So many people struggle to accept the fact that Climate Change is our responsibility to solve. I remember when it was called Global Warming. That, someone decided, was too direct, too scary a label and it was postponing actions to solve such a huge, threatening problem. The term "Climate Change", it was hoped was less threatening. Perhaps it has helped people to stop looking away, reduced resistance to going to work on the solutions. We have made some start up progress.
Article 6 on our town warrant, a citizen's petition- Declaring a Climate Emergency, is an important step that Pepperell needs to make to trigger increased consideration by town Boards and Committees, Town staff and Pepperell citizens of the harms of climate change and the actions we need to take to stop warming our climate. Such a declaration will also gain the attention of State and Federal purse holders who will allocate funding first to those towns that have demonstrated their will to join in the fight to replace our fossil fuel living with an environmentally responsible lifestyle.
Our Climate Change Committee needs community support. In the past year they have learned a measure of the challenging size of the work to be done and this declaration increases their influence in our town governance. Conservation Commission needs this crisis declaration to help advocate for protecting open lands, a priority asset for carbon sequestration and aquifer protections. The Planning Board needs to ask how all development proposals help reduce our carbon footprint. The Select Board needs to be in constant search for policies that help the Town to prepare for and reduce our carbon footprint. The Finance Committee needs to assess the long term cost of neglecting climate change and support financial decisions that are a wise investment in Pepperell's future. And most important, our citizens need to embrace the challenge and join in a community that demonstrates it's worry and care for our future. Pepperell can join other communities leading in climate change actions and be a proud model for our municipal peers and New England citizens.
I am very happy that two Pepperell youth, brother and sister, have sponsored this citizen's petition. I have joined their family many times in their living room to learn about the feelings, thoughts and wishes of our children. It is primarily their future we are trying to protect from an existential harm. To fail to act on their behalf is unthinkable.