Climate Leadership

The Climate Action Commission has been doing good work for the City and community of Petaluma and should receive priority in all decisions for the future of Petaluma. The process and work of the Commission should, however, be inclusive of all Petaluma residents and organizations who desire to participate in the Commission’s work. We need improvement in City government’s response to priorities identified by the Commissioners, with follow-through and expedient planning and action for change and implementation. The relationships with and actions of other City governments, our Bay Area region, the State, the US Government, and International agreements are critically important to understand, with collaboration.

We have been missing Indigenous leadership in our Climate Action goals and priorities, and the interface with Tribal leaders and members needs to be supported and more active. Such a process requires individuals with sensitivity and the ability to embark upon new paths of decisions and actions for how we care for our environment and Nature while supporting quality of life.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is of course a main priority of climate action. Our State’s goal is carbon neutrality by 2045 and after that carbon negativity. Many Bay Area communities, including Petaluma, have adopted the 2030 goal for carbon neutrality. Our elected leaders must support the Climate Action Framework and the vision for and implementation of all facets of this framework. Some of the current programs like Cool City Petaluma may not be for everyone – this program is missing equity as a center-piece as well as support for habitat and species protection and survival. But, many Petalumans already live quietly and take care of their yards and local habitat areas, with deep care. Encouraging this ongoing practice will also make a big difference for our wildlife, birds and corridors. Is it important for a Mayor to put forth protecting our wildlife and our natural areas as a high priority of Climate Action? You bet it is. When the Climate Action Commission was first formed, I attended their first meeting and asked in General Public Comment to include the priority to address the threat of Species Extinction in their goals, as it was not included at that time. One sentence about this important topic was included in the Resolution creating the Climate Action Commission. Fortunately, some of the Commissioners resonated with this request and agreed that including habitat protection and addressing the threat of Species Extinction was important as a priority.

While we cooperate with other cities and counties in our jurisdiction who are also addressing the impacts of climate change, we must seek ways to support quality of life, fresh air, clean water, affordable housing with electrification, free transit and affordable multi-modal transportation, and do all of this with a priority for conservation of our Natural Environment.