Climate expert to speak at All Souls Church in Greenfield




Staff Writer

Published: 04-04-2024 12:58 PM

Modified: 04-04-2024 1:04 PM

GREENFIELD — William Moomaw is accustomed to giving lectures on the effects of climate change, but not from the pulpit of a place of worship.

That is set to change on Sunday morning, when the retired Tufts University professor will visit Greenfield to speak at All Souls Church about the importance of forest preservation and the need for swift climate action. His talk, which will begin at 10:30 a.m., is titled “Can Forests Protect Our Sacred Earth?”

“Plants on land, primarily in forests, are removing almost 30% of carbon emissions, and oceans are removing another 25%, so nature has cut our carbon emissions [in] half, and yet we still keep abusing nature,” Moomaw said.

Moomaw has been working on climate issues since 1988 and said the federal government, and the United States as a whole, is far behind its goal President Joe Biden set with an executive order to make it carbon-neutral by 2050.

“We used to have more time. We have less time now,” he said. “We’re not making our goals.”

Moomaw said planting new trees is “a wonderful thing to do,” but saving old forests is the best way to combat climate change, as they tend to store more carbon than younger forests.

The Williamstown resident was a professor of international environmental policy and director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy within The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts. He was the lead author for five Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

Bart Bouricius, a Wendell State Forest Alliance member who works closely with various scientists on climate change issues, recruited Moomaw to speak in Greenfield.

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“He does lots of valuable work,” he said.

Bouricius said Moomaw is one of the scientists that coined the term “proforestation,” which refers to enabling the continuous, uninterrupted growth of forests. He said reforestation, the restocking of existing forests and woodlands, and the establishment of new forests cannot do enough to stop climate change.

“It’s not like [a forest] happens overnight,” he said.

For those who can’t attend the free talk in person, it will be livestreamed on the Franklin County UUs YouTube page.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-930-4120.