City of Austin seeking community feedback on how to address racial injustice in regard to climate change solutions

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin has recruited 12 community members and asked for public feedback for its plan to address racial inequity alongside climate change, according to an update sent to the City Council on Friday.

The recruitment of the 12 new members to the Office of Sustainability is to help include people of color who have been historically left out of climate change conversations, the City says.

The draft for the new Austin Climate Equity Plan was posted online for public input earlier this month and includes a survey for community members to give feedback on what strategies to prioritize, including creating green job opportunities and making transit more accessible for people of color and people with disabilities.

The progress update is part of a revision process for a 2015 Austin Community Climate Plan the city council adopted to achieve net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The City Council gave the Office direction for the revision in 2019 to address their concerns and those from the community about how low-income communities and people of color suffer more the effects of climate change.

“The effects of extreme weather, air pollution, water pollution and exploitation of natural resources amplify the inequities and injustices that these communities are experiencing,” the message to the City Council reads. “This is why we cannot solve climate change without addressing equity, and we cannot talk about climate change solutions without talking about racial and environmental justice and centering communities of color in our response.”

The Office of Sustainability plans to have the final climate equity plan ready for the Council to review by Oct. 30, according to the progress update. Public feedback for the plan closes on Sept. 30.

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