While more often than not our news feeds are filled with the devastating impacts, seemingly insurmountable challenges, and overwhelming reality of climate change, progress is being made at every level. And this year in particular has seen great strides forward when it comes to climate progress.
Just this month the Paris Agreement was signed into law—marking the boldest international climate agreement to date. In Montreal, leaders gathered to establish new aviation emission standards, and mayors recently met in Ecuador at the United Nations’ Habitat III Conference of Cities to identify new avenues for financing climate investments at the city and local level.
Nationally, the clean energy revolution is proving to be more successful than ever. For instance, throughout the Midwest, farmers and rural Americans struggling with hurting economies are now turning to renewables for subsistence. Accounting for 70% of the country’s wind generation, low-income counties are now able to rebuild, and reinvest in their communities. Solar power has seen a similar boom. Now accounting for more jobs than the coal industry, solar panels are cheaper and more accessible than ever—helping to cut energy bills for cities, residents, and businesses.
Mayors are Leading the Way
International and national progress has been unprecedented. But equally impressive has been the work by local leaders in our cities, communities, and neighborhoods across the country.
In Los Angeles, the City Council is moving forward with plans to explore transforming the city to 100% renewables. In Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray is partnering with Mayor Gregor Robertson in Vancouver, B.C. to address the shared challenges of a changing climate that both cities will face. The mayors are putting communities front and center, and planning climate action that improves infrastructure, transportation, and housing for residents. And in Salt Lake City, Mayor Jackie Biskupski is leading the city as it transitions to 100% renewables. With a target year of 2032 to make the full switch to renewable energy, the city has already implemented policies to slash fossil fuel emissions.
What Is Your Community Doing?
Getting past the negative headlines and focusing on the successes that our community and city leaders have achieved can help keep the momentum going.
To fill this positive-news gap and highlight all the progress we’re making, Path to Positive Communities wants your help. Over the next two weeks, we are asking our readers to tweet a climate action photo including #P2Psustainability and our handle, @path2positive.
Show us what is happening on climate in your community, in your neighborhood, or on your commute. These can include community gardens, bike-share programs, solar panel instillations, water-wise landscaping, or any other climate-friendly action that you are able to spot in your city. Submit your tweet by November 15 (which just happens to be America Recycles Day). We’ll feature a selection of these tweets here on the Path to Positive Communities website, showcasing the climate creativity in communities around the country.
By sharing examples of bold progress, together we can spread the word that ambitious climate action can be a part of our everyday experience. We can inspire others to take similar action in their communities, and show what works when it comes to practical local solutions.
Stuart Wood is a writer at Path to Positive Communities and an adjunct professor of political science and environmental politics. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Claremont Graduate University. Email him at [email protected]
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