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Gainesville Declares State of Emergency with Climate Proclamation

Commissioners Arreola, Johnson and Warren met to discuss how to bring about changes to address inequity in the city. (Sophie Feinberg/WUFT News)
Commissioners Arreola, Johnson and Warren met to discuss how to bring about changes to address inequity in the city. (Sophie Feinberg/WUFT News)

Below: listen to the radio version of this story from WUFT-FM.

wrap Climate Crisis

The city of Gainesville followed the lead of over 1,200 other communities in a climate change decision: Gainesville has declared a state of emergency.

Gainesville City Commissioners voted unanimously on the decision to adopt a climate emergency proclamation. The climate emergency movement urges cities and communities to make carbon footprint reduction a priority.

The climate state of emergency decision encourages the city government to look at ways to reduce Gainesville’s carbon emissions, with the end goal being zero percent. Commissioner Helen Warren led the commissioners to this decision.

"I recognize that there are things that are important to get done in the next 10 years because after that point, there will be things that will be lost with our environment and the health of our planet that are going to impact our everyday lives, the social impact of the people who have the least are going to be hit the hardest," Warren said.

Warren originally asked the mayor and fellow commissioners to consider a proclamation of climate emergency. After the unanimous vote, the commissioners decided to draft a proclamation and resolution to show their support of the movement.

Jay Rosenbek, Alachua County's League of Women's Voters Natural Resource Co-Chair, was proud his city's commissioners are supporting the movement.

"It can confirm the city of Gainesville's willingness to fill a leadership void on climate created by state and national timidity," said Rosenbek.

The city will be required to consider the climate impact of any future policy decisions. Commissioner Warren said this proclamation is long overdue.

"The idea is to think about how we prepare for a hurricane and to use that same preparation experience," Warren said. "To engage in conversations on how this implies that our actions do matter."

Commissioners have started to research ways to adopt the proclamation and resolution in future projects. To learn more about the movement, read this article Warren cited during her announcement.

Correction needed: A previous version of this story misstated the number of communities who have made a similar declaration.

Reagan is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.