Arcata declares climate emergency, citizens demand action

Students speak on the Plaza during the Humboldt Climate Strike. Photo by Bob Doran | Union

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

HUMBOLDT – As part of a youth-organized protest spanning 150 countries, citizens gathered en masse on the Arcata Plaza last Friday to demand action on climate change.

Speakers decried the gulf between the magnitude of the global warming threat and decisive action by political leaders.

Struggling to be heard in the noisy rally, theylinked global warming to a variety of causes, including fossil fuels, deforestation, animal agriculture, ineffective leadership, capitalism and corporate misbehavior.

Meanwhile, with public concern and support peaking, an assortment of local, state and national officials weighed in in support of the students’ action, which took place three days before the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019 got underway. Some local leaders issued statements endorsing the Climate Strike and call to action.

T. Rex speaks with authority. KLH | Union

The City Council last week voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting a Declaration of Climate Emergency.

“Arcata, like many parts of the world, is already suffering impacts of climate change in the form of droughts and increased lowland flooding,” states the resolution. “The severity of these impacts will only increase if global greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced.”

“Our young people rightfully ask: ‘What good is an education that prepares students for a future that

we cannot survive?’” read a statement from sitting school board members across the state. “ We should listen to them, support them, and join them.”

“Thank you for what you’re doing today, and will be doing in the months ahead,” wrote Rep. Jared Huffman. “Our future depends on the decisions we make in the coming decade – and your focused activism will help push for the clean energy future.”

Protesters advocate for science. KLH | Union

City of Arcata press release

THE CITY OF ARCATAENDORSES A DECLARATION OF CLIMATE EMERGENCY

Arcata, CA, September 20, 2019 – At the Arcata City Council meeting held on Wednesday, September 18, presiding members of the Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting a Declaration of Climate Emergency. Adopting this resolution solidified Arcata’s commitment to a just transition away from fossil fuels and a climate emergency mobilization effort to reverse global warming.

The world’s leading climate scientists have found that global warming caused by the emissions of greenhouse gasses from human activities is among the most significant problem facing the world today. Arcata, like many parts of the world, is already suffering impacts of climate change in the form of droughts and increased lowland flooding. The severity of these impacts will only increase if global greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced.

For years, Arcata has provided local, regional and national leadership regarding environmental and climate change reversal policy and practices. Over several decades, the City has made a commitment to reversing the effects of climate change with ongoing efforts including, but not limited to:

• Establishing the Arcata Community Forest in 1955, which increases tree volume each year to sequester carbon locally

• Creating a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan in 2006

• Developing a new Climate Action Plan and an All-Electric Initiative

• Implementing a Zero Waste Action Plan

• Purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity for all City operations

• The ongoing conversion of City facilities to Zero-Net Energy, with three facilities completed. The City of Arcata resolves to continue to actively work on renewable energy development, work to switch from natural and liquid gas fuel to electric each year and supply 100 percent of the City’s operational electricity through renewable sources.

Further, the City will continue to track and monitor greenhouse gas emissions towards the goal of elimination and continue to educate and inform residents, businesses and visitors on preparedness actions we can all take to address impacts of the climate emergency in the form of disasters including droughts, wildfire, air pollution, power outages, increased risk of lowland flooding and other climate-related disasters.

The City encourages public participation toward greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, including input from disenfranchised communities, and recognizes that Arcata residents, community organizations, labor organizations, businesses and schools are integral to leading this effort.

For community resources on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, achieve zero waste and to learn more about the City’s efforts, please visit cityofarcata.org/614/Sustainability-Programs.

Statement from School Board members across California:

“As elected school board members across California, we strongly support our students and young people participating in the political process and stepping up in civic leadership to address the climate emergency that profoundly impacts their -- and all of our -- lives.

We call on school districts, colleges, and universities across the United States to follow the lead of New York City Public Schools and consider allowing their students to participate in the Climate Strikes.

Our young people rightfully ask: “What good is an education that prepares students for a future that we cannot survive?”  They are demanding immediate reductions in worldwide carbon emissions and increases in renewable energy. They understand the perils that lie ahead. We should listen to them, support them, and join them.”

Signed,

Dr. Kelly Kent
President, Culver City Unified School District Board of Education

Chris Ungar
Board Member, San Luis Coastal Unified School District Board of Education

Alisa MacAvoy
Trustee, Redwood City School District Board of Education

Frank Crawford
Trustee, Marysville Joint Unified School District Board of Education

Lange Parks Luntao
Board President & Trustee, Stockton Unified School District Board of Education

Statement by Rep. Jared Huffman
(Note: Huffman's statement was released as a flattened pdf – essentially a photograph of the text. A request for the actual text of his statement yielded no return. – Ed.) 

The rally at the Plaza's center. KLH | Union







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