Climate Summit to build Climate Action agenda, Sept. 30

by Alachua County Branch NAACP, Environmental and Climate Justice Committee 

The ongoing extreme weather events we are witnessing should serve as a loud wake-up call to Planet Earth. We have been hitting the snooze button too many times; it is time to roll out of bed, put our feet on the ground, and get to work addressing the climate emergency unfolding outside our windows.

We can no longer ignore the clear evidence that continuing business as usual will create unmanageable problems for all present and future generations. We must act now, and act effectively, to avoid the consequences of having powered our civilization by burning fossil fuels for more than two hundred years.

The Alachua County Branch NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, the United Church of Gainesville, and the Wagmore Foundation, in collaboration with a broad diversity of environmental and community groups, believes it is time we gather as a community to review our progress and plan our next steps. We also believe we need to expand the conversation to be more inclusive. We invite all members of the community to be a part of the solution by joining us on Sept. 30, as we convene a Climate Summit to build a Climate Action agenda for Alachua County. 

Be sure your voice, your concerns, and your interests are included in the process. We need you to become actively engaged in the planning and implementation of our community’s response to this global crisis. 

People attending the Summit will hear a summary of the “Critical Infrastructure and Land Use Climate Vulnerability Analysis” commissioned by our Alachua County Board of County Commissioners at the request of the County Environmental Protection Department. 

Our keynote speaker will be Jacqueline Patterson, founder and executive director of The Chisholm Legacy Project, a resource hub for black frontline climate justice leadership. 

Participants will do more than listening, however. We will draw on local talent to invent a more livable community. We will engage in a dialogue led by local leaders who have a solid understanding of the obstacles we will encounter. We will focus on food production, energy generation, public health, and water security issues while exploring how to meet Justice40 objectives to deliver at least “40 percent of the overall benefits” to disadvantaged communities. Together, we will chart a course to a more sustainable community supporting all its members. 

As space is limited, we ask that people interested in being a part of this dialogue register by going to, by calling 352-214-1778, or by emailing Deadline to register is Sept. 25. Full details on the time and location of the event will be available upon registration.

We can’t just hope for the best, thinking some future, as-yet-undeveloped technology will save us. We can’t choose to just hunker down and pretend it’s every person for themself (and the devil take the hindmost). We can’t throw our hands up in the air and say we are powerless to influence future outcomes. We certainly can’t resign ourselves to the realization that our current political environment will never produce “leaders” capable of meeting the challenges of climate disruption.

What we can do is apply the knowledge climate scientists have developed through rigorous research and, aided by the creativity of our inventors and engineers, take measures to accelerate our transition to a clean energy future. Many groups and government departments have been working on this issue. Much good work has been done. Nevertheless, to avoid the disaster of an increasingly warming world, we need to act with more urgency.

The climate crisis is surely a global crisis, but, as has been said for generations, we need to “think globally, act locally.” We must begin to implement a local response to this global crisis in every community if we are to overcome the challenges ahead.

We share one planet and will experience a shared fate. Every one of us needs to join the fight to stop this unfolding catastrophe in its tracks. Every one of us needs to decide what our role will be in creating a safer, more sustainable future. But we also need a coordinated plan of action. If we don’t all pull together, we won’t reach our desired future.

For far too long, climate misinformation and denial have dominated the public discourse and prolonged our slumber. Stop hitting the snooze button and join us in this community effort to create a better world starting right here, at home, in Alachua County. Please don’t be absent as we plan our future. We need your input and your energy to make it happen.

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