The following story appears in BoxboroughNews.Org.
(8-SEPT-23) “The key to progress is public engagement,” said Alec Wade, Boxborough’s Town Planner, as he introduced “Carbon Reduction for Earth Wellbeing” (CREW), the town’s third summer forum which engaged 15 residents at Town Hall on August 30.
As guest speaker, Boxborough resident Marjorie Kamp encouraged two small groups to enter spirited discussions about choices people can make to reduce carbon emissions.
Participants recognized that some choices are personal: eat more plant food and less meat; use LED bulbs; avoid airplane travel; drive hybrid and electric cars; cut food waste; recycle; and install smart thermostats and solar panels.
Other choices require public or government action: protect forests; install wind turbines; build with green cement; conserve water; manage refrigeration chemicals; create walkable cities; preserve coastal wetlands.
Kamp explained that policy makers need to weigh the benefits and the possible downsides of many carbon-reduction sources, such as nuclear power, wind and solar farms, and power from waves, rivers, and tides.
During the 90-minute forum, participants experienced how the CREW program energetically engages small “book club” groups to talk about the ways personal changes can help achieve net-zero emissions over time.
Wade and Kamp encouraged people to join one of two such four-session meetings with Kamp either on Mondays, Sept. 18 through Oct. 9, from 10:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. in Sargent Library; or on Tuesdays, Sept. 12 through Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m. – 7:50 p.m. via Zoom. To sign up or get information about future meetings, email email@example.com.
One recent CREW participant wrote, “Marjorie has been a wonderful facilitator … It’s great to read the book ‘2040’ and discuss it with a small group.” Another wrote, “The surprise is that it’s not enough to stop emissions, we have to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it…. I hope to help create a film series to encourage people to talk about climate issues.”
Another stated, “Suppose everyone in Boxborough, or everyone in Massachusetts took the course and made changes – that difference would be felt!” Another wrote, “Some of the statistics in the book are staggering, [but the program] is more about solutions and empowerment than doom and gloom, and [it’s] very inspiring.”
At the forum, participants learned some of the “surprising” and sometimes “staggering” facts: Household decisions affect two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions; 43 percent of food waste comes from households; cities can be 10 degrees hotter than suburban land; more people die from heat than from tornadoes and hurricanes; and six inches of flooding can stall a car, while two feet of flooding can sweep a vehicle away.
At the end of the forum, sponsored by Boxborough’s Sustainability Committee, participants thanked Kamp and Wade for the informative and spirited evening. This summer, Wade initiated the town’s three forums, hosted by the town’s Office of Land Use and Permitting. Earlier summer forums addressed library use and town roads.