Erie County is getting more serious about climate change. To deal with the mounting problematic issue that concerns us all, an Erie County Community Climate Change Task Force has been established, which is in place to establish an “equity-centered Community Climate Action planning process.” Erie County is hoping that members of the community get onboard with the movement, to join cities from across the globe to combat climate change. Each one of us has the ability to help change the course of climate change through earth stewardship, whether it’s planting indigenous plants or trees (Buffalo was once known as The City of Trees), driving less – walking and biking more, composting, eating less meat, buying local and organic, not using pesticides, etc.
“We are pleased to roll out a planning process that is centered in equity, seeks community input and ongoing public engagement, and will help Erie County meet the goals set forward by the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,” said Deputy Erie County Executive Maria Whyte. “This effort will develop a community-minded climate action program and work with our many wonderful community partners to help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to our changing climate.”
To date, a Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP) is in development that will address climate justice, energy conservation and renewable energy, transportation, natural climate solutions (forestry and agriculture), consumption and waste reduction (including food), climate vulnerability, housing and neighborhood resiliency, and economic and workforce development.
^ As part of the kick-off, a video aired from community leaders about why the public should get involved in this planning process. The video featured Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, local meteorologist Don Paul, local horticulturalist Sally Cunningham, Pastor Kinzer M. Pointer, Erie County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein, and Youth Climate Council Member Nadya Elhalawany.
An important aspect of this Erie County Community Climate Action Plan is getting the community involved in the process. It’s as easy as signing up for emails, or becoming a community climate ambassador.
“Erie County has worked with stakeholders on our Community Climate Change Task Force to ensure that this plan is developed with community input, which is vital so that we develop initiatives that address the needs of our residents and have the public’s support,”said Commissioner Thomas R. Hersey Jr.
It’s time to take action. When visiting the website, be sure to submit your comments about the draft plan outline and scoping document. And remember, it’s up to all of us to change the way we view and interact with this planet. It starts with our home, then our street, our neighborhood, and our city.
We live in a city where anything is possible – a city where we can readily affect change. Just think about how far we have come since the day of Bethlehem Steel, polluted airs, and dead waterways. We’ve weathered a number of storms, but we still have a long way to go.
We have a responsibility to ourselves, our neighbors, and next generations.
To learn more about how you can get involved, please visit www.erie.gov/climateaction and click “get involved.”
The project has been funded in part by The Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.