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FW: Sept 5 Council Meeting re a Strong CAAB



Dear Major Traber and Corvallis City Councilors,

 

A large amount of money was spent and many hours of work were logged in the process of developing the CCAP, with the goal of facilitating the slowing down of our city’s emissions of GHGs, which are now accumulating in toxic amounts for our planetary life support systems, and are already affecting our climate in very harmful ways. These consequences are especially harmful for people with low incomes and people of color – and all frontline populations.

 

The CCAP development was successful. Another 6 months were needed to come up with a plan for its implementation. Now it's implementation is at risk of being shortchanged due to the lack of adequate financial planning on the City's part.

 

I believe our City has a moral imperative to fully fund the operations of the CAAB, since our people are suffering already from local and regional effects of the changing climate, and no one really knows what disasters are coming next. Isn’t the frequent smoke enveloping our City this summer a wake-up call?

 

We know that our climate has already changed, and is continuing to change, in ways that are harmful to people. This is especially harmful to populations with fewer means, which includes many people of color. The Pope and Patriarch message of Sept 1, 2017 pointed that out to the world:

“The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe. Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures.” (Catholic News Agency, downloaded Sept 3)

 

We must make the CAAB the most effective it can be. As a retired oceanographer, I strongly believe that this is one advisory board that must include people who have various types of expertise in order to advise the City on what it needs to do to facilitate necessary changes, as well as working with the Community. An example is upgrading the convenience of public transit to decrease the GHG pollution caused by so many single rider car trips. This Advisory Board must have adequate staff support, and a minimum of monthly meetings.

 

The Sierra Club, 350.org, and Our Children's Trust has been working hard developing a comprehensive draft of an ordinance that spells out the many ways that a diverse and expert Advisory Board could help guide the City's progress in both mitigation and adaptation. Certainly the advisory board described in the Sierra Club’s ordinance would be far more successful than the one described in the packet for the Sept 5 City Council meeting. Please see the attached Sierra Club publication submitted last June.

 

Climate change is truly an emergency. I urge you to declare an emergency and transfer or raise enough funds to fully empower the CAAB Advisory Board to function at a level that its purpose deserves. How can anyone think otherwise, given the worldwide scientific consensus and the many unusual disasters being experienced by our country and many others in recent years and month, as well as the unprecedented losses of Arctic and Antarctic ice?

 

I am the Climate Justice Chair of the Corvallis NAACP. I believe we all have an obligation at the very least to those city residents who have the fewest resources to cope with the impacts of the changing climate. The NAACP works for the wellbeing and of all people, and we know that the people with fewer means, which includes many people of color, are those most likely to be hurt by the consequences of our warming climate, and therefore by any unnecessary delay by our city in addressing these issues.

 

The Corvallis City Council must not fail to act with the seriousness needed to provide the CAAB with the strength (monthly meetings) and the needed expertise (members with expertise and purview) and the appropriate staffing to conduct the intensive work with respect to the dangerous present and future our citizens are facing, due to GHG pollution that we and our City are contributing to collectively.

 

Please adopt the language provided by the Sierra Club/350.or/Our Children’s Trust for the ordinance and makeup of the advisory board. If the CAAB is not given the resources it needs to make serious progress, then much of the work and significant funding of the CATF and all of the warnings about what is ahead with the climate crisis will have been basically wasted – simply because of a lack of staffing??? If this happens, then it seems clear that this Council is not taking seriously what we citizens have been testifying about at every opportunity over the last year and more. You have had input from experts who are working with the Sierra Club group. How willing is this Council to consider such advice seriously - to even discuss it among yourselves during your meetings? Failure to do this seems congruent with failing to do that which is needed to help ensure our children’s and neighbor’s survival and the quality of life for us all. Please do not fail to discuss our input any longer! Please ensure a high quality implementation of the Corvallis Climate Action Plan. Our citizens and neighboring cities are watching.

 

Thank you very much for reading this long letter, and for all of the work you do for Corvallis.

 

Rachel Ozretich

Member of Interfaith Caucus, Unitarian-Universalist Climate Justice Committee, NAACP Climate Justice Chair, and retired Chemical Oceanographer

453 SE Powell Avenue

Corvallis 97333

541-758-3221

 

 

Attachment: Sierra Club coalition June Advisory Board.doc
Description: MS-Word document