Every year, Wisconsin is forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars rebuilding and repairing infrastructure damaged or destroyed due to extreme weather conditions. This is growing worse because of climate change and unfortunately, these impacts are felt first and worst by communities of color, tribal nations and low-income communities. On Earth Day, Gov. Tony Evers established a new Office of Environmental Justice, which is currently seeking a director. Supported by a chief resilience officer, the new office will specifically address climate disparities and help chart a stronger future for Wisconsin.
Between 2000 and 2020, across Wisconsin there were 19 severe storms, two floods and six drought-related billion-plus-dollar disasters that took a toll on our state to the tune of $100 billion. These impacts are not simply a financial burden. For many tribal communities, climate change and weather extremes represent both monetary damages and disruption of cultural lifeways and traditional food systems that have been intact for centuries. Every community in our state is at risk due to climate extremes.