Get to know CEC members Emily Randel & Carl Stafford

Get to know CEC members Emily Randel & Carl Stafford

Emily Randel

Name

Emily Randel

What is your work and how did you end up focusing on the work you do?

Until recently, I was the Deputy City Administrator for the City of Mission in Finance and Administration. Previously, I worked for the City of Gresham, Oregon. Community engagement is a passion for me. I naturally gravitated to local government during my graduate studies at UT Austin and it has suited me ever since. Now, I’m looking to continue to contribute and support the great work of our region as an independent contractor until deciding on something more permanent.

What’s your biggest motivation to do climate work (or for engaging in climate action)?

In addition to the obvious urgency around climate work, I am energized by improving systems. As we (humans) learn how to do better and be better, we should. I like the process of motivating groups toward change.

If you could accomplish one big goal related to climate action, what would it be?

I would like to shift norms around food waste. Pulling food scraps out of the residential waste stream and connecting commercial food overages to groups addressing hunger are ideas that need to go mainstream.

Who inspires you the most?

The Mission Sustainability Commission is an incredible group of citizen volunteers. It was a joy to work with them every month. They are dedicated, well-informed, positive and willing to jump in to help no matter what. They kept me focused on the best of public service and are a model to others wanting to serve their community.

What’s one book that helped inform your perspective on climate action/the climate crisis?

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite books. Connecting to our food sources and marking our time more intentionally with the seasons is very important to me. Shifting away from the expectation of having everything, all the time feels critical to our collective future.

What words of wisdom or motivation can you share with those who want to engage in climate action?

Capitalize on existing momentum. Suggest small shifts in how something that is about to happen anyway is implemented. I often find that decision makers just haven’t considered small changes that can make a big difference. When a worthy suggestion comes at the right time, it’s often quite easy to approve.

What’s one thing you do to recharge from your work?

Tending to my native plants! Watching the development of habitat in my outdoor space year after year is one of my favorite hobbies.

Carl Stafford

Name

Carl Stafford

What is your work and how did you end up focusing on the work you do?

“The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.” -Toni Cade Bambara.

My work is MY REGION WINS! (MRW!) Kansas City’s creative nonprofit organization. After graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute with a bachelors in fine arts, learning the history the Artist played, and seeing the current state of the Artist being limited; there was a desire to do more.

Art has a function. Nature has a function. Neighborhoods have a function. These three things people can do from the age of 2 until they are 102. The Arts, nature and neighborhoods became the intersection in which we do our work. Our programs and projects are created to address environmental and social injustices and issues.

What’s your biggest motivation to do climate work (or for engaging in climate action)?

To make history by harvesting and distilling stormwater and selling it to Kansas. Using stormwater and land (two natural resources) the way Alaska uses oil, and stipend residents. Starting with seniors living in disparity zipcodes.

If you could accomplish one big goal related to climate action, what would it be?

Replace Kentucky bluegrass on city property so it will not have to be mowed. Use those freed-up funds to directly support the seniors who have been living in disparity zipcodes east of Troost, so they may age in place and pass down their home to a family member.

Who inspires you the most?

J.C. Nichols. To know he had a 100-year vision. To know there are people alive still carrying out his plan, in which we are in year 79 of, inspires me to continue *my* 100-year plan that started in 2020 called ‘From blight to BOON!’ — an Artistic Journey to revive the west side of District 5, all of District 3, and the northeast part of District 4. These three areas are the areas being affected to this day by J.C.’s 100-year plan that started in 1945.

What’s one book that helped inform your perspective on climate action/the climate crisis?

A picture is worth a 1,000 words. No book inspired me more than the image of the Root Systems of Prairie Plants diagram designed in 1995 by Heidi Natura. It shows Environmental Warfare, Environmental Misogyny and Environmental Racism.

What words of wisdom or motivation can you share with those who want to engage in climate action?

“MY REGION WINS!””JOIN US!””BE A PART OF HISTORY!””YOU ARE NEEDED!”

What’s one thing you do to recharge from your work?

Disc golf. Would love to take a group.