By Maurice Carter, Sustainable Newton President
Sustainable Newton is proud to do our part. We're also a bit apprehensive. Thursday at 6 pm is also the annual Lighting of Downtown Covington event on the square. It's unfortunate timing, but as they say, it is what it is. This being a global event tied to a fixed window of time, we had limited scheduling options. And, when we realized the conflict a couple of weeks ago, it was impossible to shift to a different time on Thursday, with newspaper articles, event posts, and flyers already in circulation.
It's inconvenient (and unintended) to conflict with a holiday-themed event featuring Santa Claus. But, it's also a bit ironic. For, there's probably no place on Earth more threatened and already so impacted by climate change as the North Pole. Between 1980 and 2018, the volume of ice at the North Pole decreased by 69%. Many scientists now predict by the middle of this century, the Arctic Sea will be ice-free for significant portions of every summer. Simply put, Santa needs our help to keep his home and workshop safe.
The North Pole seems such a long, long way from Covington. I get that. Just as the coral reefs in Australia and the South Pacific seemed so far away when I watched the documentary Chasing Coral with Sustainable Newton in March of 2018. But, the warming oceans threatening 75% of the world's coral reefs with extinction -- the same ones melting Arctic Sea ice at an alarming rate -- are not the result of isolated causes someplace else. They are the direct effect of human activity everywhere. Even here.
Sustainable Newton was founded with the determination to not look helplessly upon the effects of climate change on our natural world and life as we know it. We recognized none of us alone can reverse centuries-long trends overnight. But, we also know we can each do something. The "24 Hours of Reality" event is an urgent conversation about what we can do here and now. The situation is serious, but not hopeless. Still, time is short, and we on the board of Sustainable Newton don't feel the conversation and subsequent action can wait.
We're not discouraging anyone from being where you feel you need to be Thursday night. If that means enjoying the festive atmosphere and community spirit of the Lighting of Downtown Covington, have a wonderful evening. (However, please see below for other ways to get involved now to make a difference.) But, if you have a passion, as we do, for tackling the climate crisis threatening our future and that of our children, we hope you'll join us this Thursday for a crucial dialog. This time, Santa will understand.
Not able to join us Thursday night? Here's how you can still help: