ASHLAND – Ashland will continue its strides in reducing carbon emission and addressing climate change with the adoption of a Net Zero Emissions Goal.
A Special Town Meeting approved it last night, November 20.
“Ashland is doing a lot already, but we need to do more,” said Sustainability Committee Co-Chair Matthew Marshquist.
Ashland is one of 210 cities and towns in the Massachusetts Commonwealth that have committed to reducing municipal energy as part of the Green Communities Program. Ashland has been and continues to work to “reduce its carbon emissions, promote clean energy, and increase resilience including installing municipal solar arrays, promoting private and public renewable energy installations, installing electric vehicle charging stations, opting for renewable electricity aggregation, promoting residential and commercial efficiency programs and converting to LED streetlights,” according to the Warrant Articles, Information and Recommendations of the Finance Committee.
Becoming a net zero includes three major actions: reducing energy use through efficiency, generating more on-site renewable energy, and offsetting the remaining energy use by purchasing off-site renewables or renewables or credits for activities such as planting trees, which helps reduce our carbon footprint.
“Being a net zero community does not require that every single home or building in town become net zero, it requires the balance of all emissions in town to equal zero,” explained Marshquist.
The Net Zero Emission Goal will impact generations to come.
“Could you vote for this, because it’s humanity’s future that your voting for,” asked young Ashland resident Anya Ratanchandani.
High school students echoed the sentiments of Ratachandani.
Resident Ariana spoke on behalf of the Ashland High School Environmental Action Club.
“We ask that you vote to support the net zero bylaw here in Ashland. Use your power of voting to make a positive impact on all our futures. Help my generation and generations after have a foundation for creating a healthier and cleaner Earth,” the teen said.
Now that the Net Zero Resolution has passed, the Sustainability Committee will work on formulating a plan for the community. When several residents expressed concern over specific details of what the plan would look like, they were assured that it would be a community process.
“It will be a public process to work out all these matters and issues,” BSelect Board member Robert Scherer said.
The Sustainability Committee anticipates presenting an official Net Zero Plan by Fall 2020.