Dear Editor – Climate Disruption, Equity and Affordability

Dear Editor,

   Thank you for posting SCAG’s request for comments, It prompted me to write this letter as I’m highly concerned about the unwitting consequneces of SB 9 & 10 on our already fragile climate’s homeostasis. My comments focused on climate disruption, equity & affordability dictating common sense as I asked SCAG to support “Our Neighborhood Voices” local planning initiative.

This is what I wrote:
As a social ethicist focused on the effects of climate change for the past 50 years, it is imperative for the well-being of all to offset the devastating, irreversible climate impacts that SB 9 & 10 will inadvertently bring about.

Notice that since Katrina in 2005, devastating superstorms are becoming the norm. In California, wildfires season is now yearlong, with 8614 fires this past year. Our glaciers are rapidly melting – not regenerating. Tornadoes growing in number & their intensity is whiplashing widening areas. Unchecked these erratic climate disruptions can quickly become exponential, like slow-starting cancer….

Strides made in green buildings are necessary, but not sufficient to stem the escalating devastation. Given that building & construction accounts for 40% of our greenhouse gases, we cannot afford to heedlessly build. Bypassing CEQA for more housing is a kiss of death for irreversible devastation.

Instead, let’s address our housing needs in eco-efficient ways. Norway is becoming an exemplar, so too are dedicated urban planners, architects, and designers. See Sierra magazine 2021 Winter issue.

Note also Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and Urban Planning’s Spring course calling for a Moratorium on New Construction that I believe echoes what many of our city planners are calling for – but will have no say until we reclaim the democratic process and restore local planning to our local communities.

We need your leadership now, lest like a slice of lemmings, we rush over the cliff of inevitable climate devastation as there is no “deus ex machina” to pop out at the end of the day and save us, and our planet, – this, our common home.

I pray for you and your loved ones’ sake and for all who will follow us that you exercise the leadership that makes common sense prevail, so that together we can more quickly find sensible solutions to house our marginal & unhoused brothers & sisters, even as we provide housing for those more comfortably situated.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr Suzanne De Benedittis, PhD

The Actors' Gang

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