werd like a tiny, insignificant thing at the top of the mountain, from their perspective, so far away; or, for all their reasons, they just felt better to be in denial.

But, I knew that I had to keep on trying to help wake people up any way I possibly could, so enough of them would “get it” and try to do something about that snowball before it devastated the village. By now, it was the late spring early summer of 2006 and “An Inconvenient Truth” was just being released. Things seemed like they might change. Still, it was pretty slow and the snowball was heading at us.

The film was shown a few times here in Columbia; but not much changed. So, as summer was ending, I decided to head down to the Columbia Public Schools and see if there was anything I could accomplish there. As I was making my rounds, I discovered another co-worker on this journey. I was informed by one of the owners of Ragtag filmPaul Sturtz, had offered a public service to the Columbia Public Schools science teachers to show the educational documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”, to their students. I contacted him to see if he was getting anywhere with that and if I might help or we could collaborate in any way. Only one teacher had responded with any interest, but no takers. So I suggested to him that we just put on a big event ourselves and invite teachers and students, as well as the general public, since Columbia was getting set to begin the Visioning Process and all of us needed to know more about global climate change, especially if we were interested to make plans for the future of our city.

So, Paul and I began promoting the event we had scheduled for early November 2006. I worked hard. With my daughter’s help, I made up a flyer and took it to the school board for approval, then on to the heads of the Science Departments at the middle schools, and junior and senior high schools. I asked teachers if they could consider giving extra points for a report on a science documentary and, if so, to encourage their students to see it-- many were helpful, some were not. I then headed to the college campuses to post flyers and talk to the science teachers there, when I could. I made phone calls. I got a couple of small mentions in the Tribune and Missourian newspapers. My daughter and her friends helped me pass out flyers at several of the City Visioning promotional events.

I invited Jan Weaver, Director of the MU Environmental Studies Programand Jim Carrel, long-time Biology Professor at MU, to lead the public discussion we had planned for after the film and arranged for educational tables sponsored by: Rock Bridge High School Global Issues Club, MU Environmental Studies Program, Missourians for Safe Energy, and the Sierra Club. The Rock Bridge High School Global Issues Club and their teacher sponsors, Matt Webel and Katie Glover, were really great and did a good job of getting the word out at RBHS and putting together an awesome table and display. The kids were so great I could have squeezed them ‘til their heads popped off!!

The big night arrived at the historic Missouri Theater, with “An Inconvenient Truth” shining out on the marquee! We had no idea how many would attend, but planed for about 300- 400 people. We were floored when lots of people and lots and lots of kids kept pouring in. We heard that the line was down the block and around the corner. Finally, we got everyone in and there were almost no seats left. There were almost 1,000 people there that night! It was a success beyond our wildest dreams, with people and students from towns around; including, as far away as Moberly Community College Moberly, and a bus load of students from Fulton High School. This night was the beginning of the Columbia Coalition on Global Climate Change (CCGCC), as we were originally known and what a great night it was!

A few short weeks later, the CCGCC sponsored one of many national “Holiday House Parties”, which were being promoted by Al Gore and several other national groups such as the Sierra Club, Move OnStop Global Warming, to show the film again, to further educate the public on the seriousness of global warming issue. These “Holiday House Parties” were held in setting smaller than a large film theater such as, homes, small businesses and community centers, churches, etc. all across the nation to facilitate dialogue and discussion on the issue. CCGCC partnered withKevin Walsh at Kevin’s World to host a “Holiday House Party” for Columbia area citizens. While much smaller, this event was very successful and Kevin’s World was filled with people wanting to know more about global warming.

Next, we simultaneously took on three actions. First, we held another showing of “An Inconvenient Truth”, which, by now, had won two Oscar’s. This event was held at the Blue Note, at the close of the True/ False Film Festival, as an encore, curtain call for this acclaimed, educational documentary and as a public service, courtesy of Richard King at the Blue Note. A diverse and goodly number of people attended, and information tables were sponsored by the Missourians for Safe Energy and CCGCC.

The second of these simultaneous events was an unexpected opportunity to further reach out and support our community, when the community discovered that a Neo-Nazi group was coming to town. The community banded together to counter this event by planning a Celebration of Diversity, to be held in Douglass Park to off set the Neo-Nazi parade. The Diversity Celebration was held all afternoon on Saturday, March 10th with lots of food, music, and booths. CCGCC had a display of alternative energy options and information on Climate Change and how we can all save money and help the environment at the same time. We also invited everyone to attend our Step It Up, National Day of Climate Change Action that was to be held the following month. It was a beautiful day and there was a lot of diversity represented at Douglass Park with everyone uniting to oppose hate in our town and learn about all the positive things taking place here in Columbia. We made lots of new connections and were glad to be a part of something so beautiful.

