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Climate Action Plan Open House give residents opportunity to shape Hopkinton’s goals

by | Mar 25, 2024 | News

This Thursday, Hopkinton will hold its first Climate Plan Open House, allowing residents to contribute their ideas about a sustainable future for the town.

Organized by Julia Chun, the town’s sustainability, economic development and equity project manager, the in-person workshop will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts (98 Hayden Rowe Street). It will feature food, learning opportunities and activities for children.

“I’m really excited about this,” Chun said in a recent interview. “It’s going to be the first in hopefully a series of community engagement events on the climate action plan.

“I think that climate change is something that everyone is worried about in terms of the heat island effect and stormwater flooding,” she continued. “There’s just so many impacts that we feel on a local level that can be debilitating when we don’t have an outlet to engage about them.”

The purpose of the event is to share the work of volunteer committees, predominantly the Sustainable Green Committee, in response to climate change and allow for resident input. Chun praised the work of the SGC, noting that its subcommittees “focus on every aspect of sustainability.”

Chun added that the Conservation Commission and the Department of Public Works “have been great partners.”

“I think there are a lot of people in the community who care about open space and are sustainable minded,” she explained. “But I don’t know if it’s intimidating for them to come to a meeting. In the climate realm, we use a lot of scientific knowledge like emissions and how to decarbonize that aren’t in people’s daily vernacular.”

This forum has a loose and approachable structure so that participants can drop in at any time and visit the information tables. They can enjoy pizza and other refreshments from local businesses while children can color on sheets focused on the environment.

In addition, there will be information on the history of climate planning in town, what net zero goals are, and the specialized energy stretch code that was proposed at the Special Town Meeting last fall.

“Climate action planning has been around for so long,” Chun noted. “But I think we’re just starting to reach that point, collectively as a state and a nation, that we have to take actions quickly to reach a 50% [emissions reduction] by 2035.

“It’s important for people to feel like they have ownership in the process,” she added. “If we don’t hear from the community and find out what the barriers are, then the plan is basically null.”

Simple actions such as replacing HVAC systems with heat pumps and installing solar panels can make a difference, said Chun. There are funding opportunities available for homeowners.

The yearlong climate action plan project was funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Area Planning Council, allowing the event to include “more fun aspects” such as terrarium making.

Chun also is partnering with neighboring communities to share sustainability strategies.

Added Chun: “I really want to stress that this is not a one-off event. We want people to participate in this yearlong process.”

Registration is available via this link.

 

 

 

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