The Yolo County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to accelerate climate action and fund a climate advisory committee tasked with helping the county “achieve a just economic recovery and transition to a countywide carbon-negative footprint by 2030.”
Worldwide, 1,783 local governments in 30 countries have declared climate emergencies. According to a press release from the Climate Mobilization Project, there are 110 declarations within 24 states in the U.S., representing over 37 million people or 11.3% of the country.
“As a mother and Indigenous woman, what we are currently seeing is a very clear and loud alarm from our mother earth and ancestors,” Adelita Serena, a Woodland-based organizer for Mothers Out Front, said. “We must change course off fossil fuels before it’s too late. I have two sons and I want them to have a future. We must act now with great urgency.”
Supervisors put the county on record in recognizing the scientific consensus around the emergency and committed $50,000 in county funds to support the advisory committee.
“We as a planet really have to get going on reaching the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2030,” Supervisor Don Saylor said. “We need to hold ourselves accountable to real deadlines just to keep things from getting worse.”
According to the release, the resolution was spearheaded by the Yolo County Climate Emergency Coalition, a volunteer team, and was endorsed by over a hundred grassroots organizations and individuals.
The coalition first presented a climate emergency resolution to the board at a March 10 meeting. Here, the board directed staff to work with community advocates to draft a policy statement.
“We are on the frontlines of the climate emergency,” Juliette Beck, an organizer with the Climate Emergency Coalition, said. “This resolution now puts in motion a collaborative response that centers the needs of our most vulnerable populations and provides pathways for a healthy, climate-positive recovery.”
The resolution comes as the county continues to cope with an especially disastrous fire season. According to the resolution, the effects of climate change are exacerbated by an increased frequency and magnitude of wildfires.
The effects of this increase in wildfire frequency include “air pollution, health impacts, utility and transportation services interruptions, economic disruption, property loss, dislocation, housing shortages, food insecurity, gaps in education due to school closures and impacts on agricultural production,” according to the resolution.
As of Wednesday, the LNU Lighting Complex Fire has been burning for 43 days and has destroyed 363,220 acres and 1,491 structures.
It is the fourth largest fire in California’s recorded history and five people — including civilians and fire personnel — have died.
According to the release, the fires have been especially harmful for farmworkers, who work long hours while inhaling toxic smoke for the fires. The harvest period — August to October — coincides with the state’s lengthening fire season.