There is growing awareness that climate disruption is a crisis that requires our immediate attention. On the municipal level, a great deal needs to be done, not only to be part of the solution, but to show leadership to other towns and cities about what meaningful actions can be taken locally. For these reasons, it is important to know the positions of the candidates running for the Northampton City Council on our city’s role in addressing these issues.
Two forums (one on Sept 11 and one on Sept 12), will be held to give constituents a chance to hear from city council candidates on crucial climate and environmental issues. The forums are focused on seats with more than one candidate running, and those with single candidates running unopposed but who have not been on city council and are therefore not well known to voters.
Forum #1: Sept 11, 2019
Location: Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz St.
6:30-7:20pm Ward 1 candidates forum- Andrew Smith and Michael Quinlan Jr
7:30-8:20pm Ward 2 (Karen Foster) & Ward 4 (John Thorpe) forum
Forum #2: Sept 12, 2019
Location: Lathrop Community Room, 1 Shallowbrook Ln.
6:30-7:20pm Ward 5 candidates forum- Alexander Jarrett & David Murphy
7:30-8:30pm Ward 7 candidates forum- Hanuman Goleman, Penny Geiss, & Rachel Maiore
“Northampton City Councilor Candidates to Answer Climate Questions September 11 and 12.”
NORTHAMPTON, MA. Candidates for open or opposed city council seats will engage in discussion of their plans to confront the climate crisis on the municipal level in four forums held on two evenings next week. The city is facing a marked turnover in councilors as four councilors are relinquishing their seats and one sitting councilor is facing opposition from a newcomer.
The first two Climate Forums will be held at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. At 6:30 pm Wednesday, September 11, candidates Andrew Smith and Michael Quinlan Jr. vying for Maureen Carney’s Ward 1 Seat will answer questions prepared by local climate and environmental
ist organizations Climate Action Now (CAN). It will be followed immediately at 7:30 pm by the questioning of Karen Foster, who will replace Dennis Bidwell in Ward 2 and John Thorpe who is running unopposed for Gina Louise Sciarra’s Ward 4 position.
The second two forums will take place at the Lathrop Community Room, 1 Shallowbrook Lane. At 6:30 Ward 5 candidate Alex Jarrett will be present to answer questions, while sitting councilor David Murphy will provide written responses. Then at 7:30 Ward 7 candidates Rachel Maiore, Penny Geis and Hanuman Goleman will participate. That seat is now occupied by Alisa Klein who is retiring.
Previously, the council has actively supported measures to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, resolving to oppose new gas pipelines, attain 100% renewable electric energy by 2050, preserve forests from corporate solar development and engage in a consortium with Pelham and Amherst to control and transform energy sources (Community Choice Energy Plus).
Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, has risen to prehistoric levels due to the burning of fossil fuels. This has caused global temperatures to rise steadily worldwide, making July 2019 the hottest month ever recorded. Unprecedented fires are burning in the Arctic; fires in the drought-ravaged American West last year killed scores; and climate changed-augmented hurricanes last year killed 5,000 people in Puerto Rico, devastated the Gulf Coast and now are threatening the Southeast US Coast.
Climate scientists have called the situation a climate emergency. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), synthesizing the research of hundreds of the world’s top climatologists, predicts that unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut by 45% by 2030 and eliminated by 2050, world temperatures will rise by >1.5 degrees Celsius, causing rising seas, floods, mass species loss, drought, and the triggering of independent geophysical feedback loops that lead to greater warming.
“Our survival depends on rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The federal government is actively undermining that effort,” said organizer Lilly Lombard of CAN and SWAP, “leaving the burden of the effort on the shoulders of state and municipal governments. We need to make sure that our incoming councilors are aware of the tasks that they must undertake and that the public knows who is best prepared to lead the way.”
The forums are all free, open to the public and handicap accessible.
Forum cosponsors: Climate Action Now, Western Mass; Massachusetts Sierra Club; Appalachian Mountain Club; Northampton Mothers Out Front; Broad Brook Coalition; 2degreesatgreenneighbors.earth; Friends of Northampton Trails; Mill River Greenway Initiative; Northampton/Florence Unitarian Universalist Climate Action Group; Tikkun Olam Committee of Congregation B’nai Israel; Northampton Area League of Women Voters; Succeeding Without Additional Pipelines (SWAP); Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership; Co-op Power; Western Mass Medicare for All; MA Audubon-Arcadia Sanctuary; Sunrise Northampton; Grow Food Northampton; Kestrel Land Trust, Northampton High School Environmental Club.