Lawrence, Douglas County commissions to hear presentations on draft climate action plan; county to consider adopting it

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Local governments will soon consider adopting a final draft of a climate action plan to help Lawrence and Douglas County mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The Lawrence City Commission will hear a presentation on the plan, “Adapt Douglas County,” on Tuesday, followed by the Douglas County Commission next Wednesday, May 22.

“By calling the plan ‘Adapt Douglas County,’ we are reinforcing the fact that adaptation is more than addressing vulnerabilities and increasing preparedness, it is also drastically adjusting how we meet our needs as a community,” Kim Criner Ritchie, sustainability manager for Douglas County, said in a news release. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is our greatest opportunity to adapt how we co-exist with the natural world when it comes to the climate.”

The plan has been in the works for the past few years. It breaks subject matter into four sections: energy, mobility, living systems and thriving community.

“To develop this plan, the Sustainability team intentionally took a countywide approach, collaborating with staff from five municipal governments to create shared goals and direction for the climate impacts that will be faced as a community,” according to the city’s agenda item. “The team also conducted an extensive community input process, including peer-to-peer interviews, focus groups, surveys, public meetings and open houses.”

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The plan identifies a number of goals and action steps to take. A few of the 14 goals included in the plan are “Reduce energy consumption while increasing access to renewable sources”; “Respect and protect the diverse ecology of Douglas County and its contributions to natural resilience”; “Protect quality, capacity, and functionality of vital water resources and landscapes”; and “Prepare our community to address increased and compounded health risks due to a changing climate.”

Lawrence city commissioners will hear a presentation on the plan as part of their agenda when they meet at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 14 at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. They will consider adopting the final draft at a future meeting, according to the agenda.

See the city commission’s full meeting agenda at this link. The 115-page draft plan is attached to the agenda item at this link.

People may submit written public comment until noon the day of the meeting by emailing The commission also hears public comment in person and via Zoom during meetings. Register for the Zoom meeting at this link

The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel, at

County commissioners will hold a work session on the plan starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 22. They’ll consider adopting the plan during their regular meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. the same day. The meetings will be held at the public works building, 3755 E. 25th St. Both meetings will be available via Zoom, and the Zoom link will be available via this page. The county commission’s full meeting agenda for May 22 was not yet available at the time of publication.

County commissioners accept written public comment up until 24 hours before the meeting, emailed to People may also give public comment in person or via Zoom during regular business meetings.

Learn more about the plan and process at

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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