Climate strike held on Petersham Common

  • Area residents gathered on Petersham Common Friday to draw attention to the global climate crisis; one of many similar events taking place across the globe. —Greg Vine

  • Area residents gathered on Petersham Common Friday to draw attention to the global climate crisis; one of many similar events taking place across the globe. —Greg Vine

  • Area residents gathered on Petersham Common Friday to draw attention to the global climate crisis; one of many similar events taking place across the globe. Greg Vine

  • Area residents gathered on Petersham Common Friday to draw attention to the global climate crisis; one of many similar events taking place across the globe. —Greg Vine

  • Larry Buell of Petersham was one of a handful of demonstrators on Petersham Common Friday taking part in the worldwide Black Friday Climate Strike. —Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 11/29/2019 9:55:24 PM

PETERSHAM — A number of local residents, braving a cold breeze and wind chills in the 20s, gathered on Petersham Common Friday morning to express their solidarity with protesters around the globe who were taking part in Black Friday demonstrations designed to focus attention on the worldwide climate crisis. The demonstrations were part of a continuing effort, spawned by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, to prompt world leaders to address mankind’s role in global warming and environmental degradation.

Larry Buell, founder of the Petersham-based Earthlands and the University of the Wild, said he was taking part to bring attention to the impact of deforestation on the world’s water supplies.

“You’re supposed to have 2½ acres of forest for every acre of water,” said Buell. “Just today, we’ve lost 160,000 acres of land through rain forest cutting, decertification, and other factors. We have to stop this. As E.O. Wilson said, ‘Half of the world must be put back into the wild,’ and that’s what I believe has to happen.”

Buell said that despite the fact that much of the land around the Quabbin Reservoir is preserved in a state reservation, “I wouldn’t say it’s all protected. Some of the state lands are what’s called Zone 3, which prohibits cutting. But, due to financial pressures, farmers for instance are being forced to sell their lands, many of which are forested, and those areas are being harvested.”

Renee DuBois, who recently moved to Barre from the North Shore, said she was motivated to show up for the protest for a couple of reasons.

“I think we really need to register with the public that it’s a climate emergency, not simply climate change,” she said. “All of a sudden, we’re all going to realize there are big problems. So, having something that happens regularly helps to keep it in front of people’s eyes.”

The movement started by Thunberg periodically holds demonstrations around the world.

“Specifically, today,” DuBois continued, “I was excited because making the connection with Black Friday and consumerism, which in many ways connects with the climate emergency.”

Friday’s event was the fourth organized by Lynne Feldman, who is part of an informal group known as the Petersham Huddle. She said, all things considered, the response to her efforts has been generally positive.

“I don’t have a lot of time to do a lot of organizing and advertising,” she said, “so I just do my best to get the word out and provide an opportunity for people to come out and be a part of the global effort and make their voices heard. We’re expressing solidarity with the people in Boston, where the big strike locally is happening.”

Feldman said yesterday’s event was also meant to express support for the youth-led Climate Strike which is taking place next Friday, during the U.N. Climate Change Conference which begins Monday.

“So, we’re here to support them,” said Feldman, “and provide an opportunity for people to have their voices heard about the climate emergency we’re facing.”

Feldman said anyone who is interested in taking part in future demonstrations or who would like to share ideas on how to generate attention for the issue of the climate should feel free to contact her at petershamhuddle@gmail.com.


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