Linn County has its first sustainability program manager.
The county Board of Supervisors hired Tamara Marcus as part of the county’s plan to address climate change and environmental sustainability.
Marcus’ job, which officially started in late August, includes leading efforts to “recommit the county to a more sustainable present and future,” a county news release said.
“Climate change is more than polar bears and ice caps,” Marcus said in the release. “It means more intense storms, a greater number of catastrophic disaster events and billions of dollars of damage and lives lost.”
Marcus is a former Fulbright scholar, Switzer fellow, NASA New Hampshire Space Grant fellow, a National Center for Atmospheric Research fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources and Earth System Sciences program at the University of New Hampshire.
Marcus also is a co-founder of Advocates for Social Justice, a local Black Lives Matter group pushing for police reform in Cedar Rapids.
One of the first objectives in the new position is to complete a Greenhouse Gas Inventory to assess current emission levels. Marcus will use the inventory to develop a climate action plan.
The plan will look to meet goals that were laid out in the county’s climate resolution, passed by the supervisors in December 2019, that declared a climate crisis. The county’s goal is to “achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.”
Supervisors approved funding for the new position in March. The position pays $66,651 annually.
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Marcus also will collaborate with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and will be supported through the recently formed Linn County Sustainability Council, the release said. The council’s role is to evaluate how various departments can meet climate resolution goals.
Marcus will be exploring how the county can continue to construct its sustainability department more aggressively and equitably address issues of climate adaptation, the release said.
“As Iowa continues to experience more devastating climate-related weather events with greater frequency, the addition of Tamara Marcus to lead our sustainability efforts couldn’t come at a better time,” Supervisor Stacey Walker said in the release.
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