To the Editor:
The MVC’s Climate Action Task Force has a good selection of capable people who are looking at the issue of energy use, and the direction and goals are fine for what they are; however, there are some issues that should be addressed that this task force is not dealing with.
VTA buses — currently these buses run nearly empty, and often completely empty, and are very large. Why is this allowed? There is the matter of the shared use path on Beach Road, and how it is impacting the town of Tisbury and the Island if it goes ahead as planned. Although cycling is key to energy use, this plan from the commission is actually the opposite of what should be done. Consider the tree landscape on Beach Road, and how this will decimate the shade trees. Now, the argument for doing this is that it will increase cycling and is worth the cost, but the social and environmental cost of removing shade trees is more than a financial equation.
Also, the SUP as designed will impact businesses negatively, and this has not been considered because no study or DRI by the commission has been permitted to be performed. Replacing permeable land with natural vegetation, and paving over it, is damaging to the road, as it increases flooding, and this has not been considered by the commission, which now presents a plan that hopes to be carbon-neutral by the year 2040. Although a lofty goal, we must consider all aspects of the commission structure which decides whenever a DRI or study is to be allowed, and in the case of a project developed by the commission, they have proved that they will not allow any serious study of their plans, and this means that impacts are not considered carefully or at all.
There is another issue — energy use is a chronic problem, with an existential threat to the future of humanity. Martha’s Vineyard will not stave off extinction by any action it takes, and it may be that we have already passed the point of no return where biological/environmental feedback loops are out of our control. Certainly by the year 2030, it is estimated that we will have reached that point, if not already. Therefore, I would like to suggest that saving shade trees should be of the highest priority, above all else. In fact, if anything, an emphasis should be placed on planting more trees, and especially where absorbing water and cleansing the environment of pollutants from energy sources, including marine use such as power boats, our SSA transportation system, and trucking.