By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – If it is a Friday morning during rush hour, long-time Shrewsbury resident Diane Jones, 61, and her fellow climate change activist Mike Mallary, 74, from Sterling, will be on the Town Common in Shrewsbury between 7:30 and 9 a.m. holding signs to fight against climate change.
Support for their cause was strong on Nov. 8, arguably the first frigid morning of the season, as people waved, honked their horns and gave the thumbs up as they drove by.
“One of the important things about Sterling is its electricity is two-thirds carbon free because it is one-third nuclear, one-third renewable and one-third natural gas,” noted Mallary. “In my Chevy Volt, plug-in hybrid, I get the carbon equivalent of 330 miles per gallon when I’m on their electricity.”
When asked how she got interested and involved in environmentalism, Jones said, “My mother started telling me about climate change in 1970 so it’s been almost all my life.”
The duo began standing out on Fridays about a month and a half ago. Inspired by the teenage global climate change warrior, Greta Thunberg, they have set about making change right here in Shrewsbury by adopting Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” movement.
“I am self-employed and it dawned on me, if I’m self-employed, I can give myself time in the morning to come here on a Friday and stand here forever,” Jones said. “I can just do it for the rest of my life if I want to. I don’t care what the weather is, I don’t care at all. I’ll be here.”
An acupuncturist in Northborough, Jones also enjoys planting trees. She consistently encourages people she comes in contact with to plant a tree.
“This is an existential threat, not just for human beings but for every living form on the planet and we need to vote in leaders who will dedicate themselves to working on the climate,” Jones said. “The only way that human culture changes is when human culture changes! We have to do it and start it.”
When asked if they would welcome others to come and join them, Mallary said, “Absolutely, we are trying to raise awareness.We are seeing a big change in the time that we’ve been here. We are seeing a lot more toots and a lot more waves and smiles. People are becoming aware of our presence and they are responding positively.”
Mallary has been giving talks on climate change for the past 15 years. He has a series of videos of his talks which are available by emailing him at [email protected].