Green Sanctuary News – January 2020

Exciting news from the Green Sanctuary Committee about the Town of Amherst and its work to reduce energy use

As you know, we have a climate crisis to solve. Our planet needs to stop using fossil fuels by 2050, if not earlier, in order to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees C, which is just a little less than 3 degrees F. There is a new committee in Amherst called the Energy and Climate Action Committee (ECAC). Our own Darcy Dumont, in addition to being a GSC member and an Amherst Town Councilor member, is a member of the ECAC. The committee was charged with proposing goals for the Town as we work to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. In November, they made a presentation to Town Council and proposed:

  1. 50% reduction in town-wide greenhouse gas emissions below FY2016 by 2030, with an interim goal to meet 25% reductions by 2025
  2. Be carbon neutral no later than 2050.
  3. Be prepared to achieve carbon neutrality as early as 2030 by planning and advocating for state and federal action and taking advantage of technological advances.

Town Council unanimously approved these goals on November 18!

Since then, Andra Rose, Vice Chairwoman of the ECAC, Seo-Ho Lee, and Allie Brau, a member of the GSC and the Sunrise Movement, have submitted a proposal asking the Town to hire a consultant to provide a preliminary plan for solar energy in town. The idea is to identify:

  •  rooftops where solar panels could be installed
  •  parking lots where solar canopies could be built.

They are asking that the Town install solar at the Middle School and High School parking lots along with charging stations for electric cars and buses, in addition to finding other suitable locations in town. They are hoping that the solar PV systems at the schools will be finished during the summer of 2021.

This is great progress and it is happening, in large part, because many citizens of the town have made it clear that they want to start solving our climate crisis right here in Amherst. Keep talking to your Town Council members so they know you support this work. Thanks, especially, to Darcy and Allie for your work!

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