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BUW CEO Presents at Climate Conference
03:19PM / Thursday, October 19, 2023
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Thomas Bernard speaks at the Climate Beacon Project.
BOSTON — Berkshire United Way's President and CEO Thomas Bernard spoke at the Climate Beacon Project last week. 
The project held its inaugural conference at the New England Aquarium over Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 10-11, as an opportunity to share ideas across sectors, establish a shared knowledge base, and celebrate proven, scalable solutions at home and around the world. 
Bernard took part in the "Building More Resilient Communities: Voices Across the Commonwealth" session. 
The discussion included experts from across the commonwealth who shared some of the most innovative work happening in towns and cities throughout Massachusetts. Bernard, who previously served as mayor of the city of North Adams, presented on the past, present and possible future of the Hoosic River and the city's flood control infrastructure. 
The 70-year-old concrete chutes have been deteriorating for years, raising concerns about how the city will manage flooding in the light of frequent and more intense rainstorms. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has embarked on a three-year feasibility study in partnership with the city and the Hoosic River Revival to envision a safe and more ecologically friendly solution. 
"It was a true privilege to be part of this powerful group of experts who highlighted public health, the built environment, transit
 access, and environmental justice, among other topics," said Bernard. "I was inspired by how central discussions of equity were in every conference session because equity — including regional equity — is something that is a core commitment and focus of our work at Berkshire United Way. 
"The need and the challenge moving forward is to focus the innovation and resilience that is the hallmark of people in
 North Adams and the Berkshires toward updating our infrastructure with the dual goal to protect the lives, property, and the well-being of the community as well as to ensure the creative, adaptive, and equitable renovation and restoration of our built environment."
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