This week, the EPA released this report.
According to the EPA, historically excluded groups and people with low-income will be the most dramatically impacted by the forces of Climate Change. Black people in the United States are about 40% more likely to live in areas with premature deaths due to climate driven extreme temperatures and fine particular pollution. Hispanics and Latinos are 43% more likely to live in areas with highest reductions in lost labor hours due to extreme temperatures. Native Americans are 48% more likely to live on land likely to be impacted by sea level rise. And, not only are the poor and disadvantaged squarely in the path of this oncoming problem, they are also the people least able to afford to defend themselves, and to be part of the solution.
When we were working on the Climate Action Plan last year, the Climate Action Committee took in public comment from the people of the Town. More than a few people wrote to us that they were on fixed incomes, and could not afford investments to electrify their homes, or to buy a new Tesla. During that time, I was writing that the CAC would be on the lookout for money to help the people of this town to make the changes that we all need to make but that are financially daunting.
Earlier this year, the Federal Goverment passed the American Rescue Plan Act. This Act provides funding for certain water projects and for projects to help low- and moderate- income people (defined by HUD as 2 persons earning $117,100 in Marin County).
The Climate Action Committee is working to design two programs to help the people of this Town to reduce their costs and their Climate Impacts. One would help people to implement water saving changes, to build on the work already being done by MWD. This program would also help us to address the very real water reduction needs we urgently need here. The second program would be a way to jumpstart the Solar Co-Op I wrote about some months ago. This program would put solar panels on the roofs of low and moderate income people in our town, with a financing mechanism that would allow them to buy the power from those panels until they had been "paid off" so that the money could be used to help others in the future.
The Town Council asked the Climate Action Committee to work on the details for these two programs, and to invite the public to come and be a part of the planning.
This is a very exciting opportunity. Together, we can help the people here who need help. Together, we can reduce our collective Greenhouse Gas and water footprint. Together, we can build the resilience of our community.
And, because Climate Change is an issue of Social Justice, by focusing on Climate Change, we can make a substantial investment into Racial, and Social and economic justice.
Together, we can.