National political discourse still features intense “debates” over the reality, effects, and potential responses to climate change. However, at the local level, leaders from both sides of the aisle are forced to confront the challenges of a changing climate.
Alaska, a deeply red state, is host to some of the most dramatic effects of climate change, such as record heat and rapid glacial melting. In response, mayors and local leaders have adopted a three-pronged approach to climate action:
3 Strategies to act on climate:
- Adapt: Communities throughout the state have shifted resources towards investments in disaster resilience to protect, as much as possible, their communities from impending environmental challenges.
- Address: Many cities throughout the state are adopting climate action plans. These outline the causes and consequences of climate change, and educate residents on the need for action.
- Lessen: By building green—such as clean energy power, LEED certified buildings, and energy efficient infrastructure—the state is investing in solutions to dampen long-term climate consequences.
State and local leaders in Alaska are not able to wait while politicians at the Federal level fail to act. Like so many elected officials across the country, they have taken bold action to address the effects of climate change to improve the lives of residents living in their communities. Such a commitment to residents, sustainability, and climate solutions provides a model for civic leaders across the country. To get started on making similar progress in your city, get on the Path to Positive!
By John Duffy | Alaska Dispatch News | August 17, 2015
“Think global, act local” is, yes, a cliché, but it’s also a reality for borough, city and village leaders across Alaska who must confront the direct impacts of global climate change. Left with few choices, local leaders and their constituents are developing new and innovative ways to protect and preserve their communities.
Climate change has become a hot-button political issue at the national and state levels, and attempts to address it have been delayed — even pushed aside — by partisanship. Political blockades have thwarted most attempts to set national policy.
Local leaders can’t wait for the federal government and many state governments to adopt tighter emissions standards, emergency management practices, or other mitigations. Alaskans have confronted first-hand the damaging ice jams, thawing permafrost, destructive coastal erosion, devastating wildfires and other real problems. The effects of climate change are well-known and observed daily.
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