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Get involved with planning for our future

How do we begin to think about a future promising so many unknowns? I imagine that our agriculture will be changed by a warming climate. That will mean the loss of staples such as apples and maple syrup. Ski lodges will be replaced by mountain biking. The surge of floods and droughts will affect the cost of infrastructure and the loss of less resilient flora and fauna, which will affect our local food supply.

How will these changes affect our economy, the exchange of goods and services that we rely upon to provide essentials like food, fuel and transportation? What kind of work force should our education curriculum train young people for? Will the science and skill base of food production and preservation replace history and the arts? Will most wage earners be telecommuting instead of using cars to go to offices? Will we even be driving individual cars when fossil fuels are finally prohibitively expensive due to the carbon tax that will be necessary to stop them from fatally polluting the earth? What forms of transportation will take their place?

Will we still be a town of homeowners in nuclear families or will we be living in group homes to conserve energy and financial resources? How will we house a predictable influx of environmental refugees from flooded or water-deprived areas of our country? What skills in conflict resolution and group decision-making will be essential to our success if we have to live closer together and share more resources?

All these questions are speculative today, but no one knows how rapidly they may become urgent problems requiring urgent solutions. I know I want to meet the future feeling prepared. I want to be engaged with people experienced in building and sustaining community. I want to know we have anticipated challenges and begun the necessary shifts in expectations so we can make a cooperative, respectful and inclusive adaptation to changing conditions.

These are the intentions of Greening Greenfield as we offer our second annual forum called “Creating Greenfield’s Future: Visions for 2050” that will be held at GCC on Saturday, April 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. We’re calling all visionaries, all those who see the writing on the wall and know we have to prepare for fundamental changes to the way we do almost everything! Come, bring your bright hopes and brilliant schemes. Lend your strength to our common endeavor as a town. Together, we are strong. This forum will focus on food systems, education, energy-efficient buildings, renewable energy technology, and health care, with experts in their fields guiding our community dialogue. What will a day in the life of a teacher, health provider, farmer, or tradesperson look like in 2050?

We offer this event as an opportunity to talk deeply about issues that concern us all. Our ideas will be forwarded to the Greenfield Planning Board and advisory committee working on the Greenfield Sustainable Master Plan. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet new allies, learn from each other, and contribute to a future that we can meet together with confidence. To register, go to www.greeninggreenfield.org.

Sandra Boston is a Greenfield resident and a Greening Greenfield member.

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