Ask people around New Orleans about their priorities and concerns, and you’ll get a list that looks something like this:
- Violence or crime
- Housing and gentrification
- Crumbling infrastructure
- Racial justice and equity
These are all important and very real. I have policy recommendations based on science and basic decency which I will share here soon. But notice what’s missing.
In developing policies for the city of New Orleans, we should look to the heavens. Specifically, we should look to our neighboring planet, Venus. The morning star should be our guiding star.
Recent science indicates Venus was once like Earth. Now it is uninhabitable, with surface temperatures that can reach 880ºF. What happened? In a nutshell, climate change happened. Scientists call it a “runaway greenhouse” effect, caused by high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Venus shows the greenhouse effect is very real and can have very serious consequences.
The lesson is simple: we should not take the habitability of Earth for granted. We’ve been pumping greenhouse gasses into the air since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and we are now seeing the consequences. Climate change is not something in the far-off future. Climate change is happening now, and we need to stop it. We need to stop pumping greenhouse gasses into the air. This basic truth should inform all our policy decisions.
In other words, if we don’t handle the issue of climate change, we will not have any other issues.
We need bold action on climate.
First steps to take immediately
- Declare a climate emergency
- Adopt a resolution declaring the right to a clean environment
- Establish a comprehensive New Orleans “green dashboard,” tracking key indicators (such as the city’s carbon footprint) in a transparent and public fashion
- Establish an Office of Climate Justice
Urgent next steps
Note: Our campaign plans to publish more comprehensive policies on these complex points.
- Hold Entergy accountable
- Improve transportation options
- Decarbonize the local economy
- Municipal composting
- Ban single-use plastics
- Update zoning and building codes
- Implement green/climate education programs
State and federal priorities
The main focus of this campaign is local action, but City Council must also advocate for policies at the federal and state level.
- The state of Louisiana should declare a climate emergency.
- Amend the state constitution to guarantee the right to a clean environment to all.
- Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources must be reformed for maximal effectiveness.