The Dungenesss River Festival. StreamFest. The 100-Mile Harvest Dinner. Solar tours. Farm tours.
You can take a bird walk, help clean up a beach or a highway, attend a lecture, watch a film or take a class. The list of environmental activities - festivals and celebrations, the chances for action, from building a trail to monitoring a stream - is so overwhelming that I get tired just thinking about it.
Yet, it's convincing evidence that we appreciate the natural beauty and countless wonders of the Olympic Peninsula. We're willing to help sustain this lovely bit of Mother Nature surrounding us. We hope to find ways to live sustainably, creating resilient lives for ourselves. We're doing our best to be mindful of the legacy we'll leave to our children and grandchildren.
According to folks I've been talking with, we're also feeling stretched thin. Overcommitted. Exhausted. Some drop out for a while, others slog on, convinced that if we don't do our chosen bit - no one else will. No one wants the consequences of ignoring our beaches or using countless plastic bags. Things are too dire to consider not supporting our local farms and businesses and schools and community groups.
It's true. Our little blue planet is in crisis. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that human activities keep pumping into the atmosphere keep heating things up, melting glaciers, including those in our own backyard, making the oceans, including the Salish Sea, acidic, whipping up record-breaking storms and weather systems.
And there is no Planet B.
No wonder we feel stressed, overburdened, maybe a bit confused. Because we, too, are creatures living in a stressed environment as surely as any thwarted salmon, displaced elk or pelican starving with a belly full of plastic.
Our harbor seals and killer whales double their bodies' toxic burdens of PCBs, DDT, PBDEs and other toxic chemicals every three years.
It's the same for us land-dwelling bipeds.
Holly Lohuis, a marine biologist with the Ocean Futures Society, said, "Jean-Michel Cousteau, myself, and my then-4-year-old son Gavin were tested for these harmful substances, and I was horrified to see how contaminated we were.
"In 2009 we teamed up with California EPA and participated in a pilot program to screen our blood and urine to reveal our 'body burden' for as many as 30 synthetic chemicals. In findings that still bring me to tears, I learned that my son's levels of toxic flame retardants were off the charts." (See holly-lohuis/killer-whales)
The moral: We are all in this together.
Unlike orcas and pelicans, however, we can act wisely.
And what might that look like? As my Australian sister-in-law says, "This has knobs on it!"
Can we grab hold of an issue so big, so complex, so interconnected?
One suggestion: Let's learn from Mother Nature. That starts with acknowledging that our political boundaries, systems, rules and regulations mean nothing to the air, the oceans, the forests and other living creatures.
It's a challenge to see the Olympic Peninsula as a whole, living, interconnected ecosystem and to find creative ways to come together in mutual respect, to plan thoughtfully, to tap our collective wisdom before acting.
This is a slower, gentler, more inclusive process than our conventional yes/no, majority rules decision-making.
You can see the small, new shoots sprouting up.
It's at the heart of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe's proposal for a Salish Village to reclaim the old Rayonier mill site.
You can learn more about it at the Center for Community Design in The Landing mall, (115 E. Railroad Ave., Suite 213, Port Angeles) where there's an open house from 5-6:30 p.m. on Fridays.
Start working with Mother Nature by taking part in the 350.org Tree Challenge on Oct. 10, helping plant 350 new trees across the peninsula.
Scientists say that 350 ppm of CO2 is a safe limit for humanity. Earth's atmosphere is now at 392 ppm - and trees naturally absorb CO2 and release oxygen.
If you're ready to begin a collaborative project with neighbors, friends, co-workers or those at your house of worship, call 582-0893 for details. Learn more at www.350.org/NOCCA.
My goal as a columnist is to share and explore what thoughtful stewardship means for us as individuals, as members of our community and citizens of the Earth. I'm a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Society of Journalists and Authors and belong to local writers' groups.
Before moving to Clallam County, I was a newspaper columnist in Boulder, Colo. As a freelancer, I've published more than 800 articles in popular science magazines, daily and weekly newspapers, local and national magazines. My work - and my first book - garnered some national awards along the way.
Diana Somerville's columns run every other week in the Gazette. She can be reached at columnists@sequim