All that’s left of the Confederate memorial in downtown Birmingham’s Linn Park is a graffiti-covered base.
The obelisk was taken apart and loaded onto a flatbed truck Monday night, a day after it sparked protests and looting of nearby businesses. Mayor Randall Woodfin had promised to remove the monument by Tuesday to stop any more of the violent reactions like those seen Sunday night. Read more.
More on the protests in Birmingham
Confederate Monument Taken Down in Linn Park
Birmingham Mayor Sets out Curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Cleanup Begins After Looting Damages Downtown Birmingham Businesses
Birmingham Protestors Vandalize Downtown Buildings, Try to Take Down Confederate Monument
Protesters Gather in Birmingham to Honor George Floyd
Birmingham’s shelter-in-place order has been extended through April 30.
The extension, approved unanimously by the Birmingham City Council on Friday, is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the city by effectively instituting a citywide curfew, with exceptions for “essential” activities such as purchasing food, seeking health care or engaging in solitary outdoor recreation. Read more.
Walt Gibbons, director the public works department, said the goal for starting a pilot program is April 1, and it is set to last for six months. Read more.
This story was written as part of a collaboration among InsideClimate News and nine media outlets in the Southeast.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin promised in December to pivot toward prioritizing sustainability during the remaining two years of his term in office, moving toward fulfilling a pledge he made during his 2017 campaign.
“We’ve got a whole lot more environmental justice and sustainability issues to address within the next two years,” he said, “but we’ve laid the groundwork and foundation to address these environmental issues in our city.”
But for some, Woodfin’s administration — and Birmingham’s municipal government as a whole — has been frustratingly inert when it comes to environmental issues.
“The bottom line is, the city doesn’t have a strategy for addressing sustainability or environmental justice or climate change or anything related to those issues,” said Michael Hansen, executive director of Gasp, a Birmingham-based nonprofit focused on environmental justice advocacy. “The mayor campaigned on all of those issues, and several of the councilors talk about them from the daïs, but they don’t ever actually do anything about them.”
Birmingham’s lack of a clear sustainability plan has placed the city at a disadvantage compared to other cities nationwide. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s 2019 city clean energy scorecard, for instance, ranked Birmingham as 72nd among 75 major cities in terms of sustainability efforts, saying the city “has substantial room to improve across the board” and should push toward codifying goals for clean and renewable energy “to jump-start its efforts.” Read more.
Reporters from Southeastern newsrooms hold leaders in their communities accountable for reducing carbon emissions and preparing for climate change-related emergencies. Read more.