BEND, Ore. - Is carbon neutrality a possibility in Bend? A visiting California city's mayor thinks it is -- his city is closing in on that goal.
Lancaster, Calif., Mayor R. Rex Parris told city councilors Wednesday night and a City Club of Central Oregon audience Thursday that he believes a carbon neutral city is the way to fight climate change, and that Bend is more than capable of following Lancaster as another city leading the way.
It's a move he believes needs to be made.
"There's an asteroid coming at us," Parris said. "The only difference is, we can't see it, but it's going to be as devastating as if it were an asteroid."
According to Parris, that asteroid is climate change, something he believes can be fought, if gone about the right way.
Bend Mayor Jim Clinton agrees the problem deserves the city's attention.
"I think it's something critical for us to look at, for a whole number of reasons," Clinton said.
Those reasons: It's a moral obligation and it's a whole new economic model.
Parris said climate change is a problem and something we must act on now.
"The magnitude of what's facing us is so catastrophic that our leadership doesn't really want to talk about it, and the reason it is, is because it's going to scare people," Parris said. "When people get scared, they change governments."
He also said it needs to be taken care of at a local level.
"This problem will not be solved on a national level. It will be solved on a city level," Parris said. "Obama doesn't issue building permits, I do. That's where it's going to be solved."
Clinton acknowledges that it's a problem, and one that has long-term repercussions.
"It's really not so much about us, it's about grandchildren, future generations," Clinton said. "Are we going to make this planet uninhabitable for people? Or are we going to really protect our habitat?"
Right now, Parris said Lancaster is about two years away from being completely carbon neutral. His goal is to make the city the alternative energy capital of the world.
To learn more of what Lancaster is doing: http://www.cityoflancasterca.org/index.aspx?page=598