The City of Easton’s Climate Action Plan

 

Senior citizens struggle to stay cool in their homes during the summer, doctors see more cases of tick and mosquito-borne illness like West Nile Virus or Lyme disease, areas that haven’t flooded in recent memory experience costly flood damage – these and many other experiences of Easton residents are connected to climate change, and are expected to worsen in the coming decades.

A climate action plan (CAP) is a collective game plan for city government, community organizations, schools, individuals, and local businesses to respond to the ways climate change affects our residents and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions we put into the atmosphere.

The plan lays out strategies that can improve air quality in the Lehigh Valley, make Easton residents’ homes more comfortable in both winter and summer, ensure future development reflects residents’ vision for their city, create new economic opportunities, enhance natural spaces where people can go to relieve stress and have fun, and more. This plan belongs to and affects all of us – so make your voice heard and let us know what is important!  A draft version of the plan is available here.

Please sign up for an account on ISeeChange and help us document heat impacts in the City. Information on this project is hereThe Nurture Nature Center is asking community members to collect and report observations related to heat. How is heat impacting you? How does heat vary around the City – are certain areas hotter than others? Where is shade needed? This information will inform climate action strategies and adaptation measures in Easton’s Climate Action Plan – efforts can target those areas needing heat relief.

Here are some examples of actions the plan might recommend:

Lafayette College currently requires all new
buildings and major renovations to meet LEED silver standards for sustainability. The plan could encourage similar commitments from other institutions.

Easton already has several sites for urban farming. The plan could suggest ways of expanding access to the food grown in the city, whether through outreach efforts, creating additional garden sites, or other means.

The plan could lay out a process for identifying the areas in the city where people are most susceptible to heat-related illness in order to increase green space and other interventions there.

As in the Bethlehem CAP, the plan could propose a feasibility assessment for generating renewable energy on City-owned land.

If a goal of the plan is to reduce waste sent to landfills, one strategy could be to expand composting by offering residential curbside pickup.

Have your own creative idea for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or making Easton more prepared for climate impacts? Let us know! Residents know Easton best, and your ideas are crucial to a successful plan.

Looking for more ideas?

Reach out and share your ideas, concerns and comments here.

Additional information:

Learn about climate science and predicted climate impacts locally and globally
• NASA, Climate Change: How Do We Know? – With engaging visuals and easy to understand language, NASA summarizes evidence, causes, and effects of climate change.
• Fourth National Climate Assessment – While this entire report, which is prepared by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) for Congress and the President every 4 years, is very long, the website lists all chapters so you can select what you are interested in learning more about – from the climate science to projections for various climate impacts to potential responses.
• The FAQ page for the assessment answers many common questions about climate change.
• Climate Explorer – This tool includes maps and charts that depict impacts of climate change at the city and county level. We can see that Easton can expect to experience warmer average temperatures, more days above 90°F, and potentially more extreme precipitation.

Addressing your individual footprint
• Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Work, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions – Suggestions for energy efficiency and reducing waste specific to the workplace.
• Teaching Climate: Human Responses to Climate Change – A wide variety of educational resources focused on how individuals, communities, businesses, and governments can respond to climate change.