It is no secret that our generation has had a front row seat to the unfolding of the climate crisis. Climate change threatens plants, animals, and people across the globe and within our community. I will push forward sustainable solutions which were made in collaboration with campus sustainability leaders. My goal with this sustainable platform is to have a systematic view, because every piece of legislation deserves the question “is this sustainable?”, and that is what I’ll do.
Madison is widely known and loved for its “four lakes”; in the downtown/campus area, Lake Mendota is not only an important resource, but a popular community space and recreation area. We must be doing more to protect our lakes and other water resources from harm and preserve them for future generations to enjoy.
Pollution is one of the largest threats facing our water resources here in Madison due to urban runoff, winter salting, and fertilizers; this pollution can cause a problem known as eutrophication. Eutrophication, the over-enrichment of water with nutrients and minerals, causes large algae blooms to emerge on bodies of water. This algae deteriorates water quality as well as the ability for aquatic ecosystems to support other plant and animal life, while also rendering the water unsafe to consume or swim in.
I want to ensure that our lakes and other water resources are protected from pollutants. In order to do this, I want to minimize the use of phosphorus-based fertilizers, implement runoff reduction techniques such as the planting of “buffer crops” that absorb polluted water before it can enter the larger water body, and transition the city away from salting roads and sidewalks during winter, instead looking to alternatives that can maintain winter safety but reduce pollution such as brining.
The usage of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas to generate energy creates harmful pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In order to protect our environment, we must transition our energy systems away from fossil fuels and towards clean and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy. I will fight for an equitable, affordable, and sustainable clean energy transition here in Madison.
I will collaborate with county and state offices including the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change and the Wisconsin Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy in order to implement effective energy solutions here in Madison. Solutions I will fight for here in Madison include:
Public outreach about home energy efficiency solutions
Creating a navigator program to help Madison residents understand new energy funding and tax credit opportunities available under the Inflation Reduction Act
Establishing energy efficiency and sustainability requirements for new housing developments and within building codes
Supporting community solar programs
Energy efficiency retrofits for student housing and city buildings
Establishing an energy transparency rental ordinance in the city requiring potential tenants of rental properties to be informed of average energy costs
More Sustainable Policies
There is no one “right” way to protect our environment, and we must consider a systematic, multidisciplinary variety of solutions. Other initiatives I would fight for in order to protect our natural resources, health, native species, and future include:
Food waste is harmful not only to our environment, but to people; in a city with a high cost of living and wide economic disparities, we must ensure that our food systems are sustainable and equitable. I will work to establish community gardens in the city, engage in public outreach and education about composting, fight for city composting sites, and expand awareness of sustainable, healthy, and accessible food options on and around the UW campus such as FH King, Slow Food, Open Seat, the UW Food Recovery Network, and the Campus Food Shed. Reducing food waste and expanding food access is not only crucial for sustainability, but ensures that the needs of the community are being met through initiatives with a focus on equity and accessibility.
Bird Friendly Buildings
Windows pose a threat to birds, who can be confused by the clear glass and fly into it, resulting in injury or death. I want to ensure that birds are protected in order to preserve biodiversity, protect native species, and ensure a healthy ecosystem. In order to do this, I will fight for window decals on city and campus buildings, as well as the distribution of these decals for the public to place on their own home windows.
Landscaping often results in the loss of native species, as existing plants are often removed for the sake of appearance. Landscaping and construction have driven native plant and prairie loss, which threatens ecosystem stability and the survival of species who rely on these plants and prairie habitats. I will ensure that city landscaping and maintenance is focused on native plant restoration through the planting of Wisconsin native plants on city properties. I will also collaborate with the University to establish a native plant partnership on city-campus shared land.