Let's Talk Climate is a series of public conversations about climate change impacts, and opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and to mitigate challenges of a changing climate. Facilitated by SE Portland neighbors, our conversations focus on local and regional issues and practical actions.


We imagine that as a result of our conversations we will:
  • increase citizen awareness of the complexities of climate change
  • learn about opportunities for direct action; legislative and policy advocacy at national, state, and local levels; and personal/household choices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to mitigate for impacts of a changing climate, and to build resiliency
  • encourage others to engage in efforts to respond to climate change
  • build community through networking

Let's Talk Climate is independent and organized by a volunteer steering committee meeting around our kitchen tables. We meet at the SEIU union hall on SE Powell in Portland. We are not incorporated nor do we have formal non-profit status. We have operated on a limited budget, funded primarily through donations from attendees. A grant from SE Uplift last year helped us pay the rent.

350PDX and the Oregon Environmental Council co-sponsor our events and assist with publicity.

Steering Committee:

Members of our steering committee have combined experience as citizen activists, entrepreneurial organizers, and event designers. We are

Lynn Merrick
In 2015 Lynn Merrick participated in the Climate Reality training sponsored by Al Gore and returned to Portland inspired to form the Let’s Talk Climate neighborhood group. She is deeply committed to working to reduce emissions, mitigate for climate change impacts, and help provide a “just transition” to a sustainable twenty-first century future.

Lynn is a former educator, certified at both the elementary and high school level. Her career included both classroom instruction and administration as director of Migrant Education for several districts. She was a 1993 recipient of the prestigious National Foundation for the Improvement of Education award, a recipient of the 1995 Generation 21 Kids Grant Award, and a 2007 recipient of a scholarship funding the extracurricular Ethos music program.

Lynn has previous extensive experience with non-profits from the perspective of both employee and board member.

Michael Kronenthal
Michael Kronenthal, a graduate of UC Berkeley in math/physics, initially worked in areas of particle physics — both at UC Berkeley and later at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland — before turning his attention to small business management, eventually becoming a licensed contractor specializing in residential seismic retrofitting in the Bay Area.

A longtime volunteer for the Bay Area Christmas in April and an emergency services Ham Radio group affiliated with the Berkeley fire department, in retirement he has enjoyed installing rainwater catchment systems for nonprofits and exploring grey water recycling. He is also re-igniting his love affair with the violin.

Michael and Lynn have both attended trainings hosted by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute and are former members of the Rocky Mountain Institute National Solutions Council.

Judy Welles
Judy Welles is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister. She and Duane moved to Portland in 2011 when they retired from a 14-year co-ministry serving a new congregation in Pennsylvania. Judy was a Planned Parenthood clinic director in Ventura, CA before seminary. And before that, she worked as a linewoman for the phone company. She knits and dotes on three grandsons and six step-grandchildren.

Duane Fickeisen
Duane Fickeisen is also a retired Unitarian Universalist minister and is married to Judy. In his first career, Duane was a research scientist with the Pacific Northwest Laboratory at Hanford working in aquatic ecosystems, fish physiology, and environmental impacts of hydroelectric dams. Duane was chair of the Planning Commission and served on the City Council for West Richland, WA. He has non-profit management experience as administrator of the The Context Institute, publisher of In Context, the predecessor to Yes! magazine. He also served as interim Executive Director of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and on several non-profit boards. For nearly a decade, he was involved in a leadership school for church leaders in the Pacific Northwest. He cooks, gardens, makes photographs, and is grandfather to six grandchildren and three step-grandsons.

Stephanie Kaza
Stephanie Kaza is professor emerita of University of Vermont where she taught for 24 years and most recently served as Director of the Environmental Program. A native Portlander, she has returned home to add her voice to local climate and sustainability actions. She co-founded the Environmental Council at University of Vermont, a campus-wide consortium on sustainability, and served as the faculty director for the UVM Office of Sustainability and Sustainability Faculty Fellows program. She advises graduate and undergraduate research on sustainability related topics and is currently working on sustainability-related teaching methods. Dr. Kaza is the 2011 winner of the UVM George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching. Her books include Mindfully Green; Hooked! Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume; and The Attentive Heart: Conversations with Trees. She has served on the boards of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences and the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors.

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