Submitted by Bedford Mothers Out Front
Bedford Mothers Out Front is pleased to report that Bedford’s Special Town Meeting approved funding to develop a Net Zero plan for Bedford. So many voters attended on Monday night, Nov 6, that they overflowed the high school auditorium and had to be accommodated in the library and additional classrooms.
Article 2, Bedford’s Energy Assessment and Action Plan, asked the town to approve $75,000 to hire a consultant to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory of Bedford and then develop a plan to reduce Bedford’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Article 2 aligns Bedford’s emissions reduction goal with the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 and is consistent with the goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.
Net Zero planning was the second order of business on the meeting warrant. After a presentation by Bedford resident Dan Bostwick, the floor was opened to comments and questions. Carlough Faulkner-Carroll, co-coordinator of Bedford Mothers Out Front, opened the public comments with a personal story of how she is motivated to fight climate change to ensure a better future for her two
children. Although several residents brought up concerns about this use of town funds, Mothers Out Front members Sue Swanson and Janet Powers responded persuasively about the long-term economic benefits of transitioning away from fossil fuels and about how a collaborative planning process has the benefit of bringing together disparate sectors of the community, respectively. Co-coordinator Renu Bostwick wrapped up the almost 30 minutes of public commentary by reminding the crowd of the dangers of doing nothing to address climate change. The vote was then called and the measure passed.
The vote on Monday evening was the culmination of a year-long grassroots effort by Bedford Mothers Out Front and other concerned citizens. Mothers Out Front spearheaded the effort from the beginning: calling together local residents into a small Net Zero Study Group, learning from other communities, drafting the wording of Article 2, collecting 184 signatures to put the article on the warrant, gaining the support of Bedford’s Selectmen, Planning Board, and Finance Committee, and finally gathering more than 200 pledges from voters to support Article 2. The Bedford Mothers Out Front team’s collaborative efforts with the town Energy Task Force and with BEST, the parent organization for local elementary schools, helped to publicize the issues of climate change and the need for greenhouse gas reduction strategies.
Thanks to Mothers Out Front, Bedford now joins a growing number of communities in eastern Massachusetts that are taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in order to create a livable climate for all children.