Washington, D.C. – On Monday, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and U.S. Transportation Secretary and former Mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg joined a virtual press event with LCV to discuss the need for investments to help fight climate change and to advance clean energy and environmental justice. The event was moderated by Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund Executive Director Casey Bowers. Speakers addressed the ways that investing in clean energy will insulate the nation from volatile fossil fuel prices, provide greater economic stability, lower energy costs, and protect our national and climate security.
Watch the full recording here.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “Climate investments are one of the best, and infrastructure investments [in particular], are the best places to break the old false choice between environmental responsibility and job creation. This is job creation through doing the right thing environmentally. The jobs that these create are often called green-collar jobs, but I would point out that they are very plainly blue-collar jobs … this is part of what it means to fortify pathways into the middle class.”
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said, “Every decision we make in the city of Cleveland must be grounded in the lived experience of people … so [we are working to] make Cleveland truly one of the first cities in North America to adopt a 15-minute city framework. Regardless of whether you are in a wealthy neighborhood in our city or in a low-income neighborhood, everyone deserves good quality grocery stores, good quality public transit, good quality parks. Climate change and the impacts of climate change is really about race and equity and social justice.”
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said, “We have made responding to heat a whole-of-government approach here. We have the first-in-the-nation permanent office in city government called the Office of Heat Response and Mitigation … [and] we have a major strategy to plant more trees, particularly in low-income communities. We’re trying to have an eye towards impacting those who have been most harmed by policies in the past as we develop our climate plans for the future.”
Speaking on her efforts to expand free public transportation in Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu said, “We not only prove that it makes such a fundamental difference in residents’ lives, but the impacts are intersectional and multiplicative as well. Cities have the chance right now to be really clear about translating the urgency to the experience of people’s day to day lives when it comes to climate. For a long time, climate was often discussed as a very high level, inches-of-sea-[level rise], and things that are far into the future, but as we’ve all said, it is here now, it is urgent, it is connected to every part of people’s lives.”
Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund Executive Director Casey Bowers said, “In our decades of advocacy, we have seen time and again that cities are on the front lines of environmental issues — and often the birthplaces of innovation and progress. As Americans grapple with the impacts of climate change, mayors across the country are rising to meet the challenge. We are at an inflection point where federal funding could and should empower cities to lead. We’re honored to have some of those key leaders here with us today, each of whom is taking a whole-of-government approach to fighting climate change in their city.”