Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Let’s Not Forget the Climate Crisis in Time of Coronavirus

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Let’s Not Forget the Climate Crisis in Time of Coronavirus

I am a member of a group of Alexandria Sierra Club members who have been advocating for the past 3 years for the city to take a strong stand on the crisis of global warming. The city council passed a climate emergency resolution last year and voted unanimously to adopt the Environmental Action Plan 2040 (EAP) which among other things commits the city to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2030 and by 80-100% by 2050. Also included in the Environmental Action Plan and the initial city budget was funding for a Climate and Energy Task Force to set in motion a process for achieving these goals.

Now that we are engulfed in an unprecedented medical crisis, we recognize the need to commit resources to protecting our citizens from the virus and the huge economic impact of shutting down local businesses. We also want people to be able to take care of their loved ones in this difficult time. However, we must recognize that failure to combat the climate crisis will have an even greater and longer-term impact on public health and economic revitalization. These crises have in common that they disproportionately affect the most vulnerable among our city’s residents: the elderly, the poor, the homeless and the incarcerated. Therefore, it is vital that the city maintain its commitment to the Environmental Action Plan, even in a time of severe budgetary constraints.

Implementing policies which reduce our production of greenhouse gases by among other things electrifying the city’s bus and vehicle fleets, providing alternatives to driving, facilitating installation of rooftop solar, and pushing for new construction to be NetZero will help protect public health and eventually revitalize our economy.

We ask all Alexandrians to join us in supporting the Environmental Action Plan. People interested in learning more about our group can contact Carolyn Lyle at torenew16@yahoo.com

Paul Kaplowitz