2023 Current Issue

Climate Change in Your Community

The well-being of Massachusetts’ communities depends on healthy natural systems. Climate change is already causing ecological, economic, and social disruptions.  But climate change also poses an unprecedented opportunity to create social, economic, technological, and cultural changes that support a more sustainable, healthy, and equitable future for our state. 

The scale of climate change effects in Massachusetts will depend on how quickly we can mitigate (reduce) heat-trapping gas emissions from burning fossil fuels both locally and globally, as well as how effectively we plan to make our communities and our ecosystems more resilient. The good news is that there are many ways – large and small – that people in Massachusetts can work together to reduce the negative effects of climate change. The best solutions have multiple benefits, in that they both conserve and protect natural resources AND increase job opportunities, equity, and well-being in our communities. Numerous people and organizations are already taking action at the local and statewide level across Massachusetts. 

Envirothon teams will research how their communities can better address climate change by:

  1. Exploring their local natural resources to identify the ecosystem services they rely upon, and the assets and vulnerabilities of those ecosystems, while assessing specific threats to people and nature in their towns or cities.
  2. Discovering mitigation (preventing climate change) and adaptation (dealing with the effects of climate change) strategies that their cities and towns are already implementing. This should include finding out who has the power to make these decisions and who is being left out of the conversation.
  3. Crafting a proposal for the highest priority action their community should take to address climate change, and what specific next steps will be required to make it happen. This plan can consist of amplifying the work of an existing group, implementing innovative technologies, nature-based solutions, economic reforms, new legislation or bylaws, cultural events, and/or community programs to conserve natural systems and create a healthy, equitable, and safe future for all of us.

There are so many resources listed here for you to check out! What areas of climate change are you most interested in learning about? Here are some important documents to explore:

How will teams present their findings?

The 2023 Mass Envirothon competition will be in-person

Every team makes a Current Issue presentation. Everyone on your team must be involved in making the presentation.

The Current Issue presentation score is 20% of your team’s total Envirothon score.

You will make your presentation to a panel of six to ten judges.  The judges’ job is to listen, ask good questions, assess your work, and give you feedback on your research, your recommendations, and your presentation. 

Your coach will be able to observe but not participate.

You have 15 minutes for your presentation, followed by a 10 minute period when the judges can ask questions.

Six of the judges will be designated to give your team a number score. The average of their scores will be your Current Issue score for the competition. All the judges are asked to give you helpful comments. Copies of their score and review sheets are sent to your coach.