Boone’s Town Council has committed to take more aggressive climate action. Establishing the foundation for further action, policy and advocacy, Boone has reaffirmed its goals of climate neutrality and the sole use of renewable energies in municipal operations by 2030 and 2040.
This while setting a 2050 deadline for townwide sole use of clean renewable energies.
Business as usual has caused Boone to creep toward becoming victim to one of civilization’s greatest threats, climate change. Ignoring the warning signs and disregarding future consequences will only seal our fate in catastrophe.
“Along the North Carolina coast, sea level is rising” according to the Sea Level Rise Assessment Report prepared by the State’s Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel. From sea to rising sea, no nation, state or community will be spared from climate change as a devastating, widespread and unprecedented humanitarian crisis prepares to overcome us.
In our community nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, an overdue large scale mobilization effort to pursue a sustainable future is needed more than ever, before it’s too late.
Recognizing the local impacts of an almost unfathomable global crisis is difficult, however, they are becoming increasingly certain to occur. Published in 2020, North Carolina’s “Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan” began integrating climate justice policies into state operations while outlining our bleak future.
The future likely holds dangerously hot summers, severe droughts and devastating flooding. Higher temperatures could comprise local air quality leading to disastrous public health consequences, especially for those with respiratory conditions. Taps may run dry as droughts lead to water restrictions with clean water becoming a luxury. Flooding would decimate agriculture and infrastructure while store shelves become as barren as the fields that once supplied them.
Such predictions sound alarmist, yet they represent reality for millions worldwide. Bangladesh is sinking, Brazil is running out of clean water and Somalia is starving. On our current path, Watauga County will fall to the same fate, however, even in this potentially catastrophic situation a saving grace remains — but only if we choose to utilize it.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, greenhouse gasses caused by human activities “are the most significant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century.” Since we know the cause of our existential dilemma, we know how to prevent its reality. Empowered through knowledge, sustainable policies spearheaded by local climate activists are attempting to replace a grim future with a prosperous one.
In 2019, Devin Mullins led the Appalachian State University Student Government Association’s passage of the Climate Neutrality Act which called for the University to achieve climate neutrality by 2025. Now, as SGA’s director of Sustainable Development, Mullins works with university, student, and community stakeholders to ensure climate justice policies are pursued and implemented.
On Jan. 21, town council members Nancy LaPlaca and Dustin Hicks, and I introduced a “Climate Emergency Resolution” which declared a climate emergency and began the implementation of 11 other climate initiatives.
These initiatives stress the need for action and commitment in mitigating our climate crisis.
Previously adopted goals were reaffirmed and private-public partnerships are advocated for and encouraged while implementing measures for community accountability.
Our progress toward achieving a sustainable future must continue as stalling will seal our fate to a catastrophic demise. With leaders such as Hicks, LaPlaca and Mullins at the helm, may we work to prevent a doomsday of our own creation.