[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident(s). It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

The Elephant in the Room

Recently, in this forum, current and newly elected Burien City Councilmembers stated their priorities for our City’s governance for the next four years.

We agree with these priorities, AND we urge our new Council to prioritize the greatest threat we all are facing which nobody mentioned – climate change. A couple of Councilmembers identified protecting and enhancing our natural environment, which might imply protecting against (and curbing) climate change, but pro-environment statements don’t go far enough. Greenhouse gas emissions threaten our way of life, our health, our economic security, and our children’s future.

We must unify to remove climate from the zone of the political: it is a matter of the greatest fiscal and public health. We must face this crisis together, demonstrating caring and compassion for each other as we take the bold steps we need.

Burien recently took courageous action in adopting a solid new Climate Action Plan. That is good. But, unless we follow soon with staffing and funding, this plan will not turn the ship. Our Action Plan is chock-full of immediate and meaningful steps even our small city can take to make a real difference.

For instance, the City can help reduce transportation emissions by increasing trips made by walking, biking, and transit. It can transition City vehicles to all-electric and add more charging stations like the new one at City Hall. It can support efficient building standards and help transition our buildings away from using “natural” gas for space and water heating.

The City can also help reduce waste generation and preserve the health of native habitats. It can preserve and expand our urban forests to cool our neighborhoods, retain storm water, protect critical slopes, absorb CO2 from our air, and provide habitat for wildlife.

The City can stand up to the Port of Seattle, a huge emitter of greenhouse gases and particulate matter that threaten the health of Burien residents.

And we can select a city manager who will prioritize implementing Burien’s Climate Action Plan.

In fact, Burien’s new Climate Action Plan calls for the City to “incorporate climate mitigation and adaptation as considerations for all City plans.” (C-1.3.1)

Fellow residents of Burien, and City Councilmembers – can we all please work together to save our only home? If you’re concerned about our climate emergency and want to leave a livable planet for future generations, Burien People for Climate Action – burien@peopleforclimateaction.org – would welcome your participation.

– Colleen Hinton & Annie Phillips
On behalf of Burien People for Climate Action

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