MILWAUKEE — In remarks written for the twenty fifth anniversary of Earth Day in 1995, former Wisconsin governor Gaylord Nelson requested a easy query: “Do we who are here today owe anything to future generations of people and other living things?”
More than 25 years later, Gov. Tony Evers answered by saying the creation of the Office of Environmental Justice on the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Created through government order, the workplace will work alongside the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy to advertise collaboration between state companies and push for environmental insurance policies that guarantee each Wisconsinite has clear water to drink and recent air to breathe.
The workplace can even be tasked with speaking with stakeholders and organizations all through the state who symbolize teams that face a better danger from environmental threats.
“Far too often communities of color and low-income communities are forced to live, work and play near sources of pollution, leading to poor health outcomes,” Evers mentioned. “We cannot ignore the role environmental justice plays in building a state where every family in every zip code can be successful.”
The newly shaped workplace was initially proposed within the last report from Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change and later included in Evers’ 2021-23 biennial price range proposal, but it surely was finally faraway from the ultimate price range by the GOP-led legislature.
During a Friday press convention at Indian Community School in Franklin, Evers mentioned he’s creating the workplace anyway.
The workplace will probably be led by a Director of Environmental Justice who will oversee operations and environmental justice work. It’ll additionally obtain assist from a chief resilience officer who will work to help native authorities and Tribal Nation leaders with implementing local weather resilience applications and initiatives of their respective communities.
“The climate crisis has taken an undeniable toll on the people of our state. Every Wisconsinite — whether they live in the driftless area of the state, or the central sands, or the Northwoods, or in the heart of our urban areas — has experienced the impact of climate change,” Evers mentioned. “Over the last few years, increased flooding, tornadoes, high winds, blizzards and other severe weather events — caused in large part by climate change — have cost Wisconsin communities and businesses and farmers and families just absolute millions of dollars.”
In addition to the brand new positions throughout the newly shaped workplace, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will add an environmental justice coverage advisor to its workers to work with the Office of Environmental Justice.
Citing former Gov. Nelson’s work to launch Earth Day in 1970 and the state’s lengthy historical past as a frontrunner in conservation, Evers mentioned he and his administration are decided to make Wisconsin a nationwide chief as soon as once more.
“At the end of the day, the cost of doing nothing is far too high, and we can’t ignore the reality facing communities across our state any longer,” Evers mentioned. “Addressing climate change doesn’t mean leaving behind our state’s history or our traditions; in fact, it is that very history and that very tradition that demands that we move forward.”
Read Gov. Evers’ full government order right here.
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