Addressing climate crisis
Early on in Mayor Carter’s 2020 Budget address, he said the following about the Climate Crisis:
“We must act to protect our environment and adapt to the impacts of climate crisis on our city.” Afterward, he noted several ways in which the city is attempting to address the climate crisis, such as increase non-carbon transit options, cooperation with Minneapolis to install 70 electric vehicle-charging stations, expanded bike lanes, etc.
I support those ideas and give the Mayor credit for his leadership in those areas. However, I will admit some frustration with how the Mayor and/or the city are approaching this issue of the Climate Crisis. Similar to what our state, nation, world community and many individuals are doing, the issue is looked at as yet another priority to address. It is looked at as yet another issue to get in line for the funding stream. The reality is that it is THE issue of our time, present and future.
If we looked at climate change as priority No. 1, the reality of its daunting nature and its solutions would be easier to see. We would see that our concerns about education, poverty, violence, immigration are all tied into this issue. We would also see that any and all decisions made about those other issues need to be made looking through the lens of the Climate Crisis. We would see that we must stop looking at the issue with what can we afford to do but rather what we need to do. To compare this to other issues, let’s pretend we have a sick child. None of us would ask the doctor, “What can we afford to do? What is the most pragmatic, etc., action to take?” We would ask, “What do we need to do?” regardless of cost.
With that in mind, I want to thank the city of St. Paul for its leadership, but I will also throw some specific challenges and/or questions their way. It has been estimated that St. Paul has the solar capacity for 800 MW of energy, yet we are planning to develop only 300MW of that by 2050. Why? When we look at new building/new developments (i.e. the Ford site), we are still seeing the use of natural gas. Why?
As the new green economy develops, our city, the nation and the world will need the workers to fill those green jobs. How are we as a city being a leader in giving our residents the skills to become those green workers?
I will end with a quote shared by the Climate Justice Now movement:
“We need everyone, everywhere doing everything all the time as quickly as possible.”
St. Paul, nice job so far, but you are on the clock and it’s time to keep moving.
St. Anthony Park
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