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Erie County and WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable hosted free open house at D’Youville Academic Center to present plan, thank community volunteers
Erie County hosted members of the public at D’Youville College to present its draft Community Climate Action Plan. The event featured presentations, family-friendly activities, climate reflection stations and a youth art showcase.
The Erie County Office of the County Executive stated, “The draft Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP) is the culmination of a three-year process that involved ongoing collaboration with over 100 volunteer community stakeholders, and public comments from many others. This equity-centered plan was developed by the county, but guided by the Community Climate Change Task Force, a committee of the Erie County Environmental Management Council.”
Deputy County Executive Lisa Chimera said, “We are proud to unveil the full draft plan to the public, and grateful to the volunteers who helped the county create it. This plan addresses one of the most important threats facing our community – climate change – and will help make us safer, healthier and more prosperous.”
Ten working groups, made up of county staff, community stakeholders, academic researchers, nonprofit organizations, a utility, and a local businesses organization, developed each chapter of the plan. The chapters include:
√ Agriculture and food systems
√ Climate justice
√ Climate resiliency
√ Commercial energy conservation and renewable energy
√ Communicating progress
√ Consumption and waste reduction
√ Economic and workforce development
√ Housing and neighborhood resiliency
√ Nature-based solutions
“Erie County’s draft Community Climate Action Plan outlines a path to help our community reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate,” said Dan Castle, commissioner of the Department of Environment & Planning.
The press release noted, “The Climate Action Showcase presentations highlighted ways the county can reduce its carbon footprint and transition to a clean energy economy, protect the community from future extreme weather, and ensure this transition to makes our community more equitable and prosperous.
“For example, Erie County will work with federal, state and local governments to bring in resources to accelerate the transition to clean energy; will take actions to make our transportation system better serve transit riders, bicyclists and pedestrians; and will work to make our community safer – especially for vulnerable populations like seniors – when we experience extreme weather. On this last topic, as a recommendation from this climate plan, the county has already secured grant funding to analyze current programs and assets, identify improvements needed, and develop procedures to protect the community from extreme heat events.”
This event was said to be the culmination of the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable’s environmental justice project, which connected local climate action with the residents of the west side of Buffalo. As part of that project, the event featured a youth art showcase, displaying local middle and high school students’ artwork centered on the theme, “The Climate & You.”
Executive Director Alexandra Holland said, "For the last year, the roundtable has been leading a Community Driven Climate Resiliency & Mitigation Action Environmental Justice grant project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Working with community partners at Black Rock Riverside Alliance, West Side Promise Neighborhood and many more, the roundtable has worked to connect the community with climate action. Our youth art showcase, ‘The Climate & You,’ provided an opportunity for the next generation to express their relationship with climate change in a meaningful way. The Climate Action Showcase is the culmination of that work.”
This project has been funded, in part, by the Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The county will solicit public feedback on each chapter of the draft plan through June 18.
County residents can view the entire plan at www.erie.gov/climateaction and submit feedback in the comment sections or by emailing [email protected] or by calling 716-858-1551 and leaving a message.