Oakland City Council, Public Works Committee Members1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, 2nd FloorOakland, CA 94612
Dear Members of the Oakland City Council,
The undersigned organizations are writing to strongly support passage of the Climate Emergency Declaration & Just Transition Resolution that was passed unanimously by the Public Works Committee on October .
Last week’s United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes it clear that climate change is an existential threat to the survival of humanity. Our window for meaningful climate action to hold the world warming at 1.5C is vanishingly short - 12 years at the very most. As the chair of the IPCC said, "Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”
The report laid out the difference between 1.5C and 2C of warning: the projected deaths of approximately 420 million people globally, from drought, famine, lack of potable drinking water, flooding, fires, extreme storms and hurricanes. We are nowhere close to keeping warming to 2C, even with the existing climate commitments of local and national governments. Some climate scientists estimate that we are now looking at up to a 3-4C world, which could condemn us to an uninhabitable planet.
As we witnessed in 2018 in the United States alone, from the historic devastation caused by Hurricanes Michael and Florence on the Eastern seaboard, to the chaos caused by wildfires in California, climate change is already an emergency.
The impacts of climate change are being felt most dramatically by frontline communities: low-income people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and Oakland’s houseless residents. Given that frontline communities are also least responsible for causing the climate crisis, it is undeniable that climate change is an urgent economic and racial justice crisis.
It's up to all of us to work together to chart a path of Just Transition from an extractive, destructive and racist economy towards equitable, regenerative and local living economies that uphold human rights and the life support systems of the Earth. Ensuring the leadership of frontline and indigenous communities in this Just Transition is a practical necessity, not just an ideological or symbolic gesture. Key to a Just Transition is the City of Oakland working in partnership with community-based organizations to address the historic inequities of Oakland that have resulted from the legacy ofredlining and disinvestment.
Oakland’s flatlands residents in East and West Oakland, Fruitvale and Chinatown experience far greater rates of asthma, cancer, respiratory illness, and diabetes - illnesses resulting from an unhealthy polluted environment and extractive economy. Flatlands residents, particularly African Americans, are also facing unprecedented rates of displacement, resulting in Oakland losing a quarter of our city’s Black population to far-flung communities in the outer East Bay, diminishing the diversity that makes Oakland special. Meanwhile, people with middle- and upper-incomes have the financial ability to make personal investments in personally sustainable choices: solar panels, hybrid or electric vehicles, energy efficiency improvements, and permaculture gardens.
The current scenario is Eco-Apartheid. We need Eco-Justice.
At this time in history, a livable future for any of our children is far from guaranteed. We must do everything in our power today to create a safe, just and healthy world for ourselves, for our children and for future generations.
Your Climate Emergency Declaration & Just Transition Resolution before the Public Works Committee is an opportunity to clarify and solidify the City of Oakland’s commitment to an equitable approach to climate action. The City of Oakland would be joining with the Cities of Richmond and Berkeley, which both voted unanimously to advance this same Resolution.
As Dr. King said prophetically in 1967, “ We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be humankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community. ”
By declaring a Climate Emergency and articulating the need to advance a rapid mobilization towards a Just Transition, the language of this Resolution matches the urgency and scale of the ecological, economic and climate crisis that we face.
Thank you for passing this Resolution at this evening's October 30th City Council meeting.
Colin MillerCoordinator, Oakland Climate Action Coalition
Marquita PriceThe East Oakland Collective
Haleh ZandiPlanting Justice
Greg JacksonSustainable Economies Law Center
Shreya ShankarRooted in Resilience
Barbara Stebbins & Al WeinrubLocal Clean Energy Alliance
Beth Teper, Robin Freeman & David RalstonBrower Dellums Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies & Action
Miya YoshitaniAsian Pacific Environmental Network
Ms. Margaret GordonWest Oakland Environmental Indicators Project
Michelle Mascarenhas-SwanMovement Generation Justice & Ecology Center
Igor TregubSierra Club SF Bay Chapter
Armando DavilaThe Climate Mobilization
Susan StephensonCalifornia Interfaith Power & Light
Janice L. Kirsch, M.D., M.P.H.San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility
Joshua LeeAYPAL: Building API Community Power
Carolyn NoorYouth Vs Apocalypse
Jack Lucero Fleck350 East Bay
Bradley AngelGreenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
Minna TolouiBerkeley Climate Action Coalition
Rochelle Towers1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations
Laura AllenGreywater Action
Beth WeinbergerKehilla Community Synagogue
Bonnie Borucki Transition Berkeley
Tom B. SmithEarth Justice Associates of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland
Jeannette HenriquezMycelium Youth Network
Jodi PincusRising Sun Energy Center
Phoenix ArmentaResilient Communities Initiative
Lisa FergusonClimate Compassion
Mari Rose TarucFilipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES)
Amy Halpern-LaffGreen Monday
Tyrone Stevenson Jr.The Original Scraper Bike Team
Shoshana WechslerSunflower Alliance
Kemba ShakurUrban Releaf
Margaret RossoffNo Coal In Oakland
Sheila Kolenc, ChairBlake Acton Mabel Neighbors (West Berkeley)
Sheila IslamClean Water Action
Ayako NaganoNorCal Resilience Network
Alex GhenisDisability & Climate Advocate
Carlos ZambranoThe Rose Foundation
Marilyn ChilcoteBeacon Presbyterian Fellowship
Rev. Dr. Robert McKenzieSt. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley
Rev. Sally JuarezBerkeley Presbyterian Mission Homes
Margaret RossoffNo Coal in Oakland
Annie BanksAnti Police-Terror Project
Cat BrooksCat Brooks for Oakland
Kyle LemleLead to Life
Joshua GormanThrive East Bay
Morissa ZuckermanSunrise Bay Area