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Mika Lee, 6, holds participates in the climate protest Sept. 20 at City Hall.

 

Gainesville city commissioners unanimously passed two motions Thursday relating to climate change.

The commission first unanimously passed a motion to work with city staff in creating a proclamation and resolution declaring a climate emergency with a focus on Gainesville’s racial disparity and equity policies. The motion also called for the creation of an online dashboard on the city’s website showing its carbon footprint in real-time. 

Commissioner Helen Warren sponsored this agenda item. 

“We are in a position globally to recognize the impact our future actions can have on the planet,” she said. 

District 2 Commissioner Harvey Ward suggested directing the Gainesville Regional Utility manager and city manager to develop the online dashboard and put it on the city website. He also reiterated the connection between equity and climate change. 

“Equity and the environment are not separate issues. They are all together,” he said. “When the environment crashes, we know who’s going to be affected first — and it’s not going to be the wealthiest part of our population.”

When commissioners returned from recess for the meeting’s evening session, a resolution “imploring the U.S. Congress to pass House Resolution 109 and create a Green New Deal” was also unanimously passed. 

The Green New Deal, spearheaded by U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), highlights the findings of a 2018 report on global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

The deal states: “human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century” and “the United States must take a leading role in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions through economic transformation.”   

District 3 Commissioner David Arreola said he recently met with Ocasio-Cortez’s staff in Washington D.C. to discuss the resolution. 

“They were very excited. They believe they’re making traction in the Congress,” he said. “We will actually be the first city in Florida to voice our support for this legislation.”