Climate Crisis Committee hears public concerns

By Kendra Caruso | Oct 08, 2019
Photo by: Kendra Caruso Residents pack the Abbott Room at Belfast Free Library for the Climate Crisis Committee's Oct. 7 meeting.

Belfast — Residents filled the Belfast Free Library Abbott Room for the first of several public meetings to be held by the city's Climate Crisis Committee, formerly called the Climate Change Committee.

Committee members split the crowd into groups of up to 10 people to lead discussions about climate issues residents are concerned about or that relate to Belfast. A survey was administered to better advise the City Council about climate issues that matter to citizens.

Participants expressed concerns about sea level adaptation and climate refugees coming to Belfast. Climate Crisis Committee Chairman Jonathan Beal led the event and listened to what people in the groups said.

“A lot of people were talking about putting up a wall,” Beal said. “They were talking about working with our neighbors — thinking big thoughts about the environment, about response to environmental change. And there were a lot of very thoughtful people. I was really encouraged by the degree of deep thinking.”

Two of the youngest participants were from Belfast Area High School. Sid Sanders, 17, and Alice Andrews, 16, are part of the high school’s Climate Change Crisis Committee and attended the event to network with local activists.

The teenagers heard good ideas and recommendations to use for their committee, Alice said. People at the event shared support for the students and were pleased that the teens attended.

“They obviously want more youth involvement, and so we wanted to come to represent the youth,” Sid said.

Alice said the high school committee has been working with ReVision Energy on a solar power estimate for the high school. The students were approved to begin school composting and they would like to start a high school garden similar to gardens at other district schools.

Their group led other high school students in a 40-minute demonstration Sept. 20 during the Global Climate Strike. Sid thinks uniting in protest is a good way for young people to become empowered about addressing climate change.

“It’s like the most uniting issue we face,” he said, adding that most people he knows feel "we need to do something about this issue.”

While the goal of this meeting was to discuss climate change adaptation in Belfast, the next session will focus on mitigation, according to Beal.

He reminded people to attend future meetings. Two more are scheduled for the first Tuesdays in November and December at 6 p.m., also in the library's Abbott Room. Beal hopes to hold more meetings in the New Year.


Groups of people sit in circles to discuss issues of concern for Belfast at the Climate Crisis Committee's meeting Oct. 7. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
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