Low levels of winter snow and spring rain in Canada made for dry conditions. Lightning strikes and human burning then touched off record numbers of wildfires, and the prevailing winds brought the smoke over Cleveland and a good chunk of the U.S.
The smoke will pass, but problems caused by a changing climate will be something that everyone should expect in future.
“It’s really about finding what people think about climate action planning, about pollution reduction. Many of the people we have talked to over the planning process are very clear: They want clean air and clean water,” said Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency Executive Director Grace Gallucci.
Gallucci said they are actively working to get public input into an overall climate action plan for the five counties they serve in Northeast Ohio. They originally started work on the plan a little while ago, but are reopening opportunities for more public input — because what folks in Cuyahoga County want may not be the same thing for folks in Medina County.
For example, Cleveland might want more bike lanes to cut back air pollution, while Geauga County would like to see more available public transportation and Medina County may want better access to water.
Every community will have different needs, but there are plenty of poor air quality days in our area — even without the Canadian smoke. So in finding solutions to keep the air and water pollution free, the public has to be a part of it.
“We’re going to hear from them about what they think are the concerns — is it around flooding? Is it around air quality? Or is it around something else? — and hear what they’re looking for; what they want to see and what they want to do,” Ratner Community Partners founder Joel Ratner said.
Ratner’s group will lead community engagement through town halls and community information sessions to find out what residents would like to see to combat pollution and other problems caused by climate change.
Learn more about the plan, “eNEO2050: An Equitable Future for Northeast Ohio,” on the NOACA website.