| Dylan Corey
HADLEY – The Hadley Climate Change Committee (HCCC) will host its first-ever Hadley Climate Day on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hadley Senior Center and Public Library.
The free event will offer an opportunity for residents to participate in discussions with nationally renowned and local climate experts about the impacts of and solutions to climate change. Activities will include workshops that cover everything from what students, businesses, farmers and builders can do to take climate action and reduce emissions. Attendees can also enjoy climate change art and music with lunch available for purchase. Registration is free but required at tinyurl.com/hadleyclimateday.
Dr. Susanne Moser is an adaptation expert who moved to Hadley in 2018 and joined the HCCC after it was formed in 2020. HCCC is entirely volunteer-based, and Moser said they were initially focused on broader sustainability issues like waste, composting and a plastic bag ban. While these are linked to climate change, Moser wanted to create a direct focus.
“I proposed the idea of a Hadley Climate Day to raise awareness and get us motivated and mobilized,” Moser said. “The committee got fully behind it and we have some momentum. The new town administrator is really supportive, and the Select Board also endorsed the effort. So I would say, there is support but limited capacity to date, and we’re now strategically trying to move into a position where we have the resources and the public’s support to get real about it.”
That support includes a multitude of climate experts and representatives from the local, state and federal level that will all be attending the event. Moser hopes that the solutions-focused Climate Day will help display to the public how to battle climate change and show that it can be done.
“Local communities have been getting really concerned about climate change – not as an abstract future thing, or a science issue, but as a real-time problem that causes them problems already,” Moser said. “Here in inland New England, it is often heavy downpours and flooding, extreme heat or more health issues like allergies. I’ve seen communities wake up to these realities out of sheer necessity. They know more is coming. And they need help taking action.”
Moser added that many areas have chosen to go for low-hanging fruit like moving to energy-efficient traffic lights, something Hadley has done as well.
“But the shift to clean energy, changes to transportation infrastructure, upgrading a town’s water and sewage system to be fit for the climate that is coming – all that takes technical expertise, money and everyone’s support,” Moser said. “Luckily, at the local level, it is often not quite as politically polarized as it is in national debate, but there are other challenges communities face.”
Moser said being proactive in reversing climate change is crucial because it is not something you can just switch off. She compared it to a massive Titanic that takes significant time to turn around.
“We have wasted 40 to 50 years because of fossil fuel industry resistance and active efforts to stall actions, so we will not get away without major scrapes as we try to avoid a headlong collision,” Moser said. “In other words, we can’t reverse near-term additional warming, but we can do everything in our power to prevent even more dangerous warming. Every tenth of a degree matters.”
Why should a small community like Hadley care?
“Because we live in a flood and drought-prone, and heat extreme-prone area; we depend on agriculture, which is extremely climate-sensitive; we have many seniors in our community who are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change; our infrastructure like roads, water and sewage system, the levy, electricity and communication systems is essential to our well-being but also aging and at risk from storms and other weather extremes,” Moser said.“Despite all that, we live in an incredibly beautiful and desirable area, and by comparison, it’s safer than many other corners of the state so we can expect an influx of people moving here which will drive up housing prices and so on. Hadley and the Pioneer Valley have no time to lose preparing for these challenges.”