Cities around the world face the effects of climate change and wealth inequality. To address these pressing, global issues many mayors are stepping up as powerful, and vital, voices for creating low carbon, healthy cities that address climate as well as social issues.
At the recent C40 Mayor’s Summit in Ciudad de México, which was the largest group of local leaders fighting climate change since COP21 in Paris, mayors gathered to advance a shared agenda, share knowledge, and increase the visibility of climate solutions in cities.
One of the key topics to come out of C40 is the connection between climate change and income inequality. As Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille points out in the video below, with climate change, it’s the poorest of the poor that suffer. However, city leaders are finding new, innovative ways to address climate change and social justice challenges through clean transportation projects, energy efficient retrofits, and more.
For instance, in Seoul, Mayor Park Won-soon created a project that puts employees from low income families to work making existing homes more energy efficient. “The job of a mayor,” he says, “is not to guarantee the prosperity of the current generation, but the next generation.”
The challenges around climate are immense, but addressing them has the potential to unify us on a global scale. Creating energy efficient cities goes hand-in-hand with creating clean cities with a commitment to social, quality of life, and environmental goals. As New York City mayor Bill de Blasio points out, “The fight against climate change...has the possibility of concentrating our energies, and think about rebuilding our society, reshaping our society, and just in time for us to address an inequality crisis which is reaching very dangerous proportions.”