Posted Sep 2, 2016 at 3:32 PM Updated Sep 2, 2016 at 3:32 PM
By Natalie Handy nhandy
In the battle against climate change, local activists are calling for the Cambridge community to come to the planet’s defense.
Green Cambridge, a nonprofit environmental organization, recently formed a partnership with the city, Mayor Denise Simmons and councilor Jan Devereux to assemble the 2016 Climate Change Congress in Cambridge. This will be the second congress of its kind in the city, with this year’s theme of “Building a Community Response to Climate Change.” The first congress, held in 2009, focused on building public awareness of climate change.
Projections from a recent Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) in Cambridge determined if nothing is done to address climate change, 15 years from now typical summers will consist of mostly 90-degree days. (http://cambridge.wickedlocal.com/article/20151209/NEWS/151206315)
According to Green Cambridge Vice President John Pitkin, the congress was developed following discussions of what the community could do to slow down such projections.
“Most people know that every month has been the hottest ever, they can see all these things happening that look like climate change and aren’t good,” he said.
Climate Change Congress
The congress starts Saturday, Oct. 1 with a general information session at City Hall.
Topics include: The Paris Agreement; federal policies; Massachusetts and Cambridge climate and energy policies; and local activist and business actions.
Six working sessions will analyze the problem from many directions, he said, with the last meeting held Nov. 12.
The deadline to apply or nominate a community member to be a delegate is Sept. 15.
Following the recent studies and growing community concern, Pitkin said it seemed like a good time to have another climate congress to “connect the dots” for everyone. Local droughts, fires in the west and floods in the south are all impacts of climate change, Pitkin said, and quickly raising awareness of the problem.
Delegates will represent the range of community diversity, Pitkin said, including age groups, faith groups, linguistic minorities, and more. The delegates will collect basic information on the current situation with climate change and what is currently being done to develop a statement or recommendation of practical steps every community member can take. Examples could include taking care of trees on the street, food waste recycling and composting, he said.
“This is not an individual problem. Everybody has to pitch in, or it’s not going to work,” he said.
According to Pitkin, there’s a general awareness that more needs to be done, it’s just a matter of what and how. The congress will develop guidelines and a statement of what this can mean in the Cambridge community, he said.
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