Celebrate Earth Day with Sustainable Woodstock

By Jenevra Wetmore

In a time of rising seas and intensifying storms, what happens when a vulnerable city builds by the sea? We invite you to explore this question with Sustainable Woodstock at a special April 5th Earth Day screening of the film Inundation District, followed by a live Q&A with Director David Abel.

Inundation District explores the decision that Boston, one of the world’s wealthiest, most-educated cities, made to spend billions of dollars erecting a new district along its coast — on landfill, at sea level. Unlike other places imperiled by climate change, this neighborhood of glass towers housing some of the world’s largest companies was built well after scientists began warning of the threats. Boston, which already has more high-tide flooding than nearly any other in the United States, called this new quarter the “Innovation District.” But with seas rising inexorably, and at an accelerating rate, others are calling the neighborhood by a different name: “Inundation District.”

Director David Abel will join us for a live virtual Q&A after the screening. David is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covers climate change for the Boston Globe. He is also a professor of the practice at Boston University. His previous films include Lobster War and Entangled, which won a Jackson Wild award, known at the Oscars of nature films, and was nominated for a national Emmy. 

As he shared in a recent interview about Inundation District: “As a journalist, it’s always our job to cast light on the reality that we’re facing, on how our environment is changing, on how our neighborhoods are changing, on how our planet ultimately is changing.”

According to NOAA, if high levels of carbon emissions continue the seas around Boston could rise more than 7 feet by 2100 and 12 feet by 2150. Though focused on Boston’s dilemma, Inundation District focuses on a central question faced by humanity: how can we mitigate and adapt to climate change?

Here in Vermont, our climate will continue to change even with immediate and rapid emissions reductions. To list just a few of the ecological and economic impacts of climate change: industries such as maple sugaring will suffer due to changing seasons; more frequent heavy precipitation will increase the risk of flooding, jeopardize water quality, and increase erosion; and 92 bird species, including the common loon and hermit thrush (Vermont’s official state bird), are expected to disappear by 2050 as ranges shift northward.

Sustainable Woodstock aims to support communities in adapting to changes in climate while working to reduce carbon emissions. As part of these efforts, we have:

  • Raised $98,800 to date, which SW is administering to local low-income households in the form of grants for energy audits, weatherization and household energy upgrades, such as heat pumps and heat pump hot water heaters.
  • Worked with the IREC to bring two all-electric school buses to Woodstock (coming this year!).
  • Led a town-wide effort to make energy upgrades to municipal buildings, estimated to reduce Woodstock’s carbon emissions by 12.5%.
  • Brought the Upper Valley’s first all-electric lawn care contractor to Woodstock.
  • Leveraged $280,000 from the VT Agency of Natural Resources for the Town and Village of Woodstock to implement natural resource projects such as dam removals and bank restoration.
  • Built nearly 500 insulating Window Dressers inserts for low- and moderate-income households.

We hope to learn how we as a community can develop and grow with climate change in mind, and are thrilled to commemorate the 54th Earth Day by screening such a timely film as Inundation District. Please join us for the film and Q&A with Director David Abel on April 5th, 6:30 PM via zoom. Our sincere thanks to our partner for this event, Pentangle Arts, and to the Vermont Humanities, whose support helped to make this event possible.


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