Local Activists Push for Fargo-Moorhead Climate Emergency Declarations

Declaration will be an acknowledgement that the climate crisis is an issue and that cities need to begin preparing to adapt.

3 mins read

Activists with Red River Valley Climate Action (RRVCA) want the Fargo (N.D.) City Commission and Moorhead (Minn.) City Council to declare climate emergencies, and they’re collecting signatures to highlight community members’ support.

Red River Valley Climate Action is an ad-hoc group of climate and social justice activists formed by Neva Francis after the Youth Climate Strike in September 2019. Its members are high school students, college students and adults who live, study and work in FM metro communities. 

Francis said a climate emergency declaration will be an acknowledgement by local governments that there is a climate crisis, a commitment to consider the environmental impacts of every decision they make and a promise to make every effort to decrease the cities’ carbon emissions.

“We’re doing this to get Fargo and Moorhead leaders to formally acknowledge they agree with the scientific consensus around climate change, that we can see the effects right now, that human activity contributes to the climate crisis and that city leaders have a responsibility to make decisions that decrease carbon emissions to ensure a healthy and sustainable community for the generations to come,” Francis said.

“We Have No Other Choice”

About 25 RRVCA members have been collecting signatures since Feb. 16, 2020. As of March 1, the group had collected more than several hundred signatures. Due to social distancing recommendations related to the coronavirus pandemic, RRVCA members have not been able to meet since then and an updated count isn’t available. The group has suspended face-to-face signature collection until further notice, but Fargo and Moorhead citizens can sign the petition online through The Action Network.

The petition forms lay out a statement of purpose for the RRVCA effort:

“We are proud that our communities always come together during crises. Our response to climate change should be no different. We must mobilize at the scale necessary to realistically respond to the massive existential problems we face. Even though our leaders and federal and state governments have failed to act, we can and must begin developing community plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We have no other choice.”

That perfectly captures the feelings of Ryan Livdahl, a sophomore at Fargo South High School and RRVCA member who has been collecting signatures. He believes the majority of people in Fargo-Moorhead support climate action but haven’t had enough opportunities to speak out. The drive to collect signatures has given some of them a voice, he said.

“I think we here in Fargo really undervalue how important we are, specifically in the context of the rest of North Dakota,” Livdahl said. “We’re in a place where we can inspire change in the rest of the state, and maybe elsewhere, if we take a step forward ahead of the rest of the cities and declare a climate emergency.”

Originally posted on IV Words. Re-posted with permission.

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Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV is a husband, father of three, proud Fargoan (N.D.), small business owner, reader, writer and progressive. He's also the founder of the IV Words Blog (ivwords.com) Finally, he's a ginger; ergo the “Red.” Living blue in a deep red state is tough, but somehow, day by day, he gets by.

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