Meet Your 2018 CCL-AR Congressional Education Day Delegates
Citizens from all over Arkansas are concerned about the climate change effects they are observing and experiencing. They want leadership and bipartisan climate solutions. Below are the climate stories of our Arkansas CCL delegation members and the stories of a snapshot of community leaders from throughout the Natural State.
Chris Balos Springdale, Arkansas I’m from the Marshall Islands and I am a Marshallese community advocate. I am concerned about how climate change affects my family back home and here in the U.S. The effects of climate change are evident back home with rising sea level and coral bleaching, both of which are affecting livelihoods. I am also concerned about how climate change will affect future migration of my people. We are already seeking better opportunities for work, education and health care here in the U.S; Springdale, Arkansas is already a prime destination for Marshallese. I feel it necessary to get myself acquainted in the broader Northwest Arkansas Community to create the network, build the necessary relationships and understand the resources available so I can be better equipped to serve my families and friends who choose to come here.
Remona Block Prescott, Arkansas I am a community organizer, wife and mother who is concerned about the effects of climate change on my community and family. With an increase in the number of unpleasantly hot days, there is an increased risk for heat stroke and heat-related illnesses, especially for the very young, the elderly and those who work outdoors. I worry about crop yield and income loss for our hard-working farmers who are now dealing with storms and flooding that are made more violent due to climate change. We need to be a State (Arkansas) and nation that is leading on climate policy. Instead we are virtually the only nation that has abandoned international agreements that the rest of the world has signed off on. Our government is also pulling back on other climate safeguards including limits on hydroflurocarbons.
Chris Casey Dardanelle, Arkansas I am the CCL 4th District Group Leader. I am a US Army veteran and a graduate student at Arkansas Tech University studying Emergency Management and Homeland Security, with a focus on climate change, cybersecurity, and risk management. I just moved to Arkansas from Texas. Texas is already facing the effects of climate change with historic droughts and more frequent and intense storm systems. I am a conservative who has previously served as Chairman of Brazos County Young Republicans and Risk Management Director for The Texas Federation of College Republicans, where I made my concerns about climate change public and encouraged action from conservative leaders through op-eds and other lobbying efforts.
Janice El-Amin Eudora, Arkansas I am the Organizing Director of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel. Addressing the rapid changes in our climate is very important to me. I am seeing the effects of global warming with the intensity of hurricanes and rising temperatures. I believe that if we do not address this rapidly growing climate issue, our way of life will be drastically changed.
William El-Amin Eudora, Arkansas I am the Chief of Police in Eudora and am the Co-Chair of Citizens’ First Congress. Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Arkansas are being felt daily by the rising temperatures and the emissions from factories affecting air quality. We also have problems with animal processing plants dumping pollutants into our waters. We must begin to start addressing issues and passing progressive laws to protect our environment
Nathan Keltch Little Rock, Arkansas I have a degree in business from UALR and am a Little Rock Central Graduate . . .Go Tigers! In the past I have worked for environmental non-profits ranging from international to local including The Nature Conservancy, Resources for the Future, and The Anacostia Waterfront Trust. Along with my NGO experience I have worked on four different political campaign in various roles, often managing a staff of 40 people or more. I am currently a graduate student at The Clinton School of Public Service. As a proud resident of the second congressional district, I am excited to represent CCL as the Congressional Liaison.
Jean Larson Batesville, Arkansas Since moving to Batesville 5 years ago, I have met lots of local small farmers. I also now grow sustainably-raised vegetables for local families. I and my fellow local producers and consumers know that shifting to more sustainable food production practices is a vital part of climate action. Damaging weather extremes are increasing in Arkansas, bringing more intense flooding and droughts. These unseasonable weather events and new insect pests are economically harmful, causing loss of plants and harvest.
Robert McAfee Hackett, Arkansas I am a climatologist who has studied climate change and observed related changes in western Arkansas for more than 4 decades. The clearly distinct four seasons of childhood are no longer present. Our winters are noticeably warmer and summers hotter and more humid. These factors are causing our agricultural hardiness zones to shift northward. My 92-year-old dad who has lived in the same community for nearly 90 years, like others in agriculture, has experienced increased unreliability and unpredictability. For example: 15” of rain in one week is a weather event not experienced in the historical past. As my father has said often over the last decade “how can we honestly not know that the climate is changing!”
