Carrie Fenn, Solar Community Organizer SunCommon

During a month wrought with hurricanes, wildfires and shocking announcements from the EPA, a group of Champlain Valley residents have been meeting to try to make sense of our changing climate and how these changes affect our communities.

Through a grant administered by PLACE (Public Libraries Advancing Community Engagement), the Charlotte Library has hosted two events coordinated by Marty Illick, executive director of Lewis Creek Association, and Suzy Hodgson, from the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The first of the series, titled “Community & Climate” and moderated by Jonathon Silverman, allowed participants to explore what the Charlotte environs means to them personally. The discussion was centered around selected readings from Bill McKibbon’s memoir, Wandering Home, as well as positive steps our communities are taking in regard to climate action and ways we can improve.

The second part of the series, “Our Changing Climate,” held on Oct. 10, featured two documentaries produced by the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The films presented two farms that are taking steps to adapt to the changing climate. Participants reflected on the farmers’ reactions to their new reality, noting how fragile plants are and the difficulty farmers face with unpredictable growing seasons and cycles of drought and flooding. Further discussion focused on the effects of temperature increases in Vermont on public health.

Strategies for a Resilient Community,” the third part of the series, will be held on Oct. 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the library. Readings from Bringing It to the Table by Wendell Berry and Food, Farms & Community by Lisa Chase will be featured as discussion points. Reading packets can be found on the Charlotte Library website.

For folks interested in learning more about Vermont’s reaction to climate change, energy and efficiency, the Charlotte Energy Committee is hosting two more events at the library. The first, on Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m., will be led by Bill Kallock of the Charlotte Energy Committee. Bill will present information on heat pump technology and efficiency. The second, on Nov. 29 at 7:00 p.m., will focus on solar energy for homes and businesses.

For those interested in learning more about energy policy in Vermont and beyond, Carrie and Peter Fenn will be hosting an open house on Oct. 22 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at their home on Lake Road. Charlotte’s State Representative Mike Yantachka, of the House Energy and Technology Committee, and David Hill, from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, will be on hand to answer questions. Information on going solar with SunCommon will also be available. RSVP to Carrie for address and more information on the event.

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