The Linn County Board of Supervisors signed a new climate resolution (PDF) prioritizing the voices of vulnerable communities in climate action within Linn County. The resolution commits to accelerated action to address the climate crisis in collaboration with other governments and community organizations through empowering vulnerable communities.
United States’ Fourth National Climate Assessment identifies older adults, low-income communities, communities of color, people who are disabled, people with poor health status, and Indigenous people are “often disproportionately affected by, and less resilient to, the impacts of climate change.”
The resolution furthers Linn County’s commitment to environmental sustainability and climate action by identifying target communities whose engagement will be prioritized in Linn County’s climate adaptation process. These target communities include residents of color; low-income, disabled, and elderly residents; rural residents, and immigrant and refugee residents within the County.
Linn County has demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and environmental protection through efforts such as including high energy efficiency standards in construction projects, encouraging use of alternative and renewable energy through its Comprehensive Plan, and including the promotion of personal health and environmental protection in the Linn County Strategic Plan. Additionally, Linn County recently hired its first Sustainability Manager to lead efforts in reaching the ambitious carbon emission reduction targets outlined in the County’s 2019 climate resolution.
In 2019, the Board of Supervisors signed a resolution declaring a climate crisis and committing to accelerated efforts to limit the global temperature increase. The 2020 resolution builds on the objectives of the previous one, integrating lessons learned from COVID-19 and derecho.
“The 2020 resolution connects, some might say, seemingly disparate groups of people, by mapping a path of targeted, data and community-driven climate action. The primary objective of this resolution is to provide a foundation from which the most climate vulnerable communities of Linn County can become the change-makers of their own narrative,” Linn County Sustainability Manager, Tamara Marcus said.
Bridget Williams, leader of Sunrise Movement Cedar Rapids, added, “The derecho storm illustrated the disproportionate impact of environmental disasters and hazards on certain populations in Linn County. This resolution is an important step to protecting and prioritizing these populations in climate mitigation and adaptation planning by providing them with the tools and power to be resilient in the face of future disasters.”