On September 12th, the Leon County Commission voted 6-1 to adopt a resolution endorsing the declaration of a climate emergency in Leon County. The issue was presented to the Board by the youth advocacy group GenCLEO.
The resolution cites the Paris Agreement, United Nations studies and states that the U.S. has “disproportionately” contributed to the climate emergency. No other country is mentioned in the resolution.
Leon County Commissioner Brian Welch voted no without making any public comments.
The resolution incorporates all of GenCLEO’s recommendations except for creating a stand-alone Youth Advisory Committee. Staff noted that such a committee would be a duplicate of an existing stakeholder engagement.
The resolution begins with a series of statements outlining national trends of climate change. The statements focus on “vulnerable populations” culminating in a “climate emergency” and calling for mitigating action to occur as quickly as 2030.
The resolution claims that, “Anthropogenic climate change, pollution, environmental destruction, and fossil fuel extraction and use have and will continue to exacerbate systemic racial, regional, social, environmental, and economic crises by disproportionately affecting indigenous, migrant, minority, deindustrialized, and depopulated rural communities, impoverished individuals, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and the youth.” The resolution refers to these people as the “frontline and vulnerable communities/persons”.
Additionally, the resolution states, “The United States of America has disproportionately contributed to the climate and ecological emergencies and thus bears an extraordinary responsibility to rapidly solve these crises.”
The resolution states Leon County is to direct the County Administrator to work with the existing Sustainability Staff/Department to include greenhouse gas and co-pollutant impact statements, greenhouse gas and co-pollutant reduction, and greenhouse gas drawdown statements, on all relevant agenda items before the County Commission.
Additionally, in order to support the local food justice movement and publicly owned community gardens to mitigate food scarcity, the resolution commits Leon County to acknowledge the role that global warming plays in food access and production. These gardens will be used in defense against food deserts within frontline and vulnerable communities.
The resolution directs Leon County to work with the disabled community and those in need of accommodations to devise equitable and inclusive solutions to address the climate crisis which do not jeopardize these groups of people.
Lastly, the resolution states Leon County will commit to collaborating with community partners to increase climate literacy and education in the community, including K-12 schools.