Donald Trump doesn't accept the reality of global warming. He's working to reverse our nation's environmental protection efforts aimed at reducing harmful carbon emissions.
So this makes it even more important that Salem stand up for science, sustainability, and moving toward a 21st century economy that isn't based on outmoded fossil fuel assumptions of "drill, drill, drill" and "drive, drive, drive" (internal combustion vehicles).
Salem needs a Climate Action Plan.
Next Thursday, June 1, the City of Salem is holding a Strategic Plan Open House at the Broadway Commons from 6 to 8 pm. People need to speak up at the Open House and demand that a Climate Action Plan be added to the City of Salem's top goals and priorities.
As I said in "Global warming denial on display at Salem City Council," earlier this month it was clear that some city councilors support a Climate Action Plan, while others appear content to stick their heads in the (increasingly hot) sand, letting the habitability of our one and only Planet Earth be wrecked in the name of science denialism.
We're the only major city in the Willamette Valley that doesn't have a Climate Action Plan, as Laurie Dougherty of Salem Climate Activists/350 OR said in her recent Salem Weekly guest opinion.
Portland; Beaverton; Corvallis; Eugene; Ashland, Spokane; Boise; Tacoma; Boulder; Salem, Massachusetts – and on across the country and around the world. Where is Salem, Oregon? What these cities and others have that Salem lacks is a well-defined plan for dealing with the crisis of climate change. Climate change is real and already disrupting natural systems and cycles that we depend on for life and livelihood and the stability of our society. It will only get worse unless we take solutions into our own hands.
Salem, Oregon needs to be on this list. Why bring it up now? The city council is developing a strategic plan to define its goals for the coming years. A Climate Action Plan (CAP) fits right in with those goals. A CAP will define targets and strategies for climate protection measures that will also make Salem a healthier, more energy- and resource-efficient, resilient and forward-thinking city.
What can we do to put Salem on the list? Attend the city council’s Open House on the Salem Strategic Plan at Broadway Coffee House 1300 Broadway St.NE on June 1 at 6 pm.and support a Salem Climate Action Plan. Sign the 350 Salem OR petition at: https://350salemor.org/.
[Update: here's a CCTV "City Beat" interview Ken Adams did with Laurie Dougherty and Linda Wallmark about a Salem Climate Action Plan.]
So far, my impression of the City of Salem Strategic Planning process hasn't been very positive.
Early on public involvement was tilted toward a small number of "stakeholders" -- meaning, the Powers That Be in this town who believe that because they have more money and power than most people, they should be able to have an outsized influence on policies in this town that affect everybody.
Also, a Salem Weekly editorial accurately points out other problems with the Strategic Planning effort. Among other things, the current draft of the document is filled with words that try to say something, but really don't, as shown in this image. Below the draft vision and mission is an excerpt from the editorial.
As for the Vision: Salem is as “safe” as it has been in decades if you consider our low, and falling, crime rate and the low incidence of fires and other emergencies. So why lead with “safe”? That only serves to justify the fact that nearly two out of every three general fund dollars goes to fund the police and fire departments, leaving our parks, libraries, social services and other city services woefully underfunded.
To aspire to a “sustainable … environment” betrays either ignorance or denial about the impact of climate change. We are well past the point where sustaining the environment is an option. And what does it mean to have a city “that is open to all?” These days what springs to mind is refugees and the “sanctuary city” concept. Is that what it means? We doubt it. What does it mean?
As for the Mission: We think it goes without saying that city services need to be “fiscally sustainable.” Could it be otherwise? This doesn’t belong in a mission. And the use of the word ‘enrich’ is over the top. Is the mission of the city really to “enrich” its “present and future residents.” Really? Good luck with that.
And how can you “enrich … the quality of the environment and neighborhoods?” That makes no sense. Ditto for “enrich … the vitality of our economy.” Your high school English teacher would have given this writing a ‘C.’ It reads like writing by committee. Always a bad idea.
Sorry, city councilors, but the Vision and Mission are a do-over.
I agree. Which makes it important for the concrete, important, scientifically-sound goal of a Salem Climate Action Plan to become part of the City's Strategic Plan.
Preserving and protecting the environment needs to be an overarching goal that's reflected in everything the City of Salem does. It's ridiculous that climate change/environmental protection hasn't been made a high priority in the draft Strategic Plan, since citizens spoke up loud and clear for this at the first Open House held by City officials.
Let's make sure they hear our voices even more clearly on June 1. Come on by the Broadway Commons Coffee House on 1300 Broadway St. NE at 6 pm (Strategic Plan meeting will be on second floor.)
It isn't clear exactly how people will be able to speak up for a Salem Climate Action Plan, but if the open house is similar to the first one, attendees can write on "idea sheets" attached to the walls and, hopefully, also be able to express their views via an open mic.