Another month has passed, another month when our Town’s leaders could have begun to address how best to prepare Madison for climate change and all that will mean for the Town.
The first part of that process, as with any issue that affects the entire Town, is to engage the citizens. Without input from everyone, Madison can’t begin to develop a long-range plan to address the impact of climate change. Unfortunately that engagement is yet to begin.
Fortunately, others have not been standing by. The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, a group comprised of federal, state, and local officials has released its report, a document that is thorough, includes much input from local leaders (alas not from Connecticut), documents the dozens of economic, infrastructure, health, and societal impacts, and contains 69 specific recommendations A couple of highlights:
·Every dollar spent on mitigation saves $4 in avoided costs when a disaster strikes.
·Thousands of small businesses were devastated by the effects of Sandy; flooding damaged inventories, machinery, and buildings; lack of power forced business to close; blocked roads prevented service calls, deliveries and customer traffic alike.
·In 2012 there were 11 “weather events” in the US that resulted in more than $110 billion in estimated damage.
Many will say those weather events are due to normal weather, and climate change has nothing to do with it. Sure; just like the home runs hit by steroid-ingesting ball players weren’t a result of those illicit drugs. The changes in climate and weather patterns can’t be blamed for specific events, but there's no question we will have more of those “events”, and they will be more severe than we’re used to.
So, what should we do.
First, let’s get everyone up to speed. What’s happening with climate, what are the potential effects over the near-, mid- and long-term. Let’s talk about the science, the data, the research, and let’s hear from the experts. This might be a series of talks that could be broadcast by Madison TV, or meetings at Town Hall, or some combination. Whatever we do, it should attempt to get as much information out to as many people as possible.
Then, let’s find out what people think about the issue. There are many “priorities” in Madison, and this may, or may not, be near the top of the list. Unfortunately, there’s no question another storm like Sandy will propel it to the top pretty quickly. Regardless, it’s our Town, and it’s up to us to decide what, if anything, to do.
Fortunately, the folks in Guilford have already done a lot of the groundwork, and we can learn from them. That entails serious discussions, outreach, sharing of information, and collaboration.
Oh, and it’s an election year, and perhaps this is worth consideration when discussing issues with our local politicians.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.