On Wednesday, July 5, 2017, the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors voted unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of the Paris Accord – the historic global agreement reached by 195 countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the rise in average global temperatures.
“The Board wanted to make it clear that climate change is not an issue of ‘if’ or ‘when’ for the Park District,” said East Bay Regional Park District General Manager Robert Doyle. “We are impacted by climate change now, by erosion, by sea level rising, by fires, by drought, and by other extreme weather events.”
There is widespread scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and is caused by human activity, especially the use of fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases. It has been widely recognized by governments, businesses, and academic leaders as a threat to our natural world, economy, health and quality of life.
“Climate change is happening now to our regional parks and 55 miles of shoreline,” said Doyle. “We have to address this now or taxpayers will be paying more in the long run.”
“Withdrawal from the Paris Accord would undermine the global effort to confront climate change, one of the greatest challenges facing our planet. The consequences of inaction may be irreversible and will affect all regions around the world,” added Doyle.
The East Bay Regional Park District’s 2013 Master Plan calls on the Park District to monitor and prepare for the effects of a changing climate to ensure the community’s natural, cultural and scenic resources are protected for future generations. The Park District’s efforts include amongst operational practices in adaptation and mitigation, considering climate change in all policies, and contributing as a national leader in climate smart practices for the management of public parklands and land use planning in the wildlands and urban interface.
With over 55 miles of Bay and Delta shoreline, the District provides the first line of defense against sea level rise for millions of people in the East San Francisco Bay region. To that end, the District has developed restoration strategies – such as the Dotson Family Marsh wetlands restoration and shoreline access project in Richmond – that help address the impacts of sea level rise by providing a buffer for homes and public facilities near the shoreline. The 150-acre Dotson Family Marsh project cost $20 million and was funded in part by the EPA.
In response to the President’s intent to withdraw from the accord, a number of local governments have adopted resolutions in support of the Paris agreement. Given the Park District’s increased focus on the impacts of climate change to parklands and the Bay Area, it was appropriate for the Park District to adopt a resolution in support. The EBRPD Legislative Committee previously considered the issues and recommended the Board of Directors to adopt a resolution in support of the Paris Climate Accord.
To learn more about the Park District’s Climate Smart Initiative, visit EBParks.org/ClimateSmart.
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 120,000 acres in 65 parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.