Hundreds attend region’s first Climate Action Summit

On Saturday, Sept. 14, the Climate Action KC coalition hosted its first Climate Action Summit at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.

About 485 people attended the full-day event, and 725 were on hand for the afternoon keynote session, which was open to the public. Highlights of the summit included:

  • A welcome by Kansas Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers.
  • Presentations by renowned Kansas City architect and environmentalist Bob Berkebile, Brigadier General Dr. Christopher King (Ret.) and sustainability author Alex Steffen.
  • Remarks by U.S. Representatives Sharice Davids (Kansas, Third District) and Emanuel Cleaver II (Missouri, Fifth District).
  • A discussion with Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City, Missouri, and Mayor James Brainard of Carmel, Indiana.
  • A keynote address by Paul Hawken, environmentalist and author of Drawdown.
  • Breakout sessions with more than 30 local panelists.
  • Entertainment by Battery Tour and a VIP reception for full-day participants.

The summit focused on creating a broader awareness of the impact of climate change in the Kansas City metropolitan area, and the importance of regional collaboration to address it. “In coming together and learning what can work in our region, we are empowering and supporting each other in our shared goal of reducing emissions, building resilience, and working toward a healthier metro area,” said Mayor Mike Kelly of Roeland Park, Kansas, co-founder of Climate Action KC.  “We know that if we work together, we can accomplish more.”

Founded in 2018, the Climate Action KC is a collaborative of more than 100 local and state elected officials, representing 10 elected offices, and leaders of many significant civic, public, corporate and nonprofit organizations. Together, the coalition is working throughout the Kansas City region to draw down greenhouse gases, improve climate resilience, invigorate the economy, promote public health, and improve the collective quality of life.  

“Now is the time for leaders to make data-informed decisions to plan for our future,” said City Councilwoman Lindsey Constance of Shawnee, Kansas, co-founder of Climate Action KC. “The urgency has never been greater, and neither has the resolve and dedication of our local and state leaders.”

Coalition members are currently working on a Climate Action Playbook for the region, which will be published in late 2019.

Morning emcees, Roeland Park Councilman Michael Poppa and Bridging The Gap Executive Director Krsitin Riott, welcomed participants.
Keynote speaker Paul Hawken, author of Project Drawdown
Climate Action KC co-founders Lindsey Constance left), councilwoman for the city of Shawnee, and Mike Kelly, mayor of Roeland Park, are joined by U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, center.
Participants had the opportunity to attend two of nine breakout sessions.
Bob Berkebile, a longtime principle of BNIM architectural firm, was one of the presenters at the Climate Summit.