Results from survey will help Easthampton create climate action plan

By EMILY THURLOW

Staff Writer

Published: 06-09-2023 2:28 PM

EASTHAMPTON — The city has launched a survey to gain insight about the experience residents and business owners have related to energy usage.

The survey, available at https://tinyurl.com/EasthamptonCAPSurvey, is one of several outreach methods officials are using to gather input from the community as part of its development of its first climate action plan, Easthampton Conservation Agent Cassie Tragert said.

“This survey is a really critical element in developing the climate action plan,” said Tragert.

The municipality is currently chipping away at the climate action plan that Mayor Nicole LaChapelle described as a playbook to prioritize actions in its goal of becoming a net-zero carbon-emitting community.

Easthampton has signed a contract with Weston & Sampson, a Reading engineering firm, to develop the plan that will allow the city to examine its dependence on fossil fuels and see how effective some of the projects that are already underway have been in reducing that carbon output. The $150,000 contract is funded from $100,000 of Easthampton’s American Rescue Plan Act funds and a $50,000 grant from the state’s Best Practices Community Compact Program.

The plan will also analyze ways to increase the city’s climate resiliency and recommend actions that city workers, businesses and residents can take to make the most of the upcoming state and federal incentives to support these improvements.

The survey is open to people who own or rent in the city, landlords and people who manage storefronts in Easthampton.

“The more local voices we can incorporate in the making of the climate action plan, the more tailored the final roadmap will be to our city’s needs and goals,” said LaChapelle.

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Tragert said the survey will ask people what their experience is with fossil fuel use, and what actions they’ve taken or are interested in taking to reduce their carbon footprint. It also asks what, if any, challenges they’ve faced in trying to cut back on fossil fuel use.

Those who participate in the survey will have the opportunity to sign up to be notified of additional future events related to the project.

The Planning Board will showcase goals of the climate action plan project at a booth at Cultural Chaos on Saturday.

On Wednesday, June 28, city officials and consultants from Weston & Sampson will host a virtual informational event to provide more detailed information on what the climate action plan is, how it is being created, and what to expect going forward.

The city’s climate action plan is estimated to be complete within the next 18 months, according to Tragert.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.]]>