The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about. This column is also part of a series of columns by local government candidates. Michael Parker is a Chapel Hill Town Council member and running re-election in the fall.
Climate change is the existential issue of our time. If we don’t respond to it quickly, boldly and effectively, nothing else that we do will matter much to our children and grandchildren.
Many people ask: “What can a town like Chapel Hill do? Isn’t it a Federal and State problem?” While there are critical things that we need these governments to do — regulating coal fired generating plants for example — there are important things that we need Chapel Hill to do.
Case in point. Transportation is the second largest source of greenhouse emissions in North Carolina — soon to be the largest. The most important thing that we can do to reduce these emissions is cutting vehicle miles travelled (VMT). We must get people out of their cars. This is where Chapel Hill comes in.
The combination of smart land use planning and the provision of multi-modal transportation — particularly transit — is the most important thing we can do to reduce VMT. We need to stop sprawling and create compact, mixed use neighborhoods that are walkable, bike-able and connect to transit. And only Chapel Hill can do this for Chapel Hill. Regardless of what the Federal and State governments do or don’t do, it is incumbent upon us to take action now.