Local officials, activists urge action on climate change

Local leaders call for action on climate change on the national level.
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 7:01 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -The issue of climate change and its impact on wildfires brought a local assemblywoman Reno’s fire chief and environmental activists to a news conference at Idlewild Park Thursday afternoon.

The setting may have been Reno’s shadiest park, but the focus was on Washington, D.C. our combustible landscape, the air we all breathe and the sign behind the podium, Climate Can’t Wait, said it all.

“Without strong action on climate change we will face unprecedented disasters in our natural ecosystems,” said Sparks Assemblywoman Natha Anderson. That means extreme weather and, here in the West, wildfires. Anyone who’s lived here for any length of time will tell you while we’ve always had wildfires, things have changed in recent years.

“The cost in terms of lives and property is incredible,” said Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran. They’re larger. They burn longer.” And he pointed out those fires are having an impact far from the flames.

and he pointed out those fires are having an impact far from the flames.

“During the spring, summer months, into the fall really we all learned what AQI was--air quality index-- because of the heavy smoke and that impacts everybody’s lives not just people who are near a fire or might have to be evacuated. That is now a year-round problem that we have to address.”

That’s what brought Jennifer Cantley to this gathering and this issue as a field consultant with Moms Clean Air Force. Asthma seems to run in her family and she’s also now a COVID long hauler. The smoke from last summer’s wildfires left her struggling. She’s dreading another fire season.

“I feel like there’s a weight on my chest. I’m having a hard time walking from my bedroom to my kitchen. I’ve had to do lung therapy and I have to have my inhaler with me all the time now. I’m not used to that.”

Climate change is, of course, a global issue with complex solutions, but as years pass the window for those solutions may be closing, which brings us to Washington. A clean climate bill funding green energy initiatives has passed the house but waits in the senate.

“Every second of inaction costs us,” said Anderson.

“The best time to address climate change was 10 years ago, 20 years ago,” said Cochran. We can’t roll back the clock so the next best thing is to address it today.”

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