An Open Letter to Mayor Lee Brand on Fresno’s Role in Combating Climate Change

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Lee Brand, mayor of the City of Fresno

Dear Mayor Brand:

We are a group of students attending the San Joaquin College of Law (SJCL). Law Students for Community Advancement (LSCA) was created to invigorate a culture of engagement at the SJCL and empower the student body by facilitating positive and impactful relationships with our community. We believe that as law students and future legal professionals, we have a duty to advocate for social justice in our community.

On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump withdrew our nation from the Paris Climate Agreement—an ambitious agreement uniting all nations in the fight against climate change. Despite President Trump’s announcement, various institutions, the State of California and 211 city mayors throughout the United States have pledged their continued commitment to the cause. As leader of our great city, we urge you to join this coalition and take action against climate change. The people of the City of Fresno depend on you to lead them toward a healthy and prosperous future.

Climate change is a reality accepted by scientists around the world. The effects of unchecked releases of greenhouse gases not only threaten to destabilize our country but also every nation on the globe. Rising sea levels already threaten our precious California coast. Closer to home, drastic changes in seasonal average temperatures will decrease crop production, not only adversely affecting our local and state economies but also causing strife within food insecure regions of the world.

Furthermore, air pollution—an issue familiar to Valley residents—will continue to shorten the lives of your constituents. The Fresno-Madera area already holds the unfortunate distinction of being in the top three of national rankings for polluted air, and last year it was estimated that 176,000 people in Fresno County live with asthma—a condition exacerbated both by the causes and symptoms of global climate change. The American Cancer Society estimates that 16,000–24,000 non-smokers die from lung cancer in the United States every year, a phenomenon exacerbated by the effects of air pollution.

As the food basket of the world and a city unfortunately plagued by air pollution, Fresno should be leading the battle against climate change. It is no longer enough for the city to stand idly by on this issue. It must commit to the cause and take a firm stand for sustainability—in practice and in policy. While it is true that every person has a responsibility to make lifestyle decisions with an eye to the future, as the leader of our city, you have the greatest responsibility and power to move us in the right direction.

As future leaders of this community, we care deeply and will continue to promote the best interest of its citizens. Our eyes are on you as you build your legacy as mayor. Know that the decisions you make in the interest of building sustainability and justice will be celebrated throughout our community and the State of California.

Regardless of the position you take on this issue, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of any assistance as you navigate other difficult issues of social justice in the community. LSCA is interested in partnering with and assisting the City of Fresno on community issues in furtherance of our common goals.

Respectfully,

Law Students for Community Advancement

Raquel Busani, President

Ali Huda, Vice President

Darcy Brown, Community Liaison

Jennifer Nguyen-Bui, Secretary

Law Students for Community Advancement encourages Fresno County citizens to contact Mayors Lee Brand of Fresno and Bob Whalen of Clovis to show their support for a move toward a cleaner, more sustainable and healthier future for the Valley.