The purpose of this editorial is to promote sustainable solutions and practical steps for a healthier and more resilient Milton. Advocating for town-wide projects and programs in the face of global climate change is at the heart of this mission.
Why did 36 people gather in front of First Parish Milton UU Church after sunset on Nov.11? Doesn’t this sound like the set-up for a bad why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-road joke? But it’s no joke.
Represented in this gathering were a range of ages approximately 9 to 75 years old and seven local organizations – First Parish UU, Sustainable Milton, Brookwood Community Farm, First Congregational Church of Milton, Milton for Peace, Blue Hills Climate Action Coalition, and Milton Change Makers. Everyone clustered around a central spotlight to be visible to passing motorists on Canton Avenue. At 6:11 p.m., two sets of church bells tolled for eleven minutes joining the loud pulse of diverse percussion instruments: Djembes, shakers, tambourines, and Kokiriko.
On the eleventh day of every month, communities are coming together across America to call attention to the urgency of climate change, to sound an alarm. “11th Hour Calling” (www.11thhourcalling.org) is a national endeavor to build awareness, connection, and hope in the face of the extreme effects of climate change, which affect marginalized people and communities unequally. Experts acknowledge that working together kindles hope.
Milton’s 11th Hour activists want to highlight and promote concrete ways to advocate for Milton’s future. Creating a comprehensive, municipal Climate Action Plan (CAP) is foremost. A CAP is a detailed framework for measuring and setting goals or targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by the burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas). Writing a town plan will require deep community-wide collaboration between town officials, experts, and local citizens, whether through an appointed task force, engagement of expertise, or, eventually, through our Town Meeting process. Another way is to build appropriately: climate change will become irreversible if communities fail to change how new construction is designed, starting now. As an example, Sustainable Milton publicly supported the climate-smart aspects of a mixed-use project proposed for 440 Granite Avenue, above all, its all-electric energy source, high insulating exterior envelope, and highly efficient heating/cooling mechanical systems such as heat pumps. Imagine how many residential units now proposed or under construction in Milton (54 in Wolcott Woods, for example) fail to offer climate-smart technology.
What can you do?
Show up. Add your voice and engage. A middle school student created signs which said, “Let’s do our part to find new ways,” and, “We can rise to the challenge.” Join us Saturday, Dec. 11 (rain date Dec. 12), 6 to 6:30 p.m. at First Parish Milton, 535 Canton Avenue, next door to Town Hall – and in subsequent months. All are welcome. Wear light-colored or reflective clothing for safety; bring flashlights or headlamps, your voice, and a sign. “Get involved… the heat is on!”
(Tucker Smith is President of Sustainable Milton, an organization which raises awareness, educates and motivates residents, town government and businesses to reduce waste of all forms, to help create a healthy, vibrant future for all. Click “Contact” and ‘Take Action” at https://www.sustainablemilton.org)