LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – This past week we’ve seen unhealthy air quality in our area, caused from wild fires in Canada, and Friday the town of Longmeadow looking to create conversation and action when it comes to this urgent issue.

As the wildfire smoke from Canada begins to slowly clear over western Massachusetts, a conversation is being sparked by climate change concerns. The town of Longmeadow, creating an initiative to give residents a voice on solutions to address the issue, which after a week of unhealthy air quality, seems more urgent now than ever.

Town Manager, Lyn Simmons, telling 22News, “We heard climate change perspectives from a varying group of residents, to hear how climate change is affecting them here in western mass, what they want to do about it, what can we do about it, some areas we need to improve more.”

Town officials say that Longmeadow has seen an increase in challenges related to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. One activist, Shyla Ruiz Kachwah, telling 22News that the smoke from the wildfires was just another example of how quickly climate change can impact a community.

“I want to have a future, and I want my children to have a future and youth should be involved in climate change because this is affecting us now and people don’t realize that,” Kachwah says. And while addressing this urgent issue may seem overwhelming, experts say you can do your part to a make a difference for the environment.

“Even in your own home you can really start reducing your energy use, make significant changes, improve your own utility bills and then improve the environment. It starts first with understanding what you can do,” says Energy and Sustainability Committee Member, Andrea Chasen.

Longmeadow plans to continue to gather information from residents, which will impact their plans to address climate change in the town over the next decade.