Councilors Helen Anthony, Nirva LaFortune, Pedro Espinal, Kat Kerwin,and Rachel Miller Endorse ECRI’s Climate Crisis Plan
City Councilors Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), Pedro Espinal (Ward 10), Kat Kerwin (Ward 12), Rachel Miller (Ward 13) introduced a resolution endorsing the Environmental Council of Rhode Island’s Climate Crisis Campaign at last night’s Council Meeting which was passed by the City Council.
“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. We as a country, state and city need to take immediate action to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions; create a just and equitable transition to a sustainable economy and invest in adaptation and resilience to protect the people and places we love.”, stated Councilwoman Helen Anthony. “Continued increases in global termperatures will hit RI particularly hard as our temperatures have risen faster than in any other state, We can’t wait to take action.”
Rhode Island faces many challenges due to changing climate including increased storm intensity, flooding, heat waves, insect-born diseases, crop and fishery failures, accelerating coastal erosion, and a sea-level rise of up to 11.5 feet during this century. In January, there were several 65 degree days – in a month where you would expect to see snow and freezing temperatures.
Councilman Pedro Espinal stated, “The climate crisis is occurring here in Providence and much of that is due to pollution from industry. In South Providence, the neighborhood I represent, we have some of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the city, we have the highest rate in the city and state and have the ninth highest in the nation, which can be life-threatening and costly. The climate crisis is not just about warmer winters, longer summers, it’s about our well-being. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this important mission.”
Rhode Island has experienced the fastest temperature rise of any state in the continental United States. The state and its municipalities must take immediate action to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels, create a just and equitable transition to a stable environmentally-focused economy, and invest in mechanisms to adapt and remain resilient to protect the people that call Rhode Island home.
“I have been working on and in support of the ‘Green-New Deal’ here in Providence,” stated Councilor Rachel M. Miller. “Not because it’s fashionable, but because it is the right thing to do. We are being left behind at the federal level by a President who does not believe in a changing climate, who pulled our Country out of the Paris Climate Accord, and who continually works to promote a culture that embraces coal and fracking. These policies are not only harmful to the environment, but they will in fact harm all of us.”
The Environmental Council of Rhode Island’s Climate Crisis Campaign is working to elevate climate issues and the need for policy solutions within the state and at the local level. ECRI is working on updating the Resilient Rhode Island Act and the Energy Facilities Siting Act, helping the State acheive its renewable energy goals and opposing attempts to allow dirty pyrolysis (gasification) electricity generation.
Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune shared, “It is all of our responsibility in creating a climate-resistant city that supports solutions that promote cleaner air, sustainable communities and access to unpolluted safe resources. Any action undertaken by our state has to be done with an eye on safety, health, and our economic well-being. We must also remember when we often talk about the climate crisis we forget those that are most vulnerable and we must create inclusive approaches that consider the voices of all our residents. We must ensure that we leave no one behind in this important work, because it requires all hands on deck.”
“I became a City Councilor and campaigned on fighting for the residents of my neighborhood, and I can’t think of a more worthy fight than this,” stated Councilwoman Kat Kerwin. “I use my role to lift the voices of my generation who are often not given a seat at the table when it comes to issues like this, yet it is my generation and the ones after that will be dealing with the ramifications of our climate crisis. If we don’t act now, then when?”
For more information on the Environmental Council of Rhode Island’s Climate Crisis Campaign, visit them on the web here: ECRI.