My Turn: Can Greenfield become number 2 in the state?

  • JOHN BOS CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published: 1/7/2021 1:49:18 PM
Modified: 1/7/2021 1:49:05 PM

The city of Cambridge, Mass. is the first U.S. city to mandate climate warnings on gas pumps. Wouldn’t it be great if Greenfield could act quickly and become number two?

The bright yellow pump stickers will warn drivers that burning gasoline, diesel and ethanol has “major consequences on human health and the environment including contributing to climate change.”

While similar mandates can be found in Sweden, a similar idea surfaced in Berkeley, Calif. in 2014, but was never enacted, according to Business Insider.

In 2018, Cambridge updated its Climate Action Plan, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The label mandate is a step towards achieving this goal and an attempt to reduce the city’s transportation greenhouse gas emissions which account for almost half of the city’s total emissions.

“The gas pump stickers will remind drivers to think about climate change and hopefully consider non-polluting options,” a spokesman from the city of Cambridge told The Guardian newspaper. Requiring these labels at the gas pump will provide consumers with information about the impact of fossil fuel consumption directly at the point of purchase.

“Labels are designed to create a feeling like someone has broken a rule or violated a law,” Jamie Brooks, founder of the organization Think Beyond the Pump (https://ourhorizon.org/think-beyond-the-pump/), told The Guardian. “This feeling, along with increased social pressure, like smoking labels, can translate to a collapse in trust for the current system, thereby increasing the public appetite for alternatives.”

We take great pride in our “buy local” agriculture ethos in Greenfield. Can we up the ante on behalf of the larger environment by greeting all of us at the gas pump with a life-saving message?

John Bos is a resident of Greenfield.

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