MVC, film festival host climate talk

John Kerry, Gina McCarthy to headline event moderated by Dylan Fernandes.

The Martha's Vineyard Commission highlighted an upcoming forum by Secretary of State John Kerry and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. - Rich Saltzberg

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival will co-host “The Climate Is Changing. Are We?” at the West Tisbury School next Monday, Aug. 12. The event features a discussion with former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. Massachusetts state Rep. Dylan Fernandes will moderate the discussion. 

MVC executive director Adam Turner briefed the commission on the event last Thursday. 

Kerry and McCarthy won’t “be going into the science,” Turner said, but will be addressing what can be done about climate change.

“Gina McCarthy was the head of the DEP in Connecticut when I was there, and I’ve had dealings with her,” he said. “She’s very pragmatic … It’s going to be a great event.”

“We already live in a post-global-warming climate that will threaten every aspect of human life,” Fernandes wrote in an email to The Times. “Now the question is what actions must we take on the personal, local, state, and international levels to mitigate the damage and leave a recognizable planet to future generations. We are incredibly fortunate to have climate leaders in Secretary John Kerry and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on-Island to lead this discussion.” 

In a separate email, commissioner Joan Malkin wrote that the MVC has created a task force “to develop an action plan to address the direct effects of climate change … This new task force joins other Island groups who have been working to address these critical issues that we are already facing here, and that will likely continue to worsen until we fully transform our energy systems, and many significant aspects of our lives.” 

Malkin wrote that “life-providing systems of our planet” are collapsing: “As an Island with a small population, we need to recognize the duty we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure our healthy future in these perilous times. That work starts with understanding the problems we face, and discussing the solutions and actions we will quickly need to undertake.”

Plastic Free MV, the Island Climate Action Network, Island Grown Initiative, the Vineyard Conservation Society, Vineyard Power, and Sunrise Movement MV are sponsoring the event, and have allied with the MVC in exploring solutions on-Island to the effects of climate change. 

The event is free. From 4 to 5 pm, there will be an opening reception and “climate bazaar.” The event itself starts at 5 pm.

In other business, the commission put the final touches to its approval of a tower height extension at a Verizon installation in Tisbury. The tower, which is 77 feet tall, can now be raised to 130 feet. Geoghan Coogan, Verizon’s local attorney, told The Times the next step in the process is a vote by the Tisbury zoning board of appeals.

The commission also closed a hearing on a revamp of the Carroll’s Trucking campus with no public comment.