350 Pensacola Statement: Support the City’s Climate Change Task Force Resolution

Press Release: In January 2012, 350 Pensacola presented a sustainability proposal, “A Citizens’ Proposal: Global Problem, Local Solutions,” to the Mayor and Pensacola City Council. At that time, we asked the City to develop a vision that would address our changing climate on a local level and place us on the path to a healthy, equitable and sustainable future. 350 Pensacola pledged to support the City in this endeavor.

Fast forward to August 2014. Our City Council is now asked to consider a Climate Change Task Force resolution tonight. 350 Pensacola calls on the Pensacola City Council to pass this resolution.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Sherri Myers, directs the City’s Environmental Advisory Board (EAB) to recommend membership and the scope of the Task Force’s work, with the EAB reporting back to the Council by December 1, 2014. The work of the Task Force will guide our community in mitigating the causes and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. The climate extremes and variability that have become the “new normal” threaten our ecosystems, our quality of life, our health, and our economy. The poor and the elderly are especially vulnerable. We, as nations, communities, and individuals, must address this threat.

While climate change is a global issue, local governments play a significant role in the big picture. Environmental programs, codes and policies can support both economic and environmental goals, leading to energy and fiscal savings, new business and employment opportunities, innovative transportation choices, and a healthier, vibrant community.

Our community must define and adopt a climate action plan. We believe that the creation of a Climate Change Task Force will launch collaboration between the City and County that will culminate in smart climate action for northwest Florida. Our local action can have a regional impact and can inspire broader action on the state level.

350 Pensacola envisions a city that encourages improvements in land use and the built environment to reduce greenhouse emissions and reverse urban sprawl. We envision a community where new development is in harmony with the natural environment, enhancing the quality of life for all citizens.

We envision a city where infrastructure can withstand the impacts of more extreme weather. We envision a community that learns to become more resilient in the face of floods, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and heat waves.

We envision a city where walking short distances is the rule rather than the exception, where bicycling is safe, and where low-carbon public transportation is readily available to all citizens.

We envision a city where citizens are engaged in the transition to a sustainable, diverse, healthy community. We envision the shift in culture that will guide us for the long term.

The climate crisis gives us an opportunity for great innovation. Together we can move our beautiful city to become a model for our region and for similar cities that are faced with this challenge.

We call on the Pensacola City Council to listen to other communities that are making strides. Lead us. Rise to the occasion. Respond to the challenge of our changing climate.

Elaine Sargent
Director, 350 Pensacola