Amy Cilimburg and Abby Huseth

A span of five years can seem like the blink of an eye - but at other times, it can feel like a lifetime. Today, for us and from the perspective of the climate movement, it feels like the latter.

As we prepare to host our 5th annual Climate & Clean Energy Expo (this Saturday, September 23, at Caras Park!) we’ve been reflecting on how far we’ve come in the past five years - and what possibilities lie ahead.

Five years ago at our first Expo, our community was just beginning to explore options for reaching a goal that seemed audacious at the time: 100% clean electricity for Missoula. Now, the city and county have committed to achieving that goal by 2030, and it no longer seems radical.

In addition, the movement to “electrify everything” has taken off, and we’ve launched our own Electrify Missoula campaign - recognizing that switching from fossil fuel powered appliances and vehicles to electric ones goes hand in hand with getting that electricity from renewable sources like the sun.

Five years ago, we had federal government leadership that was actively hostile toward climate change, going so far as to erase the words from agency websites. Today, we’re starting to see the transformative benefits of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act here in Montana, as unprecedented funding for climate and clean energy projects makes its way to residents, businesses, non-profits, and local government. Climate momentum is building.

In five more years -- 2028 – we’ll be just 2 years shy of the momentous year 2030. What will the next five years hold, and what part will each of us play in transforming our community and world?

This Saturday, September 23, is a great opportunity to start to answer those questions. Come down to Caras Park between 10am and 2pm for our Climate and Clean Energy Expo, a free, family-friendly community celebration. This year, there will be 30+ organizations and businesses ready to visit with attendees, inspire action, and answer questions. There will be fun activities for all ages, including:

  • A Family-Friendly area, hosted by Families for a Livable Climate, with creative activities including cape-making for the October 1 Climate Protector Ride

  • An electric bicycle and electric car & truck show, plus a Mountain Line electric bus

  • Solar installers and sustainability-focused organizations and businesses

  • Five-minute trivia on the hour, with prizes!

Plus, there will be several opportunities to learn more about home electrification and what the Inflation Reduction Act means for Missoula residents and businesses.

We hope you’ll join us this Saturday at Caras Park - bring your friends and family to this creative and engaging Expo, and pass the word. For details visit:

Tackling the climate crisis is urgent and there have never been more opportunities for all of us to be part of the solutions, right here in Missoula and Montana. Together we can build a safer climate and a stronger community.

Amy Cilimburg is the Executive Director and Abby Huseth is the Deputy Director of Climate Smart Missoula. Climate Smart Missoula brings this Climate Connections column to you two Fridays of every month. Learn more about our work and sign up for our e-newsletter at