MCAF: What is unique about protecting Pittsburgh’s resources?
Councilwoman Rudiak: As Pittsburgh’s economy has changed, we’ve wisely moved toward balancing our economic well-being with our environmental well-being. While we have made enormous strides in addressing both its air and water issues, we still have quite a long way to go. Fortunately, I and other local leaders have learned from our checkered past and are now focusing on the intersection of sustainability and economic success. We’re emerging as a leader in green building, sustainable infrastructure, LED technology, and more. Beyond this, Pittsburgh has the good fortune of being located at the confluence of two beautiful rivers. Properly caring for these waterways is Pittsburgh’s ticket to a healthy 21st century economy.
Are you worried about the effects of climate change on the children of Pittsburgh?
Much of my job consists of attempting to roll back the negative impacts of decisions made by past generations of legislators and planners. For example, highways cutting off neighborhoods from one another were an unintended consequence of mid-20th century suburban sprawl. The impacts of global warming on following generations may be far more dramatic and difficult to roll back. I worry that we may be saddling future generations of Pittsburghers, and children all over the world, with insurmountable environmental and financial problems. The repercussions for our inaction will not be “unintended” or “unforeseen” — we already have the information on climate change’s frightening impacts.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important, and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
Fortunately, bipartisanship is often a given on the local level, because our day to day issues less obviously fit into neat ideological boxes. Unfortunately, the partisan culture and resulting political inaction of Washington has a truly negative impact on the resources available at the City and County levels. This is where we are often are tasked with the infrastructure issues, health problems, and extreme weather events that climate change manifests. Of course, these problems will only become less predictable and more expensive as time passes. Therefore, significant bipartisan action is imperative to truly address climate issues seriously on a grand scale.
Thank you, Councilwoman Rudiak!
About Councilwoman Rudiak: Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak represents Pittsburgh’s fourth district on City Council, covering the neighborhoods of Carrick, Overbrook, Bon Air, Brookline, and Beechview.