Activism to address global warming suffered when November election results gave increased power to climate-change deniers in Congress. But that isn’t stopping progressive mayors from acting. Along with fellow members of the Mayors Innovation Project, Eugene, Oregon, Mayor Kitty Piercy has promoted the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, now backed by more than 800 local leaders. One of her first projects after her 2004 election was a Sustainable Business Initiative that encourages the growth of businesses that produce sustainable products while promoting green building, recycling, natural food, alternative fuel and alternative energy development. With purchases of hybrid vehicles and the use of biodiesel fuel, Eugene has decreased its city CO2 emissions by 10 percent, and the community recently developed a broader plan to cut carbon.
In addition to her environmental activism, Piercy champions LGBT rights, women’s rights and child-welfare initiatives. Active with US Mayors for Peace and Women’s Action for New Directions/Women Legislators’ Lobby, she shows up at peace rallies to declare: "Some may scorn our local efforts to change national priorities, but I, like you, believe in the power of our city, the fierce grassroots power of our people to do what needs to be done."
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