The phrase “climate change” conjures many thoughts and feelings: tragic, irreversible, even a man-made hoax. Whatever your beliefs may be, “fun” is probably the last word that comes to mind on the subject. Climate Action Santa Monica (CASM) looks to change that with an intertwining of education, engagement, and yes, even fun with climate issues in their first annual ClimateFest.

Co-produced by the City of Santa Monica in partnership with CASM, ClimateFest is billed as “an all-day community engagement event geared for adults and children” via the local grassroots organization’s website.

Katharine King, a CASM co-chair, said the goal of the event is to attract someone who may not be active or even aware of climate change and to educate them in an engaging way.

The festival approach was a carefully orchestrated idea, meant to counteract the “doom and gloom” narrative often attached to climate change.

“We know ‘fun’ and climate issues don’t necessarily go in the same sentence,” King said in a phone call to the Daily Press. “It’s a bit of an experiment, but we want to get more people interested in climate issues and even sustainability. We wanted to offer fun ways to change a few habits here and there that benefit themselves and earth.”

While the fest has the usual climate-talk suspects such as panels and keynote speakers (including Felicia Marcus, Chair of the California Water Boards), it’ll also consist of upcycling workshops (turning unused or old shirts into tote bags is one event), composting in urban environment workshops, information booths, rock climbing, a bicycle hub (tune-ups, safety check, and a skills course), music from DJ Derek Rath, and raffles and prizes.

“We want it to be more accessible than anything we’ve ever produced,” King said. “We hope with this festival, we’ve given it enough different elements and different activities so people can personalize their experience.”

Although the event isn’t until May 19, King suggests planning ahead, as you would any other festival. The quantity of activities to do, she said, allows people of all ages and interests to find a day’s worth of engaging options for them.

“We want people to follow their own experiences and passions to make the most of their day,” she said. “There’s something for everybody, which is boring to say, but it’s true.”

ClimateFest takes place May 19 at St. Monica’s Catholic Community Campus. The event is free, though registration is requested and required to receive free raffle and meal tickets. Walking and biking to the event are encouraged, with valet bike parking available. Registrations can be made at