“a challenge we are willing to accept…unwilling to postpone” – JFK
I am running for Round Rock City Council to ensure that every family who calls Round Rock home enjoys the quality of life we are famous for and that our children and grandchildren have it even better.
But we have a problem. It’s a problem that affects each and every one of us. It’s bigger than Round Rock, bigger than Texas. The Fourth National Climate Assessment was released by the federal government late last year. It warns that climate change presents a significant risk to human health and safety, quality of life, infrastructure, agriculture, and economic growth. If you have lived in Texas over the past few years, you have experienced this firsthand. The extreme heat, drought, and flooding of 2018 was the #1 story of the year in the Williamson County Sun.
Recently, I heard someone say that we can try to fix our problems, or just try to outlive them. But this is a problem we will not outlive. It will be with our children and grandchildren. So then, the choice is to begin to solve the problem, or shirk our responsibility and leave it to future generations to suffer. I, for one, am not willing to shirk this responsibility. And I don’t think you are either.
As President Kennedy said in the same speech from which the title of this post was taken, we will do it not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Round Rock can and must be part of the solution.
At this point you might be asking yourself, “Ok, Blane, but even if I agree with you about the problem, why are you making this a Round Rock issue?” It is because cities are where the bulk of the greenhouse gasses are produced, and where the effects of climate change will be most burdensome. Round Rock is set to double in the coming decades. We are part of one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation.
The first thing we need to do is conduct an inventory of the greenhouse gasses produced in Round Rock, so that we know what the baseline is–what our carbon footprint is. Then we need to establish goals and timelines to reduce this footprint. We need to do this on two tracks: city operations, and the wider community. The first track involves things that the city controls: city owned fleet and facilities, and how these things are powered. The second track involves the wider Round Rock community. Here, the city needs to provide opportunities, infrastructure, and education programs to help the people of Round Rock find their own role in this effort.
In the next couple blog posts, I will talk in more detail about what Round Rock can do on these two tracks.