Faith Mullins Little Rock, Arkansas I am the Recycling and Sustainability Educator for the City of Little Rock. I studied Biology during college and am naturalist at heart, but my true passion lies in local government. The multitude of negative impacts resulting from climate change are already putting pressure on local governments and this pressure is only going to increase. For example: our storm water and energy infrastructure are unable to withstand the strong storms that occur during spring and mid-summer, and these storms are becoming stronger every year. This leaves our residents with flooded homes and no electricity, posing health hazards from mold growth and excessive heat. It is time to take dramatic action to preserve the quality of life here in Arkansas; let’s help reduce this problem by passing market- based carbon reduction legislation!
Onie Norman Dumas, Arkansas As a resident of Dumas and south Arkansas I have lived through many weather changes and events. But over the past few years it seems our storms are more severe, humidity is higher, winters are not as cold. It’s not just the weather that is changing our climate is not the same. This concerns me because of what will happen to our children. Everything is more chaotic.
Sumedha Rao Little Rock, Arkansas I have always wanted to build great cities that provide a safe, efficient, and thriving environment for everyone. At my current position at Entegrity, an Arkansas based building sustainability company, we help hundreds of clients like the Batesville School District save millions on utility bills and upgrade their infrastructure to higher standards of safety, efficiency, and health. Climate change poses a great risk to the building and infrastructure sector in our state, and threatens to decline property values and hike construction, maintenance, efficiency, and health costs. A market-based carbon fee will help level the playing field for our industry and help companies like ours do more for the people and the environment.
Sara Saucedo Jonesboro, Arkansas I am the founder and President of the first Environmental Club at Arkansas State University. Originally from Los Angeles, CA I have experienced climate change first hand; I have seen frequent wildfires destroying acres of forest and wildlife, have swum in polluted oceans, and breathed the polluted city air caused by massive carbon emissions. Upon moving to Jonesboro, Arkansas, I realized climate change was not as big of an issue to most despite the increase in temperatures, more frequent heat waves, public health problems, increased rain fall causing soil erosion, and farmland suffering from drought and flooding occurring in the past years. It is time for us to collectively work towards preservation, conservation, restoration and protection our planet. Arkansas needs leaders in the fight against climate change, the economic stability, environmental purity, and social stability relies on preserving the planet. It is time to fight to protect the one thing keeping us alive.
Jan Schaper Russellville, Arkansas I am the Citizen’s Climate Lobby State Coordinator for Arkansas. I worry that climate change is threatening our way of life. For example: what is more American than apple pie? New USDA climate zone maps show climate zones shifting north; our Arkansas orchardists are, by necessity, shifting away from apple growing. Other agriculture impacts will follow, affecting the economy, food supply and our traditions. We need our elected officials in Washington D.C. to take action on market-based bipartisan climate solutions. The choice between and robust economy and climate solutions is a false choice. Market-based climate solutions like CCL’s Carbon Fee and Dividend will preserve our climate and grow the economy.
Jennifer Taylor Jonesboro, Arkansas As a student at Arkansas State University, I have begun to realize there are multiple factors that play into each life decision, and in turn, are all connected. My education has taught me the significance of extreme changes in climate – from human health to effects on biodiversity. The interwoven actions by humans are key components to the problems faced within policy, agriculture, economy, etc. I have witnessed the increase in disease prevalence due to environmental determinants. I have heard the concerns of local farmers who are struggling to keep up crop production in a recently changing climate. I have recognized the diminishment of our ecosystem, deadening the genetic variation crucial for life on earth. It is an understatement to say that these changes have a negative effect on both my education and future. I must emphasize the urgency to take action in fighting against climate change at every level.
Trina Walls Star City, Arkansas I am the co-chair of the Environmental Caucus with the Arkansas Citizens First Congress. I am concerned about the environment because I love breathing. Pollution and resulting changes in the environment have affected the very air that we breathe. More and more Arkansans I know are affected by lung diseases.
Robbie Wilson Fort Smith, Arkansas I am a co-leader of Fort Smith Citizens Climate Lobby chapter. While some people still believe excavating coal, oil, and natural gas is less cost prohibitive to produce, from start to finish, than building solar arrays, wind turbines, and other sustainable systems that generate electricity, the market has shown us that mining, drilling, and fracking are very expensive and labor intensive. They cause major damage to the environment, and these processes must be done repeatedly, in place after place to keep up with the growing energy demands of the world. Renewable energy is cheaper and more steadfast for the economy moving forward, as well as being cleaner and more ethical to produce. They are simply a bad investment today because of their potential to inflict long-term ecological damage, which come at a high price, and because they are commodities of limited and constantly dwindling supply.