Climate Emergency Declaration Begins at $50M School Board Meeting

After admonishing the school directors at the Windham South East School Union meeting Tuesday night June 25 for failing to educate students about climate change Kurt Daims of Brattleboro Common Sense (BCS) proposed an advisory resolution to include Climate Crisis in every regular meeting of the school directors. One person spoke against the resolution, and after an enthusiastic debate the resolution was approved.

BCS and die-in protestors at the Heifer Stroll parade on June 8 had carried banners declaring a Climate Emergency, and this advisory to the school directors is part of their plan for a Climate Emergency Declaration. BCS has been taking comments from the public on two other versions of declaration. One version was written and circulated by the die-in protestors, and another, in antique-style manuscript on yellowed vellum paper reminiscent of the original Declaration of Independence, was enthusiastically received at the Slow-Living Expo after the parade.

BCS may request the selectboard assume public support and place the third version on the board’s agenda and approve it through the board’s emergency ordinance procedure without a public vote. BCS has been preparing the declaration since February and will be partnering with a national coalition, The Climate Mobilization.

Brattleboro Common Sense’ environmental action began in 2009: EMDOVY v Brattleboro: with a Superior Court order ending censorship of petitions by town government.

In 2010 Brattleboro approved EMDOVY: a legislative study of a legal theory for preventing economic harm to the public by the owner of the VY nuclear reactor abandoning the cleanup.

2014 BCS advanced the Climate Change Declaration that it is real and human-made, and that atmospheric carbon be declared a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

2018 Renewable-source municipal electricity wins on its third vote. BCS surveys had shown public support despite increased cost. The proposal failed on separate votes in 2010 and 2012.

2019 Energy-Sustainability Office wins, but the conservation terms of the BCS Climate Crisis Forum lost first vote at Representative Town Meeting. BCS expects it will show Brattleboro people will sacrifice for our environment if it is put to a town-wide vote.

Now BCS in partnership with The Climate Mobilization (TCM) seeks comments and amendments to the Declaration of Climate Emergency, to be promoted as soon as possible. TCM and Extinction Rebellion have sparked more than five hundred municipal and national declarations in recent months.

The declaration draft (below) has clauses which are particular to Brattleboro and Vermont and not found in many declarations, concerning precedent in other Brattleboro resolutions, enforceable terms for citizens’ proposals, counting youth among most affected peoples, loss of foresight, thrift and of other virtues contributing to the crisis, conservation and moderation in reliance on technology, and respect for climate deniers and a plea for unity. Please offer further ideas and amendments and corrections.

This article, to be known as the Declaration of Climate Emergency, is in accordance with a resolution promoted directly by vote of the selectboard in 2003, and with resolutions regarding the environment and Climate Change promoted by Brattleboro Common Sense through petition for votes of the people in 2010, 2014, and 2018.

Whereas Senator Sanders has said, “We must look at climate change as if it were a devastating military attack against the United States and the entire planet. And we must respond accordingly” in other words, with the urgency of war.

Whereas the hardships of war require conservation and rationing of valuable resources, and the virtues of thrift, self-sacrifice, truthfulness, and forethought, for lack of which our society has brought the world into this crisis,

Whereas the climate crisis is causing immense human suffering and damage to the natural world and threatens to destroy civilization and kill billions of people,

Whereas we must feel an extreme obligation and measure of compassion for young people and for the Asian, African and Pacific peoples who are already dying in nameless numbers from the effects of this crisis, which they did not cause,

Whereas reliance on technology instead of our virtues has also caused the crisis and cannot alone save the world,

And whereas Brattleboro can act as an example by converting to an ecologically, socially and economically regenerative economy at emergency speed, we therefor respond according to the Senator’s exhortation.

Be it resolved that the people of Brattleboro strive for zero emissions across all sectors of the economy by 2025, and that this effort be observed and reported by a sustainability coordinator or other appropriate office of the town,

Be it further resolved that the selectboard shall immediately warn monthly representative town meetings and meetings of the people, where they can make proposals for fuel conservation, shared transportation, wise use of resources, and other measures that address the climate crisis, and further that the selectboard shall enact emergency ordinances per charter article 4 section 6 AA to test the proposals arising from those meetings with newfound energy and haste,

And finally we the people of Brattleboro declare climate emergency, and resolve to endure hardship and self-sacrifice, exert our utmost energy, and summon the deepest truthfulness and courage even without certainty to secure the survival of our children, ourselves, all humanity and this divinely beautiful natural world, which has sustained us through the ages with unspoken love.

And for sake of unity let no one scorn crisis “deniers”, since their inaction has been no worse than ours who believe it. We have all been living our lives and denying the climate crisis together. Let us brave our way through it together.

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