Let’s hear it for the Climate Action Plan!

Latest in a series on Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
Kurt Vonnegut

City of Bethlehem
Climate Action Plan 2021


Christina Tatu, “Bethlehem unveils climate action plan that calls for net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.” Morning Call, April 12, 2021.


When Gadfly first began writing about the Climate Action Plan, he found himself thinking of these lines from Vonnegut and including them on his posts. He had a sense that the idea of a CAP was biting off a lot, that it would take a long time, and that the only way it would ever succeed would be through masterful organization.

Wishing wasn’t going to get it done, dude.

Pious intentions weren’t going to get it done.

He’s sure that the road to CAPs in many another city are strewn with the bones of well meaning elected officials and administrators and activists.

Yesterday, however, our completed Climate Action Plan — with proximate roots going back at least to 2017 and City groundwork activity before that going back into the Callahan administration — was rolled out in a Town Hall event moderated by Councilman Reynolds, the driving force of the plan, with his wingmen Mayor Donchez and Public Works director Mike Alkhal.

It was the triumph of several years of effective organization.

Yesterday was an historic event. Bethlehem made history yesterday. This was a day to be remembered.

Gadfly didn’t sense enough hoopla, enough pomp and circumstance. He’s not sure how much much boom there was in the Zoom audience.

The Mayor talked, but unfortunately Gadfly arrived too late to hear him.

The hard-working, ever helpful, and modest Mike Alkhal talked, reflecting in specific detail on 20 years of relevant environmental protection work leading up to the CAP, work that made “good sense, as in dollars and cents,” pushing back against the push back that environmental work adversely affects the economy.

But this was Councilman Reynolds’ moment.

Why does Bethlehem need a climate action plan, he asked?

“Climate action and sustainability are presenting all humanity with an unprecedented challenge. And we are already starting to see some of the effects of climate change not just in our community but throughout the country and throughout the world. And as we move forward, climate action policy is going to be a combination of federal and state policy but also local policy because there are some things that are better done at the community level. And one of the things that I think is becoming more and more part of the conversation that we’re focusing on is that the citizens that are going to be most affected by climate change and that are going to face the most severe impact are also our most vulnerable citizens. So it’s not just something that we should do or can do but something that we need to do. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we are building a Bethlehem that is going to work for everybody as far as these issues are concerned.”

Gadfly was glad to be present yesterday, and he will devote a few more posts to covering some of the high points of the roll-out.

Net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.  Gadfly looks forward to celebrating his 100th birthday with that gift.

But still much work to do.

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”

Keep at it, Willie and gang!

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