The State of Ohio Must Implement a Climate Action Plan

We are the Environmental Heroes Advocacy team, a group of middle and high school students who conduct authentic field research and advocate for the preservation of our environment and climate health. Our request is that the Senate and House begin to seriously consider environmental protections through legislation and, most importantly, implement a statewide Climate Action Plan that will implement cost effective ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions in Ohio.

Many other cities such as Akron and Athens have taken an environmental stand by constructing sustainability proposals; however, these individual proposals are not sufficient to significantly impact the change of which our state and country are in dire need. Sea levels are predicted to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100 due to continued melting icebergs and glaciers, forcing millions of people to watch as their towns, buildings, and loved ones are consumed by the high tide. An increase in precipitation caused by the extreme warming of our planet will wash away nutrients in agricultural soil, affecting Great Lake States, whose economy and people rely on prosperous farming. Not only will climate change have significant future damaging effects, but its threats are a current danger, causing exaggerated natural disasters all over the world. It is approximated that in today's world, every 20 seconds a child dies from some aspect of climate change. Fires in California, hurricanes in Texas, drought in North Dakota, and floods in Missouri connect to a changing climate. The question is not if or when Ohio will be seriously affected. It is being affected now. Lake Erie is already impacted by climate change with warming waters and fish killing algal blooms.

Ohio would benefit from a comprehensive statewide plan that unites its cities and their goals to bring about a climate change mitigation movement that can have a significant impact for our state, giving protection to Ohio's future generations. Thirty-four states now have a Climate Action Plan in place. While Ohio has been a leader in addressing environmental issues in the past, a Climate Action Plan is a crucial piece of legislation that Ohio currently lacks. Not only would a statewide Climate Action Plan appeal to the growing groups of environmentally driven constituents within Ohio, but more importantly it would lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve the air, soil, and water quality, creating a healthier environment for all of Ohio's citizens.

We have drafted a resolution of our own with the City of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability which was unanimously passed by Cleveland City Council. And, we are currently working to collaborate with the comprehensive Climate Action Plans of the cities and organizations that inspired us to write our proposals and collaborated with us on advocacy work in the past. We have garnered support from Cuyahoga County's Office of Sustainability and support from many professional environmental activists within the Cleveland community. These individuals agree with us on the immediate need for a Climate Action Plan and have signed this document in support of this action. We strongly urge the entire State Legislative body to develop and implement a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that will be implemented throughout Ohio, supporting Climate Action Plans developed by cities, universities, and other agencies throughout the state and ask that students be included in the process. Our state has the ability to become a leader in the movement to mitigate climate change. Our group would love to continue to be a part of implementing and helping to develop this Climate Action Plan.

Thank you for your support!

The Environmental Heroes

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