The lively discussion around water management at West Tisbury’s recent town meeting is a forecast of more difficult challenges to come as the Vineyard feels the growing impact of a changing climate.

Increasing periods of drought and uneven rain cycles are resulting in unhealthy reductions in the flow and level of the Mill Brook Watershed streams and ponds. The water management plan adopted at the meeting will enable the town to monitor and in some cases limit the timing and amount of water withdrawn by farmers, landscapers, private landowners, and others who rely on this water for their business and livelihood.

The clash between business and environmental interests will only grow more pointed as greenhouse gas emissions, polar icecap melting, and ocean warming continue. Readers may be interested to know about two local organizations working to alleviate the severity and impact of a changing climate on Martha’s Vineyard.

ICAN (Island Climate Action Network) is an association of many Island environmentally-oriented nonprofits and other citizens committed to reducing and managing the effects of climate change. Our agenda is to build awareness of the issues, encourage fulfillment of existing emergency preparedness and mitigation efforts, and promote such measures as energy efficiency, regenerative land care, and zoning adapted to rising waters. (For information, write

Elders Climate Action is our state chapter of the national organization that engages elders in promoting awareness of climate change and mitigating its impact. Elders are figuratively grandparents who see the future of their grandchildren endangered by climate change, but in reality anyone who cares deeply about preserving our Island and planet for future generations. (See

I encourage readers to learn more about ICAN and ECA and to get involved in the work to sustain our Island environment and climate for a livable future.

Hunter Moorman

West Tisbury