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WUWM's Susan Bence reports on Wisconsin environmental issues.

Advocates hope people join coalition to address climate change and racial disparities in Milwaukee

two people at a table
Susan Bence
Linda Frank at Green & Healthy School Conference (left) sits on multiple workgroups of the City-County Task Force On Climate and Economic Equity.

For the last three years a task force composed of citizens, advocacy groups, and city and county officials have been creating Milwaukee’s climate and equity plan to address challenges related to climate change and racial disparities.

The task force is working toward the goal of having the plan be adopted by both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County by the beginning of 2023. Supporters say broad citizen involvement is critical to making what’s laid out in the plan become reality and a proposed coalition, called Our Future Milwaukee, could help.

Member Linda Frank says she was an active volunteer before she was nominated by the local Sierra Club group to sit on the task force as chair of various workgroups. "I serve as chair of the nature in the city workgroup. I am co-chair of the education and outreach workgroup. And I was a member of the green buildings workgroup," she explains.

Though some workgroups have not met over the summer, Frank says proposals have been submitted. "The proposals that were developed by the task force, they are putting that together into a draft climate and equity plan for Milwaukee that is going to come out later this summer or fall and then it will be open for public viewing and comment."

In addition to the proposals, Frank says the education and outreach workgroup is spearheading the formation of the Our Future Milwaukee Coalition to bring together other organizations that have been working on climate and equity issues. The task force also seeks to include individuals who are committed to the same issues. Ultimately, she says, they'd like the coalition to serve as an advocate for the adoption of the climate and equity plan.

Our Future Milwaukee Coalition information sessions are coming up this month: Friday, August 12 at 12 p.m., Tuesday, August 16 at 12 p.m. and Thursday, August 18 at 4 p.m.

Frank says the coalition will not be managed by the workgroup but instead by the organizations and individuals who come together. The coalition, she says, will hold elected officials accountable and advocate for climate issues, funding and resources.

"We're going to complete our task, but the job of addressing climate change is not going to be done when the climate and equity plan gets passed. So, we're looking at meeting those targets for 2030 and for 2050 and continuing the process and improving upon that," she says.

Though people may be aware that climate change is happening, Frank says people should be aware that something can be done and thats where the climate and equity plan comes in. She invites people to join a listening session to learn more.

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Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.
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