On September 9, 2007, sixty United States mayors will converge on Sundance, Utah to attend the Sundance Summit . "The Sundance Summit combines the foremost tools and expertise with the influence of visionary local leaders to mitigate global warming, one of the greatest threats to the health and prosperity of communities today. Cities and citizens tangibly experience the impacts of global warming first—rising sea levels, shrinking snow packs, ravishing droughts, floods, and hurricanes. U.S. mayors are the political leaders closest to the solutions of climate change and cities taking action are boosting their economies along the way." The summit has one major goal: to take action to protect the climate.On the website, you'll find a 7min film about past Sundance Summits — with some familiar faces such as the Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson , who is campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president.
Over the last few years, US mayors have come together to combat a list of green concerns facing the nation with climate change getting most of the attention. As national leadership drowns in the gridlock of the "Beltway", mayors are creating a comprehensive grassroots movement for change. The Sundance Summit will, most likely, continue the efforts with up-to-date data and much needed peer-support.
This year's agenda is setup to be a full-board crash course on the best practices to remediate climate change. Topics being covered are green building (with Box Fox of Cook + Fox and Rick Fedrizzi of the U.S. Green Building Council), Framework for Federal Climate Policy, Climate Science: The Basics & the Latest and Innovation in Local Climate Action.
The summit is the continuation of a trend happening around the world as local governmental leaders take action on environmental issues. It's quite fitting for local electeds to see the dangers. The effects of global warming manifest, first, in isolated locales as we saw with New Orleans — they will be held accountable by their constituencies first and foremost. One of the Sundance Summit hosts, ICLEI has long been a lead partner for mayors, in the U.S. and across the world. The ICLEI's most established program, Cities for Climate ProtectionÂ® (CCP) Campaign, has helped over 800 cities reduce greenhouse gas emission by 70 million tons annually. CCP was launched in 1993. As mayors sign-on to legislation, statewide officials will pay more attention to the issues — and thereby, establish a groundswell to force the gridlock in DC to break. National policy will lay dormant while problems escalate until a majority of US senators and representatives feel the demand to protect the climate.
Legislation is only one way to make change. US mayors taking on climate change is a fantastic way to inform people of what they can do and the necessity of cutting carbon emissions. As Rocky Anderson , mayor of Salt Lake City, UT says, "You can make momentous change. This is an invitation for you to help our country build a more energy-efficient economy, and to protect our cities and citizens from the further impacts of global warming."