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Former White House climate advisor to discuss the ‘science of hope’ in Park City

Molly Kawahata.
Park City Community Foundation
Molly Kawahata.

A climate change activist who worked in former President Barack Obama’s administration will speak about the importance of community action in Park City June 4.

The Park City Community Foundation has invited former White House climate advisor Molly Kawahata to speak at the Park City Library about actionable strategies for addressing climate change.

An avid ice climber, Kawahata’s personal and professional life was the subject of a recent documentary called “The Scale of Hope,” which was produced by Patagonia (you can watch the full movie here).

She believes fostering hope, rather than fear, is crucial to making the systemic change required to solve the climate crisis.

“If you want to build a movement long-term and get people involved - fear, guilt and shame is actually not a good strategy, and that’s what the environmental movement has been using,” Kawahata said. “Hope is not just this idea that feels good, or this fluffy concept. Hope is something that’s incredibly effective, and when we can use research-backed communication strategies on climate, we get a lot more people on board. So what I’ll be talking about is how to apply the science of hope, all of these research-backed strategies to the climate movement, in order to make it more accessible, more welcoming, more just and ultimately more effective.”

Kawahata said the majority of American voters regardless of political party are supportive of climate action.

“One of the ways we can really tap into that is how we frame climate change,” she said. “When we frame climate in terms of public health, rather than talking about polar bears dying and glaciers melting in the Arctic, what we’ve found from a mainstream communication strategy is that way more people are on board. So when you frame climate change in terms of clean air, clean water and pollution, people really start to pay attention.”

Kawahata will speak at the Park City Library Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Park City Community Foundation is using the event as a kickoff to the first phase of its zero food waste initiative. The foundation plans to release more details about its residential curbside waste collection program.

Tickets are $10 and can be found here.