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Climate Justice in response to Climate Emergency

 Shanna endorses the Green New Deal and the Red Deal. Shanna recognizes Northampton’s efforts to support clean air, energy and water in the Valley. We need to stop local biomass or any development of new fossil fuel infrastructure, including the use of fracked gas. As mayor, Shan​na will push towards sustainable development pathways that considers justice, inequality and human agency in socio-environmental systems. Using risk-management in the decision-making process of sustainability, Shanna as Mayor commits to:

  • Implement a Municipal Green New Deal as we continue to lead the efforts to harness Net Zero Energy by championing and accelerating Massachusetts’s 2050 goal
  • Complete Northampton's net-zero goal by 2030 for all municipal buildings, as we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and resource conservation, and invest in green transportation
  • Engage residents by mediating and facilitating landscape conservation planning and property development
  • Increase municipal green job opportunities, such as a water steward as a town service to protect our waterways and to equitably manage our rivers
  • Impose caps on developments that strip our land of its resource wealth, and better manage green and open spaces for recreational and farm use
  • Develop local renewable energy sources that will enhance community economics and promote community-led planning, enrich social relations and build social cohesion
  • Upgrade the municipal electrical grid and improve green public transportation, while ensuring there are more choices and fewer cars, especially in our most congested areas
  • Fulfill Northampton lighting code and invest in Dark Skies initiative in order to protect human health and wildlife, and improve safety and quality of life
  • Improve stormwater management and flood risk
  • Increase safe walking and bike paths for the 40% of residents living within a mile of downtown

Key issues:

Value habitat in Northampton -   Shanna will lead decisions that consider the land, energy, and water as community members, which have stakes in our actions. Considering habitat loss, Shanna would assess and invest measures that prevent destruction, fragmentation, and degradation of habitats.

Evidence-based public input - The City of Northampton changed its in aministrative code so that three commissions--the Energy & Sustainability Commission, the Transportation & Parking Commission, and the Urban Forestry Commission--are chaired exclusively by a municipal staff rather than by a commission member voted by their peers.  Shanna will reverse the code to ensure that residents can nominate chairs of commission. 

"Natural" gas pipes - Economic resources are better spent on efficiency and renewable energy. Investment in natural gas does not incentivize a move to renewable energy.  Shanna opposes natural gas fracking, and, while paying attention to all safety concerns of leaks, will not invest in building new natural gas infrastructure. Rather, we need to immediately make every effort to invest heavily in renewables such as wind, solar, geothermal, and second-generation biofuels.

Climate emergency - Every decision needs to take both a lens of climate justice and racial justice, along with economic impact. As Mayor, Shanna will issue a climate emergency declaration that will shape all municipal decisions and impact our budget, supporting an emergency-speed transition to zero emissions. Shanna commits to mobilize the required resources and take effective action at the necessary scale and speed. 

Transportation - We need to encourage alternatives and little vehicles, such as motorized skateboards, Segway, “hoverboards,” and other small, battery-powered low-speed not-a-cars. We could introduce city residents and visitors through rentals, like Valley Bike or Zipcar, to increase buy-in for these options. This is a vision toward more choices and fewer cars, especially in our most congested areas. In addition, Shanna commits to invest in wind power and transition to a full electric municipal fleet (currently, Northampton spend $329,000 annually on fuel and gasoline for our fleet). 

Residental carbon footprint - We need to commit to reducing our residential carbon footprints. This would mean assessing the density of our residential areas, the size of new homes built and currently lived in, move towards renewables for heating and cooling our homes and offices, and ensure we use green resources and materials for constructions. Shanna will aggressively go after landlords, property owners, and developers that misuse our zoning ordinances and strip land from her resources, as well as terminate landlord misalignment that hinder energy renovations to their properties. We need to move toward combined heat and power distribution and solar energy, and the municipality has a responsibility to bridge the gap and support home owners who wish to pursue this goal.   

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