The decision to change the Climate Action Commission to an insignificant ad hoc committee was the big idea of Councilmember Sean Morgan.
At last month’s city council meeting, the council would have done away with the Climate Action Commission right then and there, but the City Clerk pointed out that before they could dump the Commission, they had to let the public speak to the issue of whether or not they wanted their Climate Action Commission to be disbanded. Only Councilmembers Dale Bennett and Alex Brown voted to not demote the Climate Action Commission to an ad hoc committee that night in Sept.
So, it was on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, that I anxiously watched the Chico City Council meeting with deep concern that they would officially disband the Climate Action Commission. But first they had to let the public speak.
There were 12 speakers and most of them asked the Council to not disband the Commission. But the first to speak was an older couple who callously dismissed the Commission as “not needed.” Alan Harris said that, “Greenhouse gas control is a bunch of nonsense. The people of Chico don’t care about climate.” Lori Harris told the council to do more important stuff like “clean up the homeless or fix the pot holes.”
It’s ironic to me that it’s the Harris’s generation that got us into this climate crisis mess in the first place. Their ignorance and callous disregard for the younger generation was appalling to me.
But then the young people began to speak.
They spoke about how their future was in jeopardy. They spoke intelligently and articulately about a catastrophic fire season that last into the winter now. The spoke about extreme drought, public health and safety, about adapting to the impacts of climate change, about despair.
They spoke about how they had studied climate change in their colleges courses and encouraged the public and council to educate themselves too.
They spoke about how we need the Climate Action Plan to help guide us through the climate crisis we find ourselves in now.
In the end, despite Councilmember Morgan’s sarcastic remark about [endangered] sea turtles, the City Council voted to not disband the Climate Action Commission. They will, instead, appoint people to the vacant seats.
I want to thank all of the people who spoke in favor of keeping the Climate Action Commission, especially the young environmentalists. I believe that it was these young people who saved the Climate Action Commission from being disbanded.
I don’t know who could look into the eyes of those intelligent, young faces, whose futures are at stake, and tell them “No.”
I know I couldn’t.
If you’d like to hear these young people speak (and I hope you do), click on the link below.
Then click on City Council, 10/5/21.
Then click on Video.
The Climate Action Commission is Item 5.2 on the City Council agenda.
You can find out what the Commission does at this link: https://chicosustainability.org/climate-action/climate-action-plan/