The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly passed a resolution at its meeting Tuesday, promoting the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Assemblymen Willie Dunne was one of the resolution sponsors.
“To increase awareness that we need to protect our fisheries, our wildlife, our wild areas, I think this is just one little tool in increasing awareness and, as somebody else said, being good stewards for the Earth,” Dunne said.
Carrie Henson, of Kalifornsky, called in to the Zoom meeting to talk about the correlation of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
“From how quickly our air quality around the world has improved with everyone hunkering down to how our state’s dependence on oil has put us in grave economic jeopardy, as oil prices go into the negative. A window into the future of when oil is no longer a resource we can rely on,” Henson said.
Jan Wallace, with the recycling organization ReGroup, called in to say that individual Earth Day efforts are still encouraged, even if group activities had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
“You can have a cleanup in your area, especially of plastic, which is damaging our wildlife. If you take pictures of an area before and after your cleanup, post it to hashtag trashtag,” Wallace said.
There was some opposition to the ordinance, Willie Nye, from Homer, called in to say Earth Day is a socialistic globalist agenda and encouraged the assembly to ignore it.
Assemblyman Norm Blakely didn’t object to doing ‘organic things,’ as he raised a garden and chickens as a kid, but didn’t think Earth Day should be promoted by the assembly.
“I had other constituents just call me and ask me about it and they weren’t in favor of it. And so, you can do whatever you want to do, I just don’t really support what it says or does, in that aspect,” Blakely said.
The wording of the resolution doesn’t advocate for any particular environmental actions. It does recognize that the borough comprehensive plan includes goals to maintain the quality of the borough’s environment, scenic beauty and natural systems and habitats. Beyond that, it invites borough residents to make a conscious personal difference in the welfare of their environment. Assemblyman Tyson Cox didn’t see anything wrong with that.
“As far as I’ve read this, it’s not asking anybody to do anything that they don’t want to do,” Cox said. “So, for people that don’t want to participate, I think they just don’t have to participate. And, so, I think it’s a good thing to get the information out there and just say, ‘This is something that’s important.’”
The resolution passed eight to one, with Blakely casting the no vote.