The last of these three actions is now well known as “Step It Up 2007”, National Day of Climate Change Action and was an historic event. It was the largest ever, national gathering on Planet Earth to call for Government action on Global Climate Change! On this special day, April 14th 2007 people gathered across America because they cared. They gathered in every state of the Union in over 1,350 locations in large groups and small, in iconic places to show what we did not want to lose. They gathered on melting, mountaintop glaciers and under water at dying coral reefs. They gathered in parks and community centers, at government buildings and wild life refuges; they planted trees and tapped others for maple syrup to celebrate what we have been given and to show hope for the future, all the while, asking Congress to cut carbon. They gathered, young and old, from all walks of life, in whatever the weather presented that day, all across the nation, to say “Step It Up, Cut CO2 80% by 2050” and, here in Columbia, we joined them in that rally cry, as we ourselves stepped it up, to unite in that call on a very cold and windy day, when most outdoor activities were cancelled or poorly attended.

Our Step It Up rally, here in Columbia, was planned to symbolize our democracy, designed for the people to speak out peacefully to influence government when they think the government needs to hear from them. It was designed to symbolize the importance of education in our society, the open-mindedness needed to gain wisdom and the importance of using wisdom in our everyday lives and actions, understanding that what we choose affects others as well and that that knowledge brings responsibility. It was planned to reflect the inclusivity of our democracy and our very vigilant efforts to keep it that way.+

Our bodies were cold but our hearts were warm as we knew we were standing up and stepping up for something very important, the futures of our children and grandchildren, the care and concern for people around the world and the plants and the animals and all of creation.

We listened to distinguished speakers on the perspectives of science and religion. Retired minister, Mel West, former International Board Member of Habitat for Humanity, former International Board Member for Heifer International, and founder of the Personal Energy Transportation (PET) Project, which supplies wheelchairs to the needy around the world, spoke on why the Church and people of all faiths should care about Global Climate Change. He encouraged all of us to take action and to become more responsible stewards with what we’ve been given.

Jan Weaver, Director of the MU Environmental Studies Program, talked about the latest Climate Change science. In her address she referenced and quoted from numerous august scientific bodies including the work of over 2,000 scientists from countries around the world, whose findings have been reported to the United Nations via it’s specially appointed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Her address passed on the urgency for immediate action to address climate change, which scientists believe is mainly being caused by humans rather than other explanations such as volcanoes or solar flares.

I introduced and read our petitions, which were created to give government direction and a good start on our rally call to reduce emissions. Our petitions included three requests each of Federal, State, and Local Government. I introduced our “ Reduce Your Carbon Footprint” Pledge Sheet and invited everyone to join our “Footprint Parade” with their pledges to reduce personal carbon emissions and to sign our government petitions.

We were very pleased that our special guests showed up in spite of the bad weather. We want especially to thank the following for their attendance:

Representative Judy Baker, Missouri House of Representatives
Councilman Chris Janku, Columbia City Council
Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe, Columbia City Council
Councilman Karl Skala, Columbia City Council
Councilman Jerry Wade, Columbia City Council
Nick Peckham, President of the U.S. Green Building Council of Missouri

These representatives should be commended for showing their concern for this important issue and acknowledged for their work and efforts in this regard.

We played recorded music specially created for Step It Up’s national campaign and had information tables and displays provided byMissourians for Safe EnergyPed Net CoalitionPersonal Energy Transportation (PET) Project, and the League of Women Voters provided volunteers for our petition tables.

We closed our event with a march, carrying banners and signs uniting us with many other Americans across the country that day. The young folks and students, joined by a handful of brave elders, represented our group, as those who chose to march on this very cold day headed down the historic Avenue of the Columns, 8th Street, from the Courthouse to MU, past the columns there and on to Speaker’s Circle, to end this historic day with a brief speech I gave there.

I would like to thank and honor all those who attended that day as true Champions! I would like to acknowledge all those who walked or took bikes on this cold day, including Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe and Ian Thomas and his family who transported the Ped Net display on bicycles. I would like to thank them and everyone who came that day for being such great role models and climate change heroes! A very special thanks goes to our co-sponsors; League of Women Voters, Missourians for Safe Energy, and Sustain Mizzou.

The very cold Step It Up rally was followed the next weekend by a very successful and much warmer Earth Day, where the members of the Columbia Climate Change Coalition had a booth and a lot of fun as we literally held our tent down and taped our petitions to the table while we endured strong wind gusts and periodic downpours to fill page after page of our Petitions with signatures and gather more Pledges.

