Climate action change plan approved by Langley city council

The plan includes three overarching goals, which are supported by strategies and actions.

Proponents of combating climate change shared an ambitious action plan that was recently approved by the Langley City Council.

At a council meeting March 21, members of the city’s volunteer-led Climate Crisis Action Committee led a presentation detailing the board’s work plan.

The plan includes three overarching goals, which are supported by strategies and actions.

The first goal calls for business owners and residents of Langley to reduce greenhouse gases by installing 100 solar panels around the city and adding heat pumps and mechanisms to make use of greywater. City officials are also invited to participate in achieving this goal by replacing city vehicles with electric cars, establishing shuttle service to the Clinton ferry terminal and considering passage of a carbon fee resolution.

The second goal involves the community in promoting a healthy ecosystem. Starting with trees and forests, actions include updating an urban forest strategy and advocating for Island County to incentivize the protection of trees. Another action recommends the addition of a city gardener, who would be responsible for maximizing the “wealth of sun, water, soil, yards, parks, and rooftops to conserve energy and water, build soil fertility and gardens, plant fruit and nut trees, supporting current and future generations to flourish.” Passing a zero waste ordinance is also recommended.

The third goal focuses on listening, teaching and communicating. Actions listed advocate for initiating a climate change community survey, forming partnerships with allies and community-based organizations, issuing a quarterly update, developing a climate identity for Langley and considering joining the BrightAction project, which is a website that “enables local teams of residents to compete with each other to reduce fossil fuel use, conserve water and power and reduce waste.”

City council members were supportive of the proposed plan.

“What a great vision,” Councilmember Craig Cyr said. “I’m excited about it.”

Councilmember Gail Fleming said she felt inspired and that the council should approve the work plan.

Councilmember Rhonda Salerno asked if the committee could prioritize working on building code ordinances that will affect new development, such as the use of electric heat pumps and greywater caches.

Cyr pointed out that the council will need to know the budget implication of the work plan.

Members of United Student Leaders, a Whidbey-based group of students promoting equity and advocating for change within the community, applauded the council’s action. The students urged the city to create the Climate Crisis Action Committee last year.

“I am very excited to hopefully soon see the CCAC’s climate action projects implemented in our community,” Sydney Carver said. “The climate crisis is an important and urgent issue, so I hope these actions will come to life as soon as possible. I appreciate the Langley City Council’s supportive response to these plans and hope other local governments will follow their example with bold action to combat this crisis.”