Monday January 11th 6:00 PM Petalumans, Show Up for Bold Climate Action on Monday!
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The Petaluma Climate Action Commission is encouraging the adoption of the 2030 carbon neutrality goal, which is ambitious and based on what the best science tells us is necessary for Petaluma to contribute to mitigating climate change. By showing up to Monday’s meeting, you can help encourage the Petaluma City Council to adopt the Climate Emergency Framework! Please consider sharing a few words to give gratitude for the vital work that the city and the community have done to move The Framework forward. Here are a few important talking points to consider:
- The Framework correctly prioritizes frontline-line communities and sets in place urgent priority action and direction for the City.
- The Framework prioritizes policy and programmatic attention for lower income and communities of color.
- Given the urgent dangers of climate change, the City needs to prepare for known and expected impacts from it.
- This is going to take our whole community. The City will need to engage, educate and partner in order to meet the goals outlined in the framework.
- The recommended Early Actions are critical to the City beginning to act on climate change and should be adopted.
Please, critically, add conservation/ecology (urban conservation) as your top concern! Climate change requires scientific solutions, not social justice. Leading with “frontline communities” is, respectfully, speciesism. Humans are not endangered, whereas 60% of the world’s animals are extinct or endangered in just the last 40 years. Biodiversity is vital to humans’ survival. Urban development is the #1 cause of species loss, including critical pollinators. We are putting our own food security in jeopardy.
We are a river town. The Petaluma River is a major tributary of San Pablo Bay. It is vital that we turn our attentions towards protecting our rare and irreplaceable river ecosystems (e.g., riparian, wetlands, oak savannah), to protect biodiversity/special status species, to ensure the flood storage capacity of the floodplain, healthy river flows, filter contaminants, and protect groundwater recharge (a limited resource in Petaluma). Wetlands hold the GREATEST volume of carbon. This is where the focus in regards to climate change effects needs to be centered. Even China (article below) is limiting human encroachment into ecologically sensitive and vulnerable areas, and is enforcing strict conservation in order to guarantee ecological security.
This framework document should include, at a minimum, a “rights of nature” clause. That our ecosystems, including trees, animals, rivers, have rights. For indigenous cultures, recognizing the rights of nature is simply what is, and consistent with their traditions of living in harmony with nature. We are unique in that we have a major policy document, the Petaluma River & Enhancement Plan, funded by a grant from the CA Coastal Conservancy and vetted by 25 environmental agencies and organizations, that lays out how unique our river is, and that its ecosystems need to be protected. This major policy document is rarely consulted or adhered to and I see no mention of it here in this climate framework.
The climate framework must lead with carbon sequestration. To achieve that, yes we need better vehicle emission standards and to shift towards electric vehicles. That said, every top environmental organization has made the point that reducing vehicle emissions will not achieve the results that are needed to meet climate change goals. What IS needed are Nature-Based Climate Solutions. They are in fact one of the most cost effective assets in the fight against climate change.
The Nat’l Academy of Sciences published a recent study that shows nature conservation can provide 1/3 of the emission reductions needed. Protecting our river wetlands from paving/development accomplishes 2 critical goals: it allows for vital carbon storage, and allows for people and wildlife to adapt to changing conditions. Were we to create climate smart parks the length of our river corridor, we could provide a reprieve for inner-city folk that might otherwise be subject to the heat island effect, and time spent outside under shade trees, means our reliance on electric/gas cooling systems are lessened. Restoring our degraded river lands and enhancing our existing natural ecosystems can help absorb CO2 generated from other sectors, and especially building and construction, which are considerable.