Earth Matters formulating resolution for Town Meeting

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MANCHESTER — The local environmental activist group Earth Matters will present a draft resolution, which they hope will be voted on at Manchester's 2018 Town Meeting, during their `House Party,' to be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 29 at the Tutorial Center in Manchester.

The resolution will undergo a number of changes before it reaches Town Meeting, according to Earth Matters leader Anne D'Olivio. In essence, the document encourages the Town of Manchester to strengthen their response to a changing climate.

Before that happens though, the group needs to garner support from community members.

"We have to get signatures by the end of January to warn for the Town Meeting," she said. "We'll need the support of at least five percent of Manchester's residents."

Citing "extreme and erratic temperatures, increasingly severe storms, flooding, a rise in tick-borne diseases, and threats to farmers and maple sugarers," the group asserts that climate change is a demonstrable reality. The group also references the State of Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan, in which a goal to achieve 90% of energy from renewable sources is articulated.

The first section of the resolution asks the Town of Manchester to urge state officials to "halt any new or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure, including but not limited to pipelines; firmly commit to at least 90% renewable energy for all people in Vermont, with firm interim deadlines; and ensure that the transition to renewable energy is fair and equitable for all residents, with no harm to low-income people, people of color, or rural communities."

The document continues to outline actions that must be taken by the Town itself to address climate change. These measures include "protecting town lands from fossil fuel infrastructure; denying easements or agreements for any pipelines crossing town lands; enlisting state support in weatherizing town buildings and schools and installing alternative energy, such as roof-top solar, to town structures; and other initiatives to improve the quality of life while helping to reduce overall use of energy."

Originally drafted by the statewide nonprofit organization 350VT.org, with which Earth Matters is affiliated, the local group tailored the resolution specifically to Manchester.

"We decided as a group that we would like to support this, because we believe that things need to work at the grassroots level in terms of climate change," D'Olivio said. "It's not going to happen at the federal level."

According to D'Olivio, community members that are dedicated to combatting climate change should consider supporting the resolution.

"Climate change is a global humanitarian, not partisan, issue and needs to be addressed now at the grassroots level," she said. "We are already seeing its consequences in the U.S., from rising sea levels in Florida to unprecedented damage and loss of life due to hurricanes and wildfires."

Reach Cherise Madigan at cmadigan@manchesterjournal.com, or by phone at 802-490-6471.

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