Selectman for Sharon MA- election 2018J.J and Emily
Posted by Sustainable Sharon Coalition on Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Message from Emily Smith-Lee:
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on sustainability and my vision for the Town of Sharon in that regard. Broadly speaking, I understand that climate change is a real threat, and that it is imperative that we do what we can as a community to minimize our carbon footprint. I also believe that for climate and environmentally friendly measures to be truly sustainable, they must be things that our community can and will maintain into the future. This is one reason I love initiatives like the new trash program that create a structural incentive for people to be more thoughtful about their waste and recycling, and tiered water rates that create incentives for conservation. We should continue to look for opportunities as a Town to create incentives for environmentally responsible individual behaviors, as those behaviors will eventually become habits.
Town-wide decisions about energy, land use and transportation also have the potential to have a significant and lasting impact, and are things that the decisions of the Board of Selectmen can directly influence. With respect to energy, we should be constantly looking for ways to reduce our own energy use and source the energy we do use from as many renewable sources as we can (a first step is the already existing net metering agreement with Syncarpha to provide electricity to town buildings credited to a solar provider). Additionally, if the voters approve the municipal aggregation article at Town Meeting, the Board of Selectmen will have the opportunity and responsibility to achieve greater environmental benefits by using the collective bargaining power of the town to negotiate with electricity suppliers. With respect to land use, open, forested land is known to be a highly effective carbon “sink.” Protecting land as open space is also actually far less costly to the Town than meeting the service needs, including schools, of land developed for residential use. Acquiring undeveloped parcels as conservation land needs to be a serious consideration when opportunities arise. Finally, we need to make it easier for residents to take advantage of the commuter rail instead of driving their cars to work. Limitations on parking at the train station are a significant barrier for many residents; at the same time there are very good reasons not to build out into the land surrounding the current parking lots. I think it should be a priority of the Board of Selectmen to explore ways to increase the use of one climate-friendly resource (the train) without encroaching on another (the forested land surrounding the parking lots).
I look forward to speaking with you all on May 9, and thank you again for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts.
Message from J.J. McGrath:
J.J. respectfully declined the opportunity to provide a written statement, but is looking forward to meeting with all of us to talk and answer any questions at the SSC meeting May 9th, 7:00 PM, at the Unitarian Church.