Shrewsbury residents demanding town to declare a Climate Emergency

Shrewsbury residents demanding town to declare a Climate Emergency

Group rallies demanding Shrewsbury pass Article 34 to declare a Climate Emergency and commit to a just, equitable environmental transition for the most vulnerable members of our community, such as the young, the elderly, and people of color.

Emergency Everywhere Shrewsbury demands the town take emergency action after decades of town, state, and federal governments failure to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

SHREWSBURY, MA — During rush hour on Thursday evening, dozens of supporters of the Emergency Everywhere Shrewsbury group rallied in the town center. Flying colorful wind art and banners, they gathered to demand the town declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency in response to the worsening climate and ecological crises. The group marched from the Shrewsbury Commons to the Town Hall, grabbing attention from the public with speeches, songs, and art.

Emergency Everywhere Shrewsbury is calling upon the town to pass Article 34¹ and join the twenty-one towns and cities around Massachusetts that have already declared a Climate Emergency. Such municipalities include Worcester, Acton, Amherst, Barnstable, Boston, Eastham, Wayland, and Wellesley. This action demands that Shrewsbury commit to a net-zero carbon emission date that is in line with what the scientific consensus requires of humanity in order to avert, climate, ecological, and the resulting social breakdown. A declaration of Climate Emergency at the town level will pressure state and federal leaders to immediately provide funding and resources that match the scale of the crisis to local municipalities.²

Emergency Everywhere Shrewsbury formed at the end of 2020. Members of the group are long standing community organizers who are working to prevent runaway global heating and the Sixth Mass Extinction.³ Previously, these organizers were instrumental in passing:

  • Green Communities (2018)
  • Plastic Bag Ban ( 2016)
  • Styrofoam Ban (2018)
  • Community Preservation Act (2020)
  • W. Boylston Pipeline Ban Declaration (2017)

The actions in Shrewsbury are part of the wider statewide Emergency Everywhere campaign.⁴ The campaign is mobilizing citizens in Massachusetts to demand their city or town pass a declaration of Climate Emergency and urgently act to reduce emissions to net zero. Climate organizers in Arlington, Needham, Newburyport, and Watertown are currently carrying out their Emergency Everywhere campaign with several resolutions expected to pass this spring. Shrewsbury town meeting members will vote on Article 34 this Saturday, May 23.

“We have submitted a citizen’s petition to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency in Shrewsbury because decades have passed without society acknowledging how dangerous our dependence on fossil fuels is. Without acknowledging that burning fossil fuels is a problem, there is no starting point for action. Entire ecosystems are collapsing, and huge swaths of continents will become uninhabitable. If we urgently transform the way we live, we can prevent the worst from happening. We can pass down a safe, healthy, and livable Earth to our children and grandchildren. Acting on the Climate and Ecological crises is the best thing we can do with our lives. We need to move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” says Diane Jones, lead organizer of Emergency Everywhere Shrewsbury.

Extinction Rebellion’s action in Shrewsbury followed the publication of the 2020 CO2 and methane emissions data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.⁵ The report states that if there had been no recession from COVID, 2020 would've been the worst year on record for CO2 and methane increases. Even with the 7% contraction associated with the COVID recession, 2020 ranked top 5 worst years for CO2 emissions and the worst year on record for methane emissions. According to the report, the last time Earth had CO2 levels similar to 2020 was 3.6m years ago and sea levels were 78 feet higher with temperatures only 7F (3.9C) warmer. Warming of 3-4C by 2100 is likely under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecasts without drastic emissions reductions by 2030.

According to the IPCC, humanity has under seven years to limit human-caused global warming to a 1.5 degree Celsius increase in temperature, beyond which planetary conditions will become catastrophic.⁶ Numerous climate scientists believe that we have already depleted this budget.⁷ Scientific consensus is clear that waiting until 2050 to reach net zero emissions will be too late to avoid widespread climate and social breakdown. This breakdown will result in global famines, water shortages, increased transmission of disease, worsening wildfires, more frequent and deadly heat waves and weather events, flooding from rising sea levels, and mass climate migrations which expose already vulnerable populations to human rights abuses.⁸

For more information about Extinction Rebellion Boston, including upcoming actions, please visit: xrboston.org


  1. Full text of Article 34, the group’s Climate and Ecological Emergency resolution
  2. Draft Climate Emergency Resolution
  3. UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ – United Nations Sustainable Development
  4. Emergency Everywhere Campaign across Massachusetts
  5. “Despite pandemic shutdowns, carbon dioxide and methane surged in 2020”, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, April 7, 2021
  6. IPCC, “Global Warming of 1.5 Celsius - Special Report”
  7. Analysis: How much ‘carbon budget’ is left to limit global warming to 1.5C?
  8. CBS, “Human civilization faces "existential risk" by 2050 according to new Australian climate change report”

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