In 2014, the World Health OrganizatiMayor Stephanson’s Commitment to Climate – Keeping Our City Greenon calculated that just about seven million premature deaths occur annually due to air pollution. No matter which side of the political spectrum you find yourself camping on, everybody agrees that as a general value, we all need oxygen, and as humans, we need it clean and readily available.
Luckily, the city has our best interests in mind when it comes to these principals. In June of this year, Mayor Stephanson became a signatory to the Center for American Progress 'We are still in Paris" open letter to the international community and Paris Agreement parties, and joined theMayor's National Climate Action Agenda, which is a mayor to mayor collaboration on climate. This also happens to be ten years after signing the US Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, where the City of Everett, among many others, agree to meet or beat the standards set forth in the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits State Parties to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, based on scientific principles.
Aside from those measures, Everett currently has seven all-electric buses slotted to replace the traditional diesel ones you’ve likely used to seeing roaming down our city streets, which should take place over the next two years. These steps are being taken with the end goal of making all city buses and city utility vehicles emission-free in the future, as our financial infrastructure allows for it.
Among these activities, we have adopted anti-sprawl land use policies, forestation restoration processes, provided local government employees with ORCA passes to encourage shared commuter travel, and are underway implementing public educational campaigns in order to share reasonable and effective measures for reducing individual and large-scale carbon emissions and/or carbon footprints.
Everett has been named an annual Tree City USA award winner by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the last twenty years. The program has been rewarding cities since 1976, and we’ve been involved in the effort for just about half of it’s lifespan. The Tree City USA standard is awarded by meeting several fundamental standards set forth in regard to urban forestry management, which include “maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day”.
If you’re interested in contributing, look into the Green Everett Partnership, the details of which can be read about here: https://everettwa.gov/796/Green-Everett-Partnership. Forterra (www.forterra.org) and the Everett Parks and Community Program partnered to create the program specifically to maintain and improve Everett’s parks, greenbelts and forested areas, which total more than 350 acres altogether. You may join with parental consent if you’re under 18 and don’t plan on tagging along with your parent or guardian, volunteers need no experience, and any tools necessary will be provided. There are opportunities to join in all the way through September.
The benefits to participating in green initiatives aren’t just the kind of green you find on trees, either. The reward comes back us in the form of cold, hard cash: dollars saved on erosion control, stormwater management, reduction in costs for energy (like cooling buildings by growing trees around them, or saving money by powering buses with electricity versus diesel on the city and utility buses mentioned before). Having well-kept outdoor habitats also translates to free outdoor recreation, naturally filtered air and water, and the benefit of building community.
Lastly, it’s an effective and morale-boosting measure to build up Everett. By care-taking for our city and our world, we honor it and each other.