Dan Bish struggles with what trees or native plants to stock and recommend in his Talent nursery business as summers get hotter. For farmworkers Maricela Ruelas and Juan Escareño, smoke has become a seasonal ordeal as they toil in the fields.

They are among a dozen Rogue Valley citizens who voice their concerns about climate change in a documentary film created by Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN) that premieres at 6pm, Tuesday, November 28, in the community room of the central library in Medford. Another showing is planned for 2pm, Wednesday, December 6, in the Ashland branch library main meeting room downstairs.

The issues raised in the film, called Voices of the Valley: Stories of How Climate Change Is Affecting Our Lives, range from concerns about the damage to forest resources and air quality from wildfires, impacts on health, safety and the local economy from severe storms, and steps each of us can take at home and in our communities to reduce the rate of climate change.

Other people interviewed besides the three named above are:

  • Ashland activist and mother Sarah Spansail.
  • Alison Carey and Claudia Alick of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.
  • Suzanne Willow and Lanita Witt, owners of a ranch in the Cascade foothills.
  • James Shames, medical director for Jackson County Health and Human Services.
  • University student activist Nicoletta Dinelli of Talent.
  • Amelia O’Skea, a student at Ashland Middle School, and her teacher Jen Craugh.
  • Dan Wahpepah, a Native American leader living in rural Jackson County.

As part of the “Voices of the Valley” project there is an exhibit featuring local citizens comments on climate change with accompanying portrait pictures at the Ashland library. The exhibit will be up until Saturday, December 9. The library, at 410 Siskiyou Blvd, is open Monday, 10am-8pm; Tuesday & Wednesday,10am-6pm; Thursday & Saturday, 12pm-5pm; and Sunday, 12pm-4pm. It is closed Friday.

The documentary film, almost a year in the making, is part of Medford-based SOCAN’s focus on educating the public about climate change, a threat most scientists say is happening at a faster pace today because of human activity. Warming temperatures, more frequent and fiercer storms, and longer fire seasons are among the projected effects, they say.

Besides the “Voices of the Valley” project, SOCAN has ongoing efforts to bring climate concerns to the attention of government officials, offers periodic local classes on climate science, presents films and lectures on different aspects of climate change at the open monthly meetings, and cooperates with other local groups on issues ranging from protection of national monuments to clean energy initiatives and support for the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.