Shrewsbury can tackle climate change at town meeting

SHREWSBURY, MA – One of more than 40 items ahead of Shrewsbury’s town meeting will decide whether the town will take action on climate change.

A post ahead of the town meeting this week will ask members to approve the use of $140,000 in free money to create a climate resilience and action plan, according to the terms of reference.

“The plan will lay out a plan for the city government to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and thereby reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,” the finance committee wrote in a summary of the article. “Additionally, building on the work done under the Municipal Vulnerability and Preparedness Program, the plan will identify ways to reduce the impacts of climate change on critical infrastructure. Finally, the document will provide resources, information and suggestions that individual residents can use to help reduce their carbon footprint.

Shrewsbury would not be the first local community to pass a climate change ordinance via Town Meeting.

Last month, Sudbury’s city assembly approved a measure declaring a climate emergency and advising the city manager to hire a director of sustainability. Through the Maynard Select Board, the Green Maynard group secured a town assembly paper declaring a climate emergency and urging the city to create a climate action plan. Hamilton Town Meeting in April passed a non-binding resolution to make the city carbon neutral by 2040.

Shrewsbury’s article on climate change will require a simple majority of members of the town assembly to pass. The Finance Committee recommended its adoption.

A separate article ahead of the Shrewsbury town meeting will also address an environmental issue: damage to or destruction of trees. The new tree by-law would make it an offense to harm public trees and establish a Shrewsbury Forestry Committee.

The 2022 Shrewsbury Town Assembly begins at 8.30am on Saturday at Oak Middle School Auditorium, 45 Oak Street. A pre-meeting forum will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the same location.

Teresa H. Sadler