The hearing last week about Vineyard Wind’s offshore cables at the Edgartown Conservation Commission was heartbreaking. Heartbreaking if you were a fisherman who felt your livelihood is being threatened, and heartbreaking if you are worried about the future of this planet in the face of climate change. And finally, heartbreaking as a community divided amid the greatest challenge humans have ever faced. Life on earth and the oceans as we have known them is changing.

We all impact the health of the earth: by the choice of food we eat and what it has taken to make that food available to us; by our use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling our homes (and second homes), by our increasing thirst for electricity for computers, TVs and much more; by our use of transportation whether to drive a car or large truck, fly on a plane or take a motorized boat out into the ocean; by our never-ending desire for things which consume huge amounts of resources and create mountains of waste. Humans are damaging to the planet. But as Bill McKibben says in his latest book Falter, we can destroy but we can also decide not to destroy.

We live on an amazingly beautiful Island on a planet also so beautiful and amazing. We need to recognize that and start to give back. It is time to decide to change our behavior not in one way but in all possible ways to save ourselves and our precious planet. We are long past the day where we can choose one thing — solar, wind, energy conservation, meatless Mondays, composting, recycling or using fewer plastic bottles to help out. We need to do all of those things and everything else we can think of. This is a time for a WPA project for the earth. If we don’t treat this as the emergency that it is, then we have chosen to end our time on earth.

Vineyard Wind’s project offers one bright, glimmer of hope on the road to responding to this emergency. It will provide clean, renewable energy to our region and pave the way for more wind farms off the shores of the United States. It is much-needed and one big step we can be proud of. This is not a time to play it safe but to embrace all ways we can to save our planet.

We are going to experience some great challenges as an Island in the years to come.

At present, it seems, we can’t see the forest for the trees. Please, let’s get beyond that, unite as an Island — of both year-round and summer residents — and rise to the challenge. Let’s do everything we can to adapt and be resilient in a changing time, do our part to help lessen the impacts of climate change on the earth and go beyond that to thrive in a changed world. That is what is being asked of us and we have to do it as one.

Kate Warner

West Tisbury