Tom Perriello, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action, one of the groups in the coalition, speaks about the importance of the Great Lakes and the issue of climate change to the area economy.
The Blade/Jetta Fraser
Several area officials joined social activists on the "I Will Act on Climate" bus tour when it came through Toledo today.
Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak led a 40-minute event on the shore of Cullen Park, in North Toledo's Point Place, where the Maumee River empties into western Lake Erie's Maumee Bay.
She and others said that failure to reduce greenhouse gases that help cause climate change hurt the lake and its tributaries, a backbone of the region's economy.
"If we don't protect this great resource, we could lose millions of dollars and jobs," Ms. Skeldon Wozniak said. "If we wait for 10 more years [to act on climate change], it will be too late."
Few specifics were discussed about how local officials plan to do more.
Two Toledo mayoral candidates, Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and City Councilman Joe McNamara, stood behind the podium with others in support of the initiative, as did two members of incumbent Mayor Mike Bell's administration. None of them delivered remarks during the ceremony, but spoke to a Blade reporter afterward.
Activists included members of the faith and environmental communities. Other elected officials who stood behind the podium in support of the initiative were Councilmen Steve Steel and Mike Craig, and state Rep. Mike Sheehy (D., Oregon).
The bus tour has a two-pronged mission: to raise awareness about a multi-tiered effort President Obama announced this summer to address climate change, and to thwart a Republican-led effort in Congress to slash funding for Great Lakes restoration programs. The bus is on a 27-state tour, and was en route to Cleveland.