The days are getting longer, the sun stronger and it feels like a corner has been turned. It is also the time for a lesser known, but no less important, seasonal occurrence. Now is the time of year when nomination papers are available from Town Clerk offices for spring municipal elections.

I can almost hear you thinking, “What’s the big deal about that?” In a lot of towns candidates for important elective office run unopposed and many incumbents run without serious challenge. If you think that all is well in your town, then you probably aren’t alarmed. But if you have wished your town did more to address its water quality issues, protected more open space, had a more thoughtful approach to balancing housing and environmental issues, was more aggressive adapting to climate change challenges, invested more in energy efficiency or did more to promote recycling, you need to realize that it’s the people who take out papers and get elected are the ones responsible for these issues. What happens in your town, and how it views it’s role in environmental protection, largely gets decided now by who takes out nomination papers to run for selectman, town council and planning board.

One of the most significant things you can do to improve the environmental performance of your town is to make sure that people who prioritize the environment run for office in your town. Maybe the right person is someone you know who needs a little encouragement and support to take that next step. Maybe you are the person who should be stepping forward and running this year.

Rarely does anything good happen by accident. It takes work, attention and commitment for environmental improvement to come to your town. Now is the time to take the necessary step to make sure that the people in municipal decision making positions understand and value environmental protection. The future gets decided now, you can help decide if your town will help lead.