Doing our part
The fight against climate change is important to Evan. His first foray into activism was in college when he worked with a group of students to pressure the board of directors to commit the campus to a carbon neutrality goal. Since then, the theme of climate change has been woven into all of Evan's professional pursuits.
If there is any chance of reining in climate change every community must step up. Evan believes in the phrase "think globally, act locally". Even though climate change is a global challenge, Amherst can and should be part of the solution. The town has already made progress in reducing its carbon footprint:
- Amherst was designated a Green Community in 2012
- Solar panels popping up in fields and on rooftops all around town
- The town has purchased electric vehicles, and electric vehicle charging stations are scattered around town and on the college campuses.
- A new bylaw ensures new town buildings will be net zero energy.
Amherst should keep going! Evan believes the town should continue to expand adoption of renewable energy, increase energy efficiency, and work to lower emissions from transportation.
Even if the world stopped emitting greenhouse gases today we would still experience some of the effects of climate change. And while Amherst may not be as vulnerable as coastal communities in Massachusetts, it will feel the effects of a changing climate. Models predict more erratic precipitation, with more frequent intense storms delivering large volumes of rain. This will put stress on our infrastructure-- including bridges, culverts, and roads-- and generate greater stormwater pollution. New England may also face more prolonged heat waves, less winter snowfall, and more common summer droughts. This will stress our water supply, as highlighted by the severe drought in 2016.
Amherst needs to be prepared, and there are proactive steps we can take to build our resilience. Public gardens and shade trees can cool public spaces in the face of heat waves. Rain gardens can collect stormwater, replenish groundwater, and filter out pollutants. And water efficiency measures can reduce the strain on our water supplies during dry spells.
Evan will work to ensure that planning and development in Amherst considers the effects of climate change to build resilience. He also supports greater adoption of green infrastructure that reduces stormwater pollution and replenishes groundwater supplies.