MENDOCINO Co., 3/17/19 — The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will discuss possible changes to the county’s landscape, resources, and way of life in the face of climate change at this Tuesday’s regular meeting, in two separate agenda items. The supervisors will first watch a presentation called “The Climate Reality Project,” and then discuss the formation of an advisory committee, which would recommend actions to address climate change, including increasing community preparedness, reducing greenhouse emissions, and increasing carbon storage.
County supervisors will watch the slide show, which looks at the history of fossil fuels, alternative energy sources, and more, at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19 in the county administration building in Ukiah. The board will then hold a discussion and then may take action to form an advisory committee on climate action, which would conduct public outreach and recommend possible actions that the county could take to address climate change. The agenda items are sponsored by Supervisors Ted Williams and John Haschak, and Supervisor John McCowen, respectively.
A number of local environmental groups have been advocating for the formation of a climate action committee, including the Mendocino Environmental Center, the Willits Environmental Center, the Social, Environmental, and Indigenous Justice group (SEIJ), the Sierra Club, Climate Action Mendocino, and others, and representatives plan to attend the supervisors meeting and give public comment in support of forming a committee. The following press release is from the Mendocino Environmental Center:
Board of Supervisors to Hear Proposal for Climate Change Advisory Council
Tues. March 19, 2019
Ukiah CA–A Proposal to establish a Mendocino County Climate Change Advisory Council will be considered by the Board of Supervisors’ on their agenda for Tues, March 19, 2019, at 501 Low Gap Rd., Ukiah, at 11:10 a.m., following a presentation on climate change at 10:30.
The Proposal is the work of a grassroots “ad hoc” climate change advisory committee, a citizen-driven group including members of the Mendocino Environment Center, Willits Environment Center, the Social, Environmental, and Indigenous Justice group (SEIJ), the Sierra Club, Climate Action Mendocino and others. The committee has been meeting since late last year to tackle the seemingly run-away effects of climate change on all aspects of life, yet often falling disproportionately on poor and marginalized communities.
Members of the ad hoc climate change committee will explain the Proposal to the Board and public in a short presentation. Pointing out that extreme weather events are already inflicting “severe drought, devastating wildfires, floods, landslides, impacts on coastal ecosystems and sea level rise”… the Proposal warns that “the cost of reacting to climate change disasters will continue to rise in terms of the loss of tax revenue, increase of staff time managing states of emergency and the need for human services, repairing environmental damage, and removing toxic debris.”
Last year’s catastrophic fires in Paradise and the Mendocino Complex have heightened public awareness and involvement in all aspects of the problem. The ad hoc committee believes both emergency preparedness measures and addressing the underlying causes driving these unprecedented calamities demand our immediate and urgent attention.
“Mendocino County can take proactive steps to reduce the risks associated with climate change and contribute to both California’s climate change initiatives and the global need for the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and increased carbon storage capacity”, said international sustainability consultant and longtime Willits resident, Walter Smith.
The goals and objectives of the Climate Change Advisory Committee are: to recommend specific steps to reduce GHG emissions and store carbon in socially just and responsible ways and to advise the Board of Supervisors of actions needed to achieve the desired outcomes. Once the necessary data are compiled and analyzed, new policies may be developed for action by the Board. This work would be done by groups focusing on the various economic and environmental sectors, for example, transportation, building and forestry. The exact structure and membership of the Council and focus groups will be jointly determined once the proposal is passed.
Many cities and counties already have Climate Change plans in place and the State of California will soon require action of some kind by nearly every public entity. “The cost of remodeling our society to cope with climate change may seem high in a cash-strapped rural county like ours”, said Ellen Drell, founding member of the Willits Environmental Center, “but the cost of doing nothing will be much, much higher.”