Thank you volunteers for all your help on all our events!!


Oscar Nominated Documentary by Josh Fox about the consequences of natural gas drilling, especially on underground water aquifers.




(The Hive for you True/False folks)


On the corner of Broadway and Ripley Street





Support/Save Renewable Energy development in Missouri!


Governor Nixon has heard but needs to continue hearing from us


Please take/retake all of these 5 easy, immediate actions!!

1) Call the Governor's office at: (573) 751-3222 and speak to the issue from the (sample) letter or articles below and at end of this section.

It will be very important for the governor to hear from you!

2) You will not get directly through to him, so please speak to his scheduler AND constituent services director, requesting they each one make sure to:

A) Schedule a brief appointment for you, by phone or in person, with Governor Nixon, and

B) See that Governor Nixon also hears from them, regarding your conversation asking to develop renewable energy in Missouri, as his position supports the renewable energy jobs, economic recovery, a cleaner environment and healthier people-- intended by the voter mandate of 2008, Proposition C—an estimated 10,000 jobs and billions in economic development that legislators, apparently without vision, influenced by lobbyists and utilities, caring for their short-term profits rather than even their own long-term good or the short and long-term benefit of their state, constituents, consumers and fellow citizens, plan to send anywhere out-of-state. Ask them to "tell Governor Nixon to help support the clear intent and 'will-of-the-people' and bring cleaner renewable energy to Missouri! (See #4, Governor's response to our earlier actions)

C) Request a written reply with his plan to develop renewable energy, reminding him that certain kinds of 'agri-energy' and certain types of biomass reduce carbon less effectively and add unnecessary pressure to national and global food prices and security.

Director of Constituent Services: Barb Shimmens Schedule Director: Brent Thayer

At the same office # 573-751-3222, as above:

3) Follow through and copy and paste (sample) letter (you may edit, personalize, or write your own--up to 2,000 words) at:

If you wish, or have access, you may also print off and fax this/your statement to: fax # (573) 751-1495

4) View Governor Nixon's response to SCR-1:

5) IMMEDIATELY FORWARD to all your lists and social media.


Sample Letter:

Governor Nixon,

As you know, the Public Service Commission originally interpreted the voter mandated Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in the way backers intended and heavily publicized it. As Ameren became aware of the Commission's interpretation on geographic sourcing, suspiciously, and well after the allowed deadline for rescinding or changes, their rule was rescinded by their own, later vote, 3-2. Now SCR-1has passed the House and Senate.

We urge you to find a way to implement and respect the clear 'will of the people', support almost 10,000 jobs and billions in economic recovery by developing cleaner, 'less expensive to develop', renewable energy in Missouri! It seems many of our leaders, influenced by Ameren, prefer to invest in costlier nuclear and non-renewable energy, in Missouri, ignoring 'the people', sending more 'cost-effective investment' in wind and solar and other renewables to more 'forward-thinking' people!

Does it make sense to send good jobs and an improved economy to other states? Ignoring the wisdom of the electorate is definitely not good politics or good for Missouri!

Finally, Missouri's SEMA has said, "weather may be the greatest threat to homeland security"; and, having diverse renewable energy solutions across the state would definitely assist with Missouri's preparedness, public safety, public health and cleaner environment-- attractive to most business, improve long-term sustainability and reduce more emissions--including water vapor, an often overlooked GHG emission with nuclear production!



Thank you for your consideration! I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply.

Sincerely, (or Respectfully,)

(Your name, title, address—if room/in boxes provided)

For more information:

House Committee Moves Renewable Energy Language BillMissouri House, Senate set to kill energy law, Editorial:

EARTH HOUR (click for more info)


MARCH 26th, 2011 8:30-9:30 PM

In 2010, Mayor Hindman proclaimed Earth Hour for all of Columbia

Mayor McDavid has proclaimed Earth Hour for 2011

Mayor Hindman proclaims Earth Hour

Mayor Hindman, in 2010, proclaims Earth Hour for all of Columbia

Join us Tuesday, March 22, for an Earth Hour "Kickoff" Event at City Hall!

Earth Hour 2011 'Green Tour' of the new City Hall expansion starts at 9AM from the Lobby, immediately followed by the "Reading of the Proclamation", 10 AM in the Council Chambers, to include an Earth Hour Week 'Alternative Transportation Challenge' issued by the City, Columbia Climate Change Coalition, and Ped-Net.


HipHop Caucus

Columbia Tribune coverage of the Caucus.
Missourian coverage of the Caucus.