Climate leaders kicked-off the first of four in-person meetings designed to create Vermont’s Climate Action Plan.
Under Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act, the goal is to cut pollution in half by the year 2030. To meet this goal, members of Vermont’s Climate Council and the Agency of Nature Resources are working with other stakeholders to draft the state’s Climate Action Plan.
And they want the public’s input to shape the plan.
“So it’s really important that we’re not going to address climate change, unless we have people onboard,” said Cara Pike, executive director of Climate Access.
Pike runs a non-profit focused on rallying support for climate and clean energy solutions. She and her colleagues were hired by the state to engage communities across Vermont in conversations about reducing the impacts of global warming.
“What we’re really aiming to do is raise awareness of climate change, but even more importantly give Vermonters an opportunity to weigh in on the solutions that should be prioritized,” said Pike.
Participants gathered at Elmore State Park Tuesday. They were separated in groups to discuss their concerns and how they’ve been personally affected by climate change.
“I and many of the people in the group felt stressed out for our children and for the kinds of changes our children may have to deal with…I could see it on everyone’s face. Just this sense of it’s going to be really embarrassing to tell them why we didn’t do something different when we could,” said Jessica Seddon from Morrisville.
Seddon works for World Resources Institute, a non-profit designed to put communities on a more sustainable path. She says she’s a climate advocate both professionally and personally.
“So my professional life is very global. I work on this on a global-comparative basis. For me, it was really interesting to hear about how to finance some of the newer infrastructure and changes we need to make and what the politics of those finances might be,” said Seddon.
Pike says she is pleased to see community members get involved and encourages all Vermonters to take part in the other in-person and online meetings in September and October.
“It’s great to see so many people out and so passionate about Vermont and protecting what is so great about Vermont, but people really wanting the state to be bold.”
She says she and her colleagues plan to present the information they’re collecting at these meetings to the Vermont Climate Council by October.
The next in-person meetings are scheduled for September 22 in East Dorset, September 23 in Island Pond and September 26 in Colchester. For those who can’t attend in-person, there will be several virtual meetings in early October.