Showing posts from October, 2017

Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen

Hidden in the Uphams Corner neighborhood of Boston, there is an oft-ignored old “comfort station,” a boarded-up former public restroom in a century-old Mission-style structure. Enter an entrepreneur who wants to restore the building and open the  Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen , a combination bike shop and cafe. He’s going to need help with renovation, Historic Boston has stepped in to buy the comfort station from the city for a nominal fee, managing the renovation and leasing it to Sip & Spoke. Today, I supported Sip & Spoke on National Geographic’s Partners in Preservation campaign. With enough support from the public, the project will receive grants from National Geographic to kickstart the renovation.

He for She

The public disclosure of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predation has led to a torrent of disclosures about sexual harassment in all corners of entertainment, politics, boardrooms and other domains of our lives. In a  sense, it’s not that surprising, because it’s long been thought the norm in those circles. But its prevalence is still saddening to stare at in the face. Today, I made a commitment to UN Women’s He for She campaign, its solidarity movement for gender equality. UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. He for She makes clear that the fight for gender equality is not a movement of women for women, but rather of all people for women.

Somerville Mayoral debate

Somerville’s mayor, Joe Curtatone, is facing a challenge in an election next Tuesday. And the challenge is coming from his left, from a union rep named Payton Corbett. Today, I watched a recording from their debate on October 23. They both came out punching and addressing each other in ways that you just don’t see in presidential elections. Worth a watch.

Poppy Appeal

I landed in London this morning wanting to do something local. As it happens, the annual Poppy Appeal put on by the Royal British Legion launched two days ago. The Poppy Appeal is a fundraiser for British veterans and families of British soldiers killed in combat. Today, I gave to the Poppy Appeal and pinned a Poppy to my suit jacket.

Arts Matter Day

Today, I took part in Arts Matter Day , an annual campaign run by the Mass Creative Council to celebrate the importance of the arts. I helped to amplify the campaign’s messages through social media, modestly, with a couple of tweets and engaging with a few organizations on twitter. It’s not much, but #ArtsMatterDay is trending #1 on twitter right now, so someone must be paying attention.

One America Appeal

I’ve made several small donations for Hurricane relief, in Houston and Puerto Rico. I’ll never be able to give enough to make a real difference. But I can’t not stay involved. Today, I donated to the One America Appeal for Hurricane Relief. This is the campaign that is supported by former Presidents Carter, Bush (pere), Clinton, Bush (fils) and Obama. And the proceeds will support efforts to recover from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria – Texas, Florida and the Caribbean.

Monthly Community Cooks dinner

Today, I cooked a dish again for Community Cooks, as part of a Workbar team.   Community Cooks  is an agency that partners with human services agencies and connects them with people who can cook meals for them. Volunteers get together in teams to make home cooked meals, which are then distributed by Community Cooks to human services agencies. This is our second month in action. I was signed “dessert or fruit salad.” So I made a big batch of brownies for 20 people. But I felt bad about all that processed sugar so I also made a fruit salad with pineapple, mango, blueberries and raspberries, finished with a maple syrup, citrus and mint sauce.

Connecting the Dots: Russia and the So-Called Alt Right

Today, I listed to another really fascinating Factual Democracy Project talk on Russia’s connection to the alt-right.  Russia’s influence across Europe and the US in fomenting both the alt-left and the alt-right movements goes back a long way, but picked up after Putin’s return to power. The result speaks for itself, despite the strange bedfellows coming together between, say, the Christian right and alt-right. It comes down to marginalized populations looking for allies and the tactics that bring them together around a common enemy. Bonus. Today, I also went to a movie screening organized by Green Cambridge, Fossil Fuel Somerville and some other usual suspects. We saw The Last Mountain , about the fight against mountaintop coal mining in West Virginia. Mountaintop mining is basically blasting the top off a mountain, literally, then removing a layer of coal, then blasting off another layer of coal, rinse and repeat. It’s a particularly damaging kind of coal mining to environments and

Programming for 2018

Today, I led a programming call for the Conscious Capitalism Boston chapter. I think we came up with an interesting plan for 2018, with a variety of different events for different kinds of participants. And we think we can pull it off with our current people power. We have a few details to work out, but I think a plan is coming together.

Conscious Capitalism Boston - programming planning

Today, I did some planning work in advance of a call I’m chairing for the programming committee of the Conscious Capitalism Boston chapter. We’ve got to get our act in gear for 2018. I know it’s a rather banal post, but I did have to apply some thinking into a deck to structure the conversation tomorrow. More to come…

North Bay Fire Relief

Natural disasters are having a banner year in the US. Three hurricanes have ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, among others. And the wildfires in California have wrecked both the north and the south, but particularly Sonoma and Napa counties. I know the regions are known for posh wineries but you have to understand that the city of Santa Rosa is basically gone. That’s a city of 175,000 people. Today, I donated to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund , operated by Redwood Community Credit Fund, which will distribute relief among four Northern California counties.

Citizens Climate Lobby

Today, I listened to a briefing call for Citizens Climate Lobby , an advocacy organization that is focused on putting political pressure on getting carbon pricing implemented. Carbon prices are probably the only way to really get to systemic change on emissions reductions. Their “carbon fee and dividend” idea is a simple approach with three legs: a rising price on carbon emissions, a per capita dividend returning 100% of those fees to citizens, and a border adjustment to assess tariffs on imports from non-carbon pricing countries. I need to study it a bit more, but it seems like something I can get behind.

Public transit!

I’m a big believer in public transit, not just in Boston where I live, but also wherever I travel. But public transit requires public support. Today, I signed a petition to petition Congress to fully resource public transit nationwide.

John Bell for Virginia delegate

Today, I joined with a Sister District campaign in Massachusetts to help re-elect John Bell for Virginia delegate. We wrote postcards to registered Democrats whose attendance at the polls is in question. We had a group of about 17 people show up, writing maybe 300 postcards.


Today, I went to the City of Somerville’s ResiStat meeting for my ward. This is the semi-annual presentation by the city on progress toward the city’s SomerVision goals, on economic development, affordable housing, jobs, green space, transportation and climate. Good to see how everything fits together, but it’s clear that affordable housing is the citizenry’s biggest concern.

Climate Coalition of Somerville meeting with State Rep. Provost

We’re lucky in Somerville to be represented by individuals who stand behind progressive approaches to addressing climate change. Today, the Climate Coalition of Somerville had a 2.5 hour meeting with State Representative Denise Provost. Rep. Provost engaged in a lengthy discussion about the ins and outs of the current state legislature and the likelihood of a few specific climate-related bills passing (ahem, carbon pricing). We also went into details about the relationship between the city and a few state agencies, notably DPU, which regulates utilities, and DCR, which operates parks and open space. It was long and far-reaching dialogue and very helpful in planning. [ Edit: The meeting took place on October 16, although I’m posting this on October 17. It’s hard to post same-day after evening meetings. ]

Girls Rock Campaign

Girls Rock Campaign Boston is a cool program that empowers girls through music education. Rock on. Today, I donated to Girls Rock through this Flutter campaign. Truth be told, the Flutter campaign gives me a chance to brew for a day with the Slumbrew Brewing team. How awesome is that!

Family Reach - for families affected by cancer

A child’s cancer diagnosis is emotionally devastating. It also takes a financial toll on families: Household income tends to drop dramatically as working parents turn into caregivers. Medical bills pile up, but so do the bills from everyday life, from mortgage and utilities, to gas and groceries. Today, I attended a fundraiser for  Family Reach , a non-profit that financially supports families that are dealing with cancer, mostly suffered by children. Half of the families they serve have a post-diagnosis income of less than $24,250; one-third are single-parent households. You can see their impact here . [ Edit: The fundraiser was October 14, although I’m posting this on October 15. ]

More on Conscious Capitalism

Today, I spent two hours on a conference call with other Conscious Capitalism Boston chapter committee chairs discussing our plans for 2018. Can’t go into a whole lot more detail, but things are beginning to coalesce in a meaningful way.

With Drawn Arms (Tommie Smith)

Every once in awhile, athletic competition transcends entertainment value and reaches a level of broad social importance. Think of ping pong diplomacy of the early 1970s, for example.  More recently, Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest in support of Black Lives Matter has become a national issue. Then there’s the 1968 Summer Olympics. Tommie Smith won the gold medal in the 200m event and as he stood on the medal stand, he raised one fist in a Black Power salute to protest discrimination against African-Americans in the United States. He (and two other athletes) faced consequences at the time