Climate Change in Western Massachusetts
The climate of Western Massachusetts is already changing—and with it, our natural lands, waters, and wildlife. These changes are affecting our health, the nature we love, and the natural resources on which we depend.
But despite these challenges, we currently have the capacity to protect the natural resources of Massachusetts for future generations of people and wildlife.
Key Impacts in the Pioneer Valley
Higher Temperatures & Shorter Winter
Average temperatures have warmed by 2.8°F since 1895, faster than the national and global rates. The growing season—or alternatively, the freeze-free season—is 10 days longer now than in the past. This affects crops and local plants and animals that are not adapted for a warmer environment. Read More >
Changing Precipitation & Less Snow Cover
Snow cover is declining in the region. In Western Massachusetts, we could see winters without substantial snow cover by the end of the century. This means a decrease in the water table which relies on snowpack to replenish it. In addition, our strongest storms are more frequent and more intense, delivering 71% more precipitation since 1958. This means more flooding with rain coming in big bursts instead of in staggered, manageable amounts. It also means more droughts between storms. Read More >
Threat to Public Health
It’s also a danger to human health with increased instances of heat stroke as well as more insects and the diseases they carry such as West Nile or Lyme. Read More >
Key Actions to Address Climate Change
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
- Make the Switch: Switching to renewable energy on your monthly bill through Make the Switch or installing solar panels on your roof.
- Commit to Car-Free Days: Walk, bike, carpool, or use public transit just one day per week
- Eat Less Meat, More Veggies: About half of the carbon footprint of the average American diet comes from meat.
Protect Natural Lands & Waters
- Support Land Trusts: Massachusetts is home to hundreds of local land trusts that protect critical areas threatened by climate change.
- Plant Trees: Trees sequester carbon, absorb rainwater from heavy storms, and provide shade on extremely hot days.
- Garden for Wildlife: Help relieve stress on birds and pollinators when you provide them with native plants in your own yard.