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Mayoral candidates should make climate resilience a priority

Frontage Road and Widett Circle, looking toward downtown Boston, July 2014. .
Frontage Road and Widett Circle, looking toward downtown Boston, July 2014. .David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Thank you to columnist Adrian Walker for highlighting the importance of looking critically at mayoral candidates’ platforms on climate change (”The campaign and climate,” Metro, Aug. 11). It is imperative that mayoral candidates are asked not only about reducing dependence on fossil fuels but also adapting to the impacts we cannot avoid, no matter how quickly we transition to clean energy. If Hurricane Sandy had hit Boston at high tide, we would have experienced our own Katrina. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when that next big storm is coming.

One-sixth of Boston is built on fill, and the water is coming back to claim that filled land. Why is climate resilience still a voluntary checklist for new construction in Boston? Why do residents have to fight to prevent the destruction of what remaining tree canopy we have, when trees clean the air and cool our urban neighborhoods? Why is the city considering allowing a new Amazon distribution center at Widett Circle, one of the lowest-lying areas of Boston, which already floods regularly? The Charles River Watershed Association has urged city leaders to build a constructed wetland there, which would not only create a wonderful natural amenity for area residents but could also hold in billions of gallons of stormwater and protect areas of Dorchester, Roxbury, and the South End from dangerous flooding.


Emily Norton

Executive director, Charles River Watershed Association