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Denver Democrats - Urban Climate Justice - There is no planet B
Denver Democrats - Urban Climate Justice - One world
Denver Democrats - Urban Climate Justice - Climate justice now
Denver Democrats - Urban Climate Justice - Rising sea levels

Urban Climate Justice

    • Move quickly. We support the rapid transition of Denver's electricity generation to 100% renewables in the most expeditious manner possible.

    • Support workers. Subsidize the retraining and reemployment of workers displaced by the transition to clean energy and away from fossil fuels.

    • Include nuclear. In addition to solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power, we believe that small, safe, nuclear power sources deserve an unemotional evaluation.

    • Reduce lawn grass. More acres in the US are dedicated to the cultivation of lawn grass than any other crop by a large margin.  Grass is more resource- and water-intensive than most other crops cultivated, and it produces little benefit.  We should support property tax incentives to convert lawns to edible urban gardens and/or xeriscaping.

    • Adopt water-wise policies. We applaud last year’s enactment of the Water-wise Landscaping In Homeowners’ Association Communities Law, which says Colorado HOA rules must:

      • Not prohibit the use of non-vegetative turf grass in the backyard of a unit owner’s property;

      • Not unreasonably require the use of hardscape on more than 20% of the landscaping area of a unit owner’s property;

      • Allow a unit owner an option that consists of at least 80% drought-tolerant plantings; and

      • Not prohibit vegetable gardens in the front, back, or side yard of a unit owner’s property.

      • We support these rules as a model for all Deverites and believe that all Denver-operated properties should be landscaped in climate-appropriate ways, with an emphasis on native plants.

    • Limit usage. We support the limitation of water usage by large capacity sources, like for example golf courses.

    • Choose renewables. We support the use of renewable energy sources for municipal operations and encourage its adoption by residents and businesses in solar power projects, wind energy initiatives, and community solar programs.

    • Prohibit new natural gas use. We call for Denver to prohibit the use of natural gas in new construction, and to ease the transition for those who wish to eliminate natural gas in existing properties.

    • Apply standards. Develop and enforce energy-efficiency standards for buildings, both residential and commercial, and offer incentives and support for energy-efficient upgrades, like insulation, efficient lighting, smart building technologies, appliances, and industrial processes.

    • Retire fossil-fuel fleets. We call for the rapid replacement of fossil-fuel fleets for all municipal and county vehicles.

    • Promote Active transportation. We support Denver’s program to promote walking, cycling, and the use of electric scooters as sustainable alternatives to traditional transportation.

    • Fully develop public transit. We support an all-grid public transportation infrastructure to reduce reliance on individual cars which would require frequent availability to get from anywhere to anywhere quickly and cheaply.

    • Provide incentives. We should encourage businesses and residents to adopt electric vehicles through incentives and infrastructure development.

    • Go green. We call for green infrastructure, including green roofs, permeable pavements, and urban green spaces, to enhance resilience and absorb carbon dioxide, especially in poorer, denuded neighborhoods that need it the most.

    • Plant more trees. Expand the free tree program of the Denver Parks and Recreation department to target city right of way in poorer neighborhoods to build a tree canopy to combat the urban heat island effect.

    • Create forests. Develop micro-forest islands in the city, which have been shown to replicate the many benefits of diverse natural forests.  Preserve biodiversity where we have it.

    • Monitor and enforce recycling law.  Expand enforcement of Denver’s Waste No More Ordinance 306, voter approved in November 2022, which requires large multifamily residences, restaurants, and construction sites to recycle. With a recycle rate of only 40%, Denver is far behind comparable cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Portland, which have recycle rates above 70%.

    • Expand composting. The composting program list of acceptable items was reduced on the city-wide rollout, which is producing more garbage rather than less. We prefer what we were originally promised.

    • Hold producers responsible. Encourage manufacturers to design products and packaging that are more easily recyclable, less toxic, and more sustainable to make recycling more accessible and convenient, or make them responsible for recycling their own products.

    • Plan for resilience. Pay close attention to the effects of climate change to inform planning in all city operations.

    • Lead and educate. Democratic party and public office candidates should talk about climate change and our responsibility to combat it with policies and programs.

    • Collaborate. We support collaboration with businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions to leverage expertise and resources.

    • Participate. We advocate participation in regional and national climate action networks to share best practices and learn from other cities.

    • Adopt a long view. We ask that all citizens and businesses pay attention to the entire lifecycle of products.

    • Set goals. We subscribe to the belief that what gets measured gets done, so we call for specific, measurable goals and periodic reports to ensure we are on track in our climate initiatives..

    • By adopting a combination of these measures, Denver can contribute significantly to mitigating climate change and create a more sustainable, resilient, and livable urban environment.

Denver's environmental and climate challenges threaten our survival through climate change, population growth, unchecked urban pollution, and prolonged drought. We must protect our ecosystems and the overall health of our planet. We advocate policies and legislation to stimulate research, provide a fair transition to clean energy, encourage urban farming, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly. We must preserve natural resources, utilize health-based standards for air and water quality, repair affected communities, and control extractive industries.

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