Westford Sunrise Movement ‘Devoted to Stopping Climate Crisis’

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After successfully pushing through legislation to limit the use and distribution of both plastic straws and bags in Westford, the local climate movement is now aiming to make Westford a net-zero emissions town.

The leader of the Westford and Littleton Sunrise Movement, Westford Academy  junior Tobias Bluestein, said they are “devoted to stopping the climate crisis and creating jobs in the process.”

The Sunrise Movement is a national, de-centralized organization aiming to address the threat of climate change. They were first founded in April 2017 and have local community-run hubs across the country. Since their founding, they have garnered nationwide attention for their sit-ins at the offices of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein both Democrats from California.

The Sunrise Movement is primarily run by young, politically minded individuals such as Bluestein, though anyone is welcomed to join, he said. While the goals of the organization are to push through climate legislation in general, their goals are modeled closely after those laid forward in New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey’s Green New Deal, which floundered in the Senate after passing in the House of Representatives.

While each community’s organization differs in operations and leadership, each one generally works to introduce local legislature to make each town as environmentally conscious and friendly as possible, working to implement community Green New Deals.

When asked about their plans going forward, Bluestein said that “in Westford, [they] are currently planning on introducing a net-zero resolution at the annual town meeting, which would tell all town bodies of the government to take into account their carbon footprint when making decisions.” Some of their target changes to accomplish this include “more installations of electric car charging ports and increased solar output,”Bluestein said.

The next annual town meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 28 at 10 a.m. in the gymnasium of the Abbot School, and will resume  at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 30 in the same location, if needed.

The Westford members of the Sunrise Movement are also planning a Green New Deal at town hall to occur in the near future and will be attending the Earth Day Climate Strike in Boston as an organization, for which they said they hope to gather a large turnout of Westford community residents.

Troy LaFond is a student at UMass-Lowell and a journalism intern at WestfordCAT.