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Youth to Set the Tone on Climate Issues in 2020 Pasadena Elections

photo by Alex Cordero

Youth are the leading advocates for climate action all around the world, including in Pasadena. – Photo by Alex Cordero / Beacon Media News

By Alex Cordero

It is the brink of a new year and Pasadena will already be making history in 2020 by having a forum on climate action conducted by people under the age of 35 on Feb. 4 at Robinson Recreation Center.

Climate action appears to be a leading topic not only on a global level but also on a local level in 2020. People all over the world are calling on government officials and world leaders to support aggressive environmental petitions to save our planet.

The leading activists for climate change have been young leaders and local youth have caught the attention of the community and local government officials on the subject of climate change policies.

All mayoral and city council candidates have been invited to participate and young local leading activist Ozzy Simpson is anticipating the upcoming forum. “What I’m most looking forward to with the Climate Action Forum is bringing attention to how the climate crisis affects Pasadena deeply. Not only that, but there are ways for Pasadena to combat the climate crisis locally, even if other cities and governments don’t take action with us. Pasadena is in a position where it can be a leader on the climate crisis but we have to work to do that.”

He continued, “I’m also looking forward to relating the climate crisis to issues many may not see as directly climate-related. For example, housing and the way buildings are designed can play a huge role in how cities can be more climate-resilient.”

Eco-friendly housing appears to be growing in popularity as more people become conscious of their ecological footprint and tend to want to live a lifestyle that nourishes the future of our environment with the hopes of curtailing global warming.

I asked Ozzy if there is a specific city official that he is more interested in listening to on climate action on Feb. 4. “As for hearing from a specific council member or mayoral candidate, I’m obviously interested in hearing what every candidate has to say, but, specifically, I‘m very interested in having Ryan Bell (candidate for District 6) discuss his plans for a local Green New Deal in more depth. Similarly, but on the mayoral side, Jason Hardin signed the Green New Deal pledge in December and I’m interested in hearing what he envisions a climate-resilient Pasadena could look like. After presenting the Green New Deal pledge late at night in December to our sitting elected officials and none of them signing on, I’m interested in climate crisis.”

In 2018 the City of Pasadena adopted the Climate Action Plan (CAP), “a strategic framework for measuring, planning, and reducing the City’s share of GHG emissions.”

GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions are a combination of three major gases that affect our environment: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Per the 2018 CAP Annual Report Card, most of the cities goals set forth to be on target for 2020 are categorized as likely to be achieved.

Some of the targets of CAP are: sustainable mobility and land use, energy efficiency and conservation, and water conservation. And although the 2018 CAP Annual Report Card states incredible achievements by the city in reducing GHG emissions, it is evident that local youth and residents are demanding more from their government officials and leaders regarding climate action.

In December of 2019, as world leaders met in Madrid for the last United Nations Climate Change Conference, aka Conference of the Parties (COP25), the sites and dates for the 2020 Regional Climate Weeks were revealed. Commitments from countries all over the world to become net-zero by the years 2030 and 2050 are believed to be the most ambitious yet and discussions for reducing emissions are anticipated to be more aggressive as world leaders contend with how to save the future of our planet in the next decade.

Pasadena resident David Azevedo will be in attendance at the upcoming Climate Action Forum and he is looking forward to discussing green policies with city officials. “The health and safety of our planet — from air and water quality, fire risk, and hotter climates—directly depends on the bold leadership of local elected officials. Cities around the world are already making a huge difference by becoming plastic-free, providing clean energy, and encouraging more walking, biking, and public transit. Pasadena, however, lags far behind those cities and for voters who care about the environment, our youth-led Climate Action Forum on Feb. 4 will be an opportunity to ask mayoral and citywide candidates how they will contribute to saving our planet’s future.”

January 14, 2020

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Alejandra Cordero


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