Nearly 1 in 3 Americans live in a county hit by a weather disaster during the past three months. On top of that, 64% live in places that experienced a multi-day heat wave, according to analysis by the Washington Post. At least 388 people in the United States have died due to hurricanes, floods, heat waves and wildfires since June. Scientists have more and more evidence all the time that these extreme weather events are made more frequent and intense by climate change.

Yarmouth High School students have created the Green Climate Society, which is asking the Yarmouth Town Council to “declare a climate and ecological emergency and to commit the town to end city-wide greenhouse gas emissions and initiates additional greenhouse gas drawdown efforts as quickly as possible, but no later than Dec. 31, 2030, prioritizing zero-carbon solutions for local electricity, heating, and transportation systems.”

Many cities and towns in the U.S. and the rest of world are taking similar actions. It is a wise and needed step.

Among the important strategies that could be used to achieve this goal are:

• Converting the fleet of cars and trucks that the town owns to electric vehicles. Eliminating internal combustion engines would significantly reduce greenhouse gases.
• Building electric vehicle charging stations throughout Yarmouth as other Maine towns and cities have done.
• Joining with Portland and South Portland in their plan for getting to net zero. Both of those cities have a sustainability director, as does Falmouth. A coalition of cities committed to at least reaching the Paris goals would contribute a great deal. Yarmouth itself should consider hiring a sustainability director to help achieve its goals for ending the climate crisis as quickly as possible.

The Yarmouth High School students are understandably concerned about their future. All of us should be as well.

Rev. Richard Killmer