'We don’t have time to waste': Tucson heat prompts AZ leaders to consider declaring a 'Climate Emergency' - Front Page Live

‘We don’t have time to waste’: Tucson heat prompts AZ leaders to consider declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’





Fires burn in the distance in the Tucson heat

Frankie Lopez / Unsplash

After a record-breaking month of Tucson heat, the mayor of this Arizona city is ready to act. For the city of Tucson, climate change is not a distant idea, it is a present, daily threat. Tucson’s City Council will take up a resolution to declare a Climate Emergency at its meeting on September 9.

“We don’t have time to waste. It’s life or death,” said Mayor Regina Romero. “It is a public health issue as well.”

It’s not just the Tucson heat

Stop sign warning of extreme heat

Graeme Maclean / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

“We can expect more very hot days and hot nights as we move into the future,” said Gregg Garfin. As an Associate Professor and specialist for the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment, Garfin works to bring scientific data into community planning discussions.

When it comes to issues of climate change, “You can pay for it now or you can pay for it later,” says Garfin. “If we pay for it later, it will cost a lot more.”

And the Tucson heat is just part of the picture. KOLD News 13 reports that as the climate changes, the effects will, “worsen the effects of major hazards such as wildfires, drought, extreme heat, and flooding.”

Tucson to join 1,767 other cities

Descriptive map of arctic heat shows temperatures rise in the northern hemisphere climate emergency.

Screenshot / @ScottDuncanWX

Around the globe, 1,767 jurisdictions have declared climate emergencies. And it is not just cities; Scotland and Wales both declared a climate emergency in April 2019: by May, all of the United Kingdom had joined them. Countries including Argentina, Austria, Canada, and Spain have declared a climate emergency as nations.

Add in local governments from around the world, and the number of people living under a declaration of climate emergency totals over 820 million.

There is no universal definition of a “climate emergency.” For some areas, these declarations offer a legal acknowledgment that allows access to funding to fight the effects of climate change. Where public health is concerned, this can allow authorities or agencies to take immediate action. In some cases, it is simply “an official recognition of an existential threat.”

Some US cities have declared a Climate Emergency

Boston skyline on a clear evening.

skeeze / Pixabay

The US is hindered by politics, but some US cities have declared a climate emergency, including San Diego and Boston. In Arizona, the Tucson heat is a concern, while in Massachusetts the main issue now is sea-level rise. Boston city councilor Matt O’Malley knows, “We can no longer afford to say we need to act on climate for our kids and our grandkids. The effects are happening now.”

Even though 76 local US governments have declared their own climate emergency, only 8% of Americans are covered by such a declaration. Compared to European nations, the US is slow to officially recognize the climate crisis. Boston Councilor O’Malley fears the United States lags too far behind in accepting the facts, and in coming up with a plan.

The evidence is clear

Climate protesters hold a sign that reads climate emergency.

Flickr / Takver

Drought and wildfires in California, heatwaves in Texas, Arizona, and Nevada, and sea-level rise in Florida are all examples of how climate change is already affecting the US.

And across the US, environmental damage has a disproportionate impact on Latinos.

Latinos are significantly more likely to live in areas with higher pollution, areas already affected by climate change, and areas where these two environmental dangers combine to create an even greater risk to life and health.

The good news is Latinos make up a large percentage of Americans eligible to vote in many states already affected by climate change. And a majority of Latino voters rank climate change as a top concern.

That is good news!

Bright clean airy sky above green grass.

Scott Webb / Unsplash

When Americans go to the polls on November 3rd, Latino voters will make up the second-largest voting bloc in the US, as well as the largest non-white voting bloc.

A multi-agency poll shows that a majority of Latino voters’ climate concerns are focussed on leaving behind a cleaner world for future generations. And a Latino Decisions poll found that 70% of Latino voters rank a president and Congress who will take on climate change as “very or extremely important.”

Vote Like A Madre

JLO at an event

DVSROSS – GLAAD 2014 – Jennifer Lopez

In a call to action to this powerful voting bloc, Latina moms from across the US are coming together to use their enormous voting power. The movement Vote Like A Madre is gaining momentum based on one simple principle. “In November, when we vote,” Jennifer Lopez explains, “we will be voting with our children’s future in mind.”

Madres “pinky promise” their kids to vote for leaders with a plan to protect clean air and clean water, leaders who will help communities already affected by pollution and climate change. The movement grows as more and more madres share their Pinky Promise on social media using #VoteLikeAMadre.

You don’t need the Tucson heat to want to Vote Like a Madre

Two hands joined in the Vote Like a Madre pinky promise.

Vote Like a Madre

Zoe Saldana, Jessica Alba, Salma Hayek, and Karla Souza are among the high-profile Latina moms across music, television, film, and business who, like JLo, support #VoteLikeAMadre.

We will use our madre superpower — the vote — to protect their planet and their future.”

Nathalie Rayes, President and CEO of Latino Victory Project, is another Vote Like a Madre leader. “I want my two young boys to grow up on a planet where clean air and water are not valuable commodities, but abundant resources available in our natural environment. I urge my fellow madres, tías, abuelas, and madrinas to join our #VoteLikeAMadre movement and pinky promise our children that we will use our madre superpower — the vote — to protect their planet and their future.”

The movement is also supported by Chispa, Poder Latinx, Alianza, Mi Familia Vota, and New Florida Majority.

For more information, please visit the website or text MADRE to 52886.

And be sure to join the conversation using #VoteLikeAMadre on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Disclaimer: This sponsored article was produced and distributed in partnership with Latino Victory Project, in support of the Vote Like a Madre campaign.

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