Pearson quits Pelham Select Board but will continue climate activism  

  • Alisa Pearson. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/25/2019 11:33:24 AM

PELHAM — A push to have Pelham increase its focus on combating climate change prompted Alisa Pearson to run for and win a seat on the Select Board in 2016.

Now, after a full term and part of the second term to which she was reelected last spring, Pearson is leaving the board to continue promoting efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, though she will do so through the arts instead.

On Monday, Pearson submitted a letter of resignation from the three-member panel effective immediately.

Pearson​ said in a phone interview Tuesday​ that the success of her husband Geoffrey Hudson’s “A Passion for the Planet,” an oratorio on the subject of climate change, which debuted at Smith College in June to a sellout audience, can give hope and inspiration to people despairing about a warming planet. Pearson, who performed as the soprano soloist for the premiere, added that she wants to be more involved with this project.

“I wasn’t able to do both, the Select Board and to step up to help my husband,” Pearson said of her decision. “It’s with a heavy heart I leave the board.”

During her time in the elected position, Pearson said the community has done “a lot of decarbonization work.” Pelham landed two Municipal Vulnerability Program grants that have helped boost her confidence that the town is making progress. “We’ve worked toward potential resiliency against catastrophic events,” Pearson said.

The town also received a $170,000 Green Community grant for a new HVAC system at the library and public safety complex that will reduce energy consumption at the building by 51 percent.

Knowing that Pelham is getting the money, Pearson said she has suggested borrowing to pay to have the work done earlier, though she understands other town officials are concerned about the costs to borrow.

But she argues people should understand that there is a cost to not acting. “Our spreadsheets don’t include the cost of pollution,” Pearson said.

She observed that the town missed out on a third MVP grant that would have provided the money for solar arrays, but that the town will reapply for this.

As a member of Mothers Out Front, Pearson said she sees the fear people have about climate change and believes that involvement in local government, where she will continue to serve on the town’s Energy Committee, is one way to confront these fears.

Pearson said her colleagues have been focused on many of the same concerns, including Chairwoman Karen Willard-Ribeiro, also a member of Mothers Out Front, and member Robert Agoglia.

She would like to see another woman replace her as there is continued need to have female voices in position of authority. “I hope very much a woman will step up,” Pearson said.

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