Editor’s note: the letter was also sent to all members of the Amherst Town Council.
It was a real shock to see that ten Amherst Town Council members voted last week to purchase a new fossil fuel-burning school bus for Amherst. Sincere thanks to Councilors Pat DeAngelis (District 2) and Darcy Dumont (District 5) for voting No, and to District 1 Councilor Cathy Schoen for abstaining.
Some 500 people converged on the UMass Campus as part of last Friday’s worldwide climate strike. The Council majority’s disconnect from us was stark. We included students from Fort River School as well as concerned people of all ages. The message was clear.
What each of us does to mitigate our world-wide climate crisis matters. Fossil fuel-burning vehicles, however, worsen that crisis. If this school bus question had been put to Amherst voters, would the result have been different?
Understanding that the Town has more than $800,000 in appropriated, but unspent, funds that can evidently be repurposed, my bet is: Yes.
Please rethink this! For the sake of the children, furthermore, this time please invite and consider input from the Amherst public—including from our schoolchildren.
This is about their lives, and they know it.
Sarah McKee has been a resident of Amherst for nearly twenty years.