Community members ask city of Decatur to fund climate action plan
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Decatur, GA — Residents of Decatur have been calling on the City Commission to add a climate action plan to their budget.
After the budget was released to the public on May 21, climate activists noticed that the budget does not currently have a line item for a climate action plan.
During the June 1 City Commission meeting, six Decatur residents requested that climate action and energy use be allocated for in the next budget revision, noting the historical and ethical implications of not taking climate action within a timely manner, invoking statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics and former President Barack Obama, who strongly encouraged swift climate action five years ago.
“We still face a crisis that will have a thousandfold more impact than coronavirus has, but will move slower and more insidiously, and that is climate change,” said pediatrician Preeti Jaggi. “It is true that we are a small city in a sea of many cities, states, and countries. But what we do matters, and that does not excuse us from taking bold action.”
Residents pointed out that climate action planning has been part of the city’s planning in some form since 2010, when it was included in the 2010 strategic plan as an intention to develop a “citywide sustainability plan” (item 12A). The Environmental Sustainability Plan was adopted in 2012, but residents have pointed out that much more is known about climate change now than eight or ten years ago, and because the city will be writing its 2020 strategic plan this year, now would be a good time to add a new climate action plan.
City Manager Andrea Arnold has said that the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year was particularly difficult to create because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city commission plans to review the budget in six months and make amendments based on where the city stands financially. All of the city commissioners have expressed support for adding a climate action plan to the budget and to the city’s strategic plan.
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