A journey for the climate: Local woman speaks on World Climate Summit attendance

  • Kate Devlin speaks about her experience at the World Climate Summit in Paris at Our Lady of Peace Church in Turners Falls on Sunday. Recorder staff/Lisa Spear

Monday, February 29, 2016

MONTAGUE — In front of a crowd in Turners Falls a local woman reflected on her time at the World Climate Summit, the event in Paris that brought together leaders from across the globe to discuss climate change and to create a low-carbon world.

Those looking to learn more about the summit gathered at Our Lady of Peace Church on Sunday to hear from Biologist Kate Devlin, who spent a few weeks at the summit attending lectures and making connections.

“There was a lot of story sharing about what is happening in the world,” said Devlin, who is currently teaching ecology at Greenfield Community College. She collected educational pamphlets to bring back to her students.

“The summit was a meeting of leaders to talk about how to mitigate the effects of climate change, not just as a single country, but as a world,” she said. She arrived in France just two weeks after the terror attacks that swept through Paris.

“There was a lot of hope,” said Devlin. She said that reversing the damage of climate change can start with individuals. Each individual can play a part in protecting the environment.

“It’s a moral issue, you have to decide for yourself how you are going to live,” she said.

She advised the audience to use cloth bags instead of plastic, to recycle, to better insulate their homes to save heat and preserve energy.

“You need a critical mass to tip the scales. You need to get enough people talking about it,” said Devlin.

While at the summit, she learned of indigenous tribes fighting to protect their ancestral lands in Latin America, she learned about the droughts that are happening across the globe. She learned that the impacts of climate change are most often felt through change in water.

Through a series of slides, she shared her experiences with the Montague community.

“That was a wonderful speech and presentation, but there are still politicians who are not accepting climate change,” said Shirley Bontempi of Greenfield. Devlin suggested writing letters to congress.

You can reach Lisa Spear at: lspear@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 280