This is a great article from EcoRINews that makes the direct connection between good environmental policy tied with solid economics, in this case focused on one state's effort to craft an urban policy that benefits the underserved as well.
By DAVE FISHER/ecoRI News staff
Here's the opening: "PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island is one of a handful of states that is taking a proactive approach to climate change. The Rhode Island Climate Commission, a 28-member board consisting of representatives from a bevy of governmental and non-governmental organizations, recently convened for the first time and is tasked with developing a plan for adapting and mitigating the inevitable effects of climate change on the Ocean State..."
We love this part..."The project has already drafted several recommendations to the Climate Commission intended to protect marginalized communities:
Develop a master plan that ensures proper upgrades and maintenance to access roads, bridges, storm drains and public buildings within and near dense and low-income communities for disaster preparedness and response measures.
Promote green space, permeable surfaces and trees in all planning for future land use and roads in urban centers, especially those in watersheds and near the coast.
Implement a plan for the clean up of sites with high concentrations of toxics and waste, where flooding could exacerbate the problem to nearby properties.
Establish and improve access to cooling centers that can provide sanctuary and shelter to the indigent during extreme heat.
Promote urban and regional agriculture by making unused public land, including school grounds, city land and park land, accessible for long-term use for personal, nonprofit and micro-enterprise organic and sustainable food production, prioritizing projects that are culturally appropriate, create green-collar jobs for low-income residents and direct food produced to low-income communities through retail, food banks and schools. Require and supply assistance in soil testing and remediation.
Improve the accessibility of energy-efficiency programs for low-income residents, and allow tenants who receive Low Income Home Energy assistance (LIHEAP) to live in affordable housing and/or pay their own energy bills to make energy-efficiency upgrades with greater sovereignty from landlords.
Promote energy-efficiency upgrades with owners of property in urban centers.
“We believe that the communities that will be the most adversely affected by climate change will come up with the best solutions,” Roles said. “The conversation about climate change has been almost exclusively framed for the middle and upper class, but low-income communities need solutions that are not based on consumerism...”
We applaud this proposed plan that focuses on sound assets within an urban plan, including reducing toxins that sicken people and destroy our health care system, build an efficient infrastructure for sustaining growth, carving out green spaces to make a city more livable, bringing balance to citizen's lives, and allowing urban agriculture to bring food sources close by. All the while reducing the city's use of resources, and moving quickly to renewable energy.
This is the essence of our focus--the business side of green. The investments, production of those assets and a reasonable ROI to citizens, government and private enterprise. This is a well thought out plan.
Timing is great as their is clearly a renewed emphasis on building an economy that bridges the differences in income and wealth, not exasperates them. We'd welcome feedback and comparable plans from other cities around the world.
Listen to use today on WARL 1320, live, as we discuss solutions to a stinky landfill in RI.