PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Providence City Council is taking steps to establish the capital as the country’s first “Climate Jobs City.”
City councilors unanimously passed a resolution during its meeting on Thursday night that would do so by “enacting climate policies that ensure renewable energy, workforce development, decarbonization of buildings, and green infrastructure, among other goals.”
The resolution, sponsored by Councilor Sue AnderBois, also mentions including stakeholder voices in the private industry, labor movement, environmental movement, and racial justice movement, in addition to city residents, when making decisions.
It focuses on making sure emergency preparedness programs and alert systems are “language-appropriate,” so all community members are protected in the event of things like flooding or extreme heat.
There’s also a focus on mobility throughout the city, with an emphasis on transit-oriented development. Plus, schools would incorporate climate literacy and environmental education into learning.
Additionally, the city would work to ensure there’s equal access to “open and recreational space that are free from air, water, and soil pollution,” while working to increase the availability of qualified cooling centers, public pools and urban forests.
Councilor AnderBois, who chairs the Special Committee on Environment and Resiliency, says city government is already taking steps toward the goals set in the resolution.
“We’re already looking at how we’re going to decarbonize the municipal buildings in the city of Providence. So, expect that in the next little bit of time,” AnderBois said. “Our special committee just passed the building energy reporting ordinance on Monday, so expect that before the full council soon. There’s more to come and I’m really, really excited about it.”
The resolution has support from Mayor Brett Smiley and his administration. Director of Sustainability Priscilla De La Cruz spoke on behalf of the mayor Thursday night.
“It is possible to move our city towards clean energy and climate resiliency while preparing our workforce of today and tomorrow to be active participants in a new, green economy,” De La Cruz said. “The Smiley Administration looks forward to working with this broad coalition of frontline workers, Providence residents and business owners, and the many advocates dedicated to this work.”
On Wednesday, the White House launched the American Climate Corps, which officials say will serve as a major green jobs training program.
The program will employ more than 20,000 young adults to build trails, plant trees, help install solar panels and do other work to boost conservation and help prevent catastrophic wildfires.
More than 50 Democratic lawmakers, including Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, had also encouraged Biden to create a climate corps, saying in a letter on Monday that “the climate crisis demands a whole-of-government response at an unprecedented scale.’’