LANSING, Mich. — Pushes for environmental justice are happening across the country. Leaders in Ingham County are working on mapping out a greener future.
“We know that it’s an urgent threat regardless of whether we have ten more years or 15 more years or 20 more years to stop climate change before we pass the point of no return,” said Chris Trubac, an Ingham County Board of Commissioners member.
Last week, the Board of Commissioners approved Trubac’s proposed resolution declaring a climate emergency for the county. The Environmental Affairs Commission has also been reactivated.
“What we’re going to do now is sort of repurpose it and appoint experts and community members to help us tackle climate justice in a meaningful way,” said Trubac.
For Elaine Fischhoff, a member of the Lansing Environmental Action Team, the county’s commitment to climate justice is a long time coming.
She drafted a similar resolution last summer that the board of commissioners passed, but didn’t move forward with, making the Board’s renewed interest even more powerful.
“The federal government can make policy, they can provide money, but it’s actually up to local residents and governmental units to take action, " said Fischhoff. “It has to start at the local level.”
Trubac says Ingham County aims to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
A commitment to center vulnerable populations like communities of color and people with health issues who are more likely to be impacted by climate change is also a crucial part of the commission’s action plan.
Trubac says an energy audit to assess the county’s current level of environmental crisis is a necessary first step.
The audit will cost the county something on the lower end of six figures, but Trubac says the financial burden should be secondary to inaction.
“The question I don’t as often is what will the cost be if we don’t do anything about these threats, which I think is probably the larger number and the more threatening number,” said Trubac.
The Environmental Affairs Commission is seeking new members to fill the following positions:
- a representative of municipal government
- a representative with a background in forestry or natural resources
- a representative from the Ingham County Health Department
- two representatives with a background in sustainability and energy use
- two members of the general public
Anyone interested can apply here. For more information, contact Becky Bennett, the Director of the Board of Commissioners.
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