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Sustainability Task Force unites with people of Chico against climate change

The Sustainability Task Force held a meeting Thursday evening to discuss taking steps to become a commission. They also endorsed the Declaration of Climate Emergency as proposed by Chico 350, a local group devoted to sustainability. The Task Force listened to solutions to environmental problems posed by members in the audience.

Task Force Meeting.jpg
The Sustainability Task Force held a meeting Thursday evening detailing making the task force a commission at the Municipal Center. Photo credit: Nate Rettinger

The Declaration of Climate Emergency details a call to action by the Butte region to deal with climate change because it has greatly affected the area. Examples are increased rainfall that contributed to the structural failure of the Oroville Dam and the recent Camp Fire which affected air and water quality.

Mark Stemen, Chair of the Task Force, agreed that climate change was an issue to be dealt with when detailing the goals of the organization.

“Climate change is a public safety issue,” Stemen said.

The Declaration also aimed to implement the Butte County Climate Action Plan. This would include continually reducing greenhouse gas emissions until Butte County is 100 percent fossil-free by no later than 2030.

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Graph from the Butte County Climate Action Plan detailing the reduction goals for 2030.

In addition to the proposed declaration, audience members voiced concerns and solutions for problems they saw in the community. Some ideas the audience offered included planting more trees, creating community gardens and regenerative farming.

Pamm Larry, the Director of, came to the meeting and said that food, particularly agriculture, is a huge sustainability issue. Larry stated that the modern agricultural practices we see today ruin the environment for future generations.

Larry also created Proposition 37, a defeated California state statute that would have required any food that was a GMO to be labeled as such.

Larry spoke on some of the concrete changes she wanted to see as a result of the Declaration being endorsed. Larry said that becoming aware of where one buys food is the biggest way to promote sustainability locally.

Another solution that was brought up during the session was a reprisal of victory gardens, which were created in World War II. Victory gardens were home gardens that were used to increase food production when the country was at war. They accounted for 52 percent of all agriculture during that time, according to Larry.

The modern use for these gardens would be regenerative farming, a type of farming that heals soil that has been poorly farmed or contains chemicals not commonly found in the region.

“The way in which we farm ruins the planet,” Larry said.

Mayor Randall Stone came to the beginning of the meeting to show his support and gratitude for the efforts of the Task Force and Chico 350.

“Really, the reason I came here was to thank you,” Stone said. “The fact that you’re engaging means a lot.”

Nate can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NRettinger19.

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