Jackson Town Council moves forward with sustainability plan

Jackson's councilmembers provided direction for the draft plan, which garnered wide support from community members.
Jackson's sustainability plan will prioritize maintaining healthy populations of all native species, including elk. (Courtesy of VisitJacksonHole)

 

Amid rising temperatures and shrinking glaciers, Jackson is joining the list of communities planning for the impacts of climate change. The Jackson Town Council took steps toward creating a town- and community-wide sustainability plan at a Monday workshop. Councilmembers approved a big-picture vision that goes beyond specific climate actions, like reducing emissions, to include broader goals related to ecosystem stewardship and climate resiliency. 

Ecosystem stewardship administrator Tanya Anderson, who spearheaded the plan, said at the workshop that Jackson should set an example for other communities.

“If we aren’t willing to take action,” she said, “there’s no reason anyone else should too.”

Community members urged the town to move quickly and adopt the plan. Reade Dornan, whom voters recently elected to the Teton County school board, spoke on behalf of the Jackson Hole Climate Action Collective and told the council to move “expeditiously.”

Grant Gallaher, the 26-year-old civil engagement coordinator for Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, was one of several young adults supporting the plan at the meeting.

“Take this opportunity to make this plan as comprehensive, as equitable, as ambitious as we can make it,” said Gallaher, who is also involved in local climate action group Sunrise JH. “That’s what I hear people asking for — that we see Jackson, we see planet Earth as the future and that we have a responsibility to take ambitious action to address climate change.”

Councilmembers ultimately approved the plan’s priorities, which could include actions such as investing in carbon offsets, reducing air pollutants and prioritizing equity in the process. They also decided to include “scope three emissions” in the plan — the hardest emissions to measure. These include emissions from commuters, air travel for business and investments. 

Rather than having the plan only apply to the town, council members opted to expand it community-wide to partner with Teton County, as well as groups such as the Jackson Hole Climate Action Collective. In a follow-up call with KHOL, Anderson said she was excited by the direction the council provided for the plan, which she described as “action-oriented” and “measurable.”

The town will now assemble a team to finalize the plan. According to Anderson, the council could approve the plan as early as next fall.

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