We have to all get in on this now. From local and personal actions (today, I pledge to stop flying), to institutional changes; to planning, zoning, and budgeting changes; to electing people who feel the crisis and the need to act and dumping people who don't. That also means reminding those in our community who are using up or planning to use our collective carbon emissions budget on frivolous unnecessary things that we are not going to put up with that xxxx any more. It does no good for some to turn back the thermostat while others burn up several households' annual worth of electricity on spaceship-riding Santas or helicopter rides! when they could just demand that their corporate sponsors pay workers enough money to be able to afford food. For example.
There are many opportunities for public input on important things. If people don't speak up, the path of least resistance, the path that has brought us to the edge of the climate abyss, will be followed. Your input, participation, and action can make a difference.
Here are some opportunities and a little background. Please participate!
Market Street bike infrastructure - this may seem like a small thing, but it's not. It's a chance for our city to finally get one decent, safe, modern protected bike lane for transportation cyclists of all ages and abilities. As the Jackson Street remodel is rolled out with outdated and unsafe painted bike lanes between moving and parked cars rolls out, we have a chance to get real safe bike infrastructure--Protected Bike Lanes (PBLs)-- on a section of Market Street. Please weigh in on your preferences by taking the survey at https://arcg.is/0KC191 or emailing comments to email@example.com.
But before you do, check out these short videos about how a two-way protected bike lane that completely removes moving motorized vehicles from bikes, can make all the difference:
- People for Bikes - The Rise of Protected Bike Lanes
- Vox - Protected Bike Lanes are More Valuable than Parking
- Cheddar - Expanding Bike Lanes Can Decrease Traffic
- Streetfilms - After Three Years, 111th Street Gets a PBL
City of La Crosse Climate Action Plan survey and story portal - This survey is a way to inform and involve La Crosse residents as the city begins its planning to fulfil the promise made in 2019, to reduce carbon emissions to zero and transition to 100% renewable energy, community-wide, by 2050. Please take this survey, share your thoughts, stories and ideas, and encourage others to get involved. There will be more opportunities for public input and action coming in 2022 as the city's planning consultant, Pale Blue Dot, works to help us take real and meaningful climate action. This is a meaningful, deep survey that will take time and thought. You can do it in sections. Please complete the survey by March 2022. Survey: https://www.lacrosseclimateactionplan.org/survey and story portal to share artwork, stories, photos, etc. that convey your personal feelings about the climate crisis: https://www.lacrosseclimateactionplan.org/stories
The School District of La Crosse wants to build new schools and close neighborhood schools. That should give you a clue that they probably haven't given an eenth of thought to how their plans fit with needed climate action - encouraging fewer car trips and more trips by walking and biking, for example. Increasing evidence shows that refurbishing existing buildings to high energy standards costs less in terms of money and carbon emissions than building new buildings. A sample survey is linked at their long-range planning site, but you will have to call the District office, 608-789-7628, to get a survey code or have a survey mailed to you if you didn't already get one. It is due by November 8 or 18 (the website sample says Nov. 8, the email reminder from the district says Nov. 18). If you have ever been push-polled by phone, this "survey" will be familiar to you. There's no information about the climate or social equity costs of consolidated schools farther from homes and harder to get to for those without good cars or the ability to take time off work at will, with, possibly larger class sizes and less accessible by public transportation. There are only vague mentions of costs to maintain without any comparisons to cost to refurb or cost to build new (cost in terms of dollars and carbon). There are constant references to old buildings, but, as anyone who has been to Europe knows, old buildings can be perfectly usable, comfortable, and glorious. There's nothing about how school buildings that may be experiencing enrollment dips could be shared with nonprofit office space, a childcare facility, maker spaces, technology centers, retail or service spaces, fixit space, a medical clinic, a training restaurant, or so many others. They want their brand new buildings, and they are pushing you to say you want them too. Please don't.
County of La Crosse Survey on Sustainability Goals - The county also has pledged to zero out carbon emissions and move to 100% renewable energy. There is a new survey that's supposed to help them narrow down targets as they complete an update of their Comprehensive Plan. Warning: this is one of the
worst surveys I have ever taken in my life. If you don't
take it, I wouldn't blame you. Whether or not you take it, I encourage
you to email the county board with your ideas and suggestions because you won't get to put them into this silly survey. If you want to take the survey, complete it by the first week in November.
The Governor's Clean Energy Plan - This effort is being spearheaded by the Wisconsin Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy, which, thanks to the Republic minjority, has a budget of $0 and a staff of one. Nevertheless, the OSCE recently held public input sessions online to gather ideas for the governor's Clean Energy Plan. If you weren't able to attend those sessions, you are welcome to send suggestions, ideas, thoughts, and examples, through the online public input form at: https://appengine.egov.com/apps/wi/cleanenergyplan/writtencomment
These are just a few places your input is requested. Consider how climate action is connected to transportation options, where things are sited, how much energy things require, whether they will reduce the demand for energy or increase it, and whether we need it - is it worth your child's future? - or not. Please participate, share the links, and then look for more ways to take and demand climate action.