Climate Change & The Age of Consequences

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A Series of Community Events in Vershire

Dr. Alan Betts visited Vershire on November 4th in the first of a series of programs on our changing climate, looking back to learn from the past and ahead to plan for the future, organized by the Vershire Climate Action Committee and other local groups.

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Helen Wilson provided biographical information on Dr. Betts, photos and a review of the day’s events, with additional answers to some questions of mine.

Dr. Betts of Atmospheric Research in Pittsford is Vermont’s leading climate scientist. In the late 1970s, he moved to Vermont, and for nearly 40 years he has continued his research on regional and global weather and climate. He has worked on climate change adaptation planning for Vermont.

The day began by gathering at 2:30 pm at the Town Center and walking along the stream to where it is joined by another branch. We then went to a location on North Road, where a new driveway was cut into the hill. Dr. Betts pointed out a spot on the hill where a small spring is coming out - possible source of water washing out ground at some point.

What was happening in the picture on the road?  Was that the stream walk or the place of concern on North Road?

That is on North Road. It is the location of a new driveway, across from the old landfill. It is handling the heavy rains well so far, unlike some other spots on North Road.

Do you have any information about the electric car in the photo?

It is a Prius Prime - Dr. Betts' new car. It gets over 120 miles per gallon!

At 4 pm the group went to The Mountain School, where Dr. Betts presented a slideshow and talk for students. []

Five of the students joined us for potluck dinner at the Town Center, and each shared their experiences, hopes and concerns about Climate Change. After dinner, Dr. Betts presented another slide show and talk.

Gregory Wilson added, “We also had about a 10-minute talk by Marc McKee, the ‘maple sugar guy at the Mountain School for 25 years.’ Marc shared his experiences meeting with professional sugarers, and their responses to talking about climate change and the effect it will have on the sugar industry. He created North Road Sugar Works and holds yearly pancake suppers with speakers which have included Bill McKibben and John Elder.”

The talk was attended by people from Vershire, West Fairlee Center, East Randolph, Chelsea, and Rutland (and possibly other towns). Dr. Betts shared both scientific information (graphs and charts showing both history and projections) and anecdotal stories from his own garden experience -- turning under winter rye in January! (A copy of his presentation can be found here.) It was an enjoyable and informative day, and we look forward to future events collaborating with neighboring towns to prepare for climate changes ahead.

Dr. Betts suggested several things:

1) That we create markers showing where the water rose to after Irene. He said we should talk to everyone and get as many places marked as we can, so we know what we can expect in the future.

2) That roads may need to be relocated to higher ground. He said when we used horses for transportation, the roads were along the ridges, but now they are along the streams and rivers, and thus prone to being washed out. He also suggested smaller roads, suitable for electric bikes and trikes.

Is there anything else scheduled or plans in the works in this vein for the foreseeable future in town?

We are hoping to offer regular events like this one, to continue to educate ourselves and our neighbors about how we can prepare for the future.


The next event in this series will be Tuesday December 5th, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Vershire Town Center with a showing of the documentary film: ‘The Age of Consequences’ - Climate. Change. Conflict. This event is free and open to the public.

From the Vershire list serv: Directed by Jared P. Scott (Mountain School alumnus, award-winning filmmaker, NYTimes best-selling author, and founding partner at PF Pictures). Scott uses interviews with veterans, admirals, and generals to track the effects of climate change from a military perspective, examining how resource scarcity impacts national security, population shifts, and global stability.

“The film has … [played] at over 100+ universities including MIT, Harvard, & Yale, main-staying  environmental group events, and screening with policy makers on Capitol Hill, the UN, NATO, European Union, UK Parliament, and NASA. In September, the film [was] used by members of the US House of Representatives to garner support for climate change H.Res 195, coinciding with UN's Climate Week”  (IMDB).

All donations will go to the Vershire Fire Department Training Fund for EMTs. If you would like to donate, but can't attend the film, you can drop off your donation at the Town Center on the evening of the 5th, or send it to Vershare, Box 112, Vershire, VT 05079.

Sponsored by: Vershire Climate Action Group, Town of Vershire, Vershare, Zen Mountain Healing, Vershire Riding School

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