Letter to the editor: No climate plan

To the editor:

Thank you for running Marcel Harmon’s “Climate change isn’t a single issue; it frames all” in the July 23 edition.

In addition to Mr. Harmon, our outgoing city manager, Tom Markus, Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability Director Jasmin Moore, the Lawrence “hub” of the Sunrise Movement and others have called upon local government to begin to adapt to the effects of climate change; yet Lawrence and Douglas County lack a comprehensive plan to do so. The Fourth Annual Climate Assessment for the southern Great Plains recommends “regional adaptation efforts that harden or relocate critical infrastructure” to withstand extreme weather, as well as preparations for increased food insecurity, water shortages, disease vectors, and dangerously hot weather; and “climate refugees” from coastal areas may well add to Lawrence’s population growth.

A response to these issues will be a huge undertaking, requiring coordinated planning involving zoning, utilities, food policy, housing policy, emergency response and public health over multiple jurisdictions. But unless the city and county governments undertake such an effort, Lawrence and Douglas County will remain vulnerable to growing and palpable threats posed by a rapidly changing climate.

Thank you for your consideration.

Joe Harrington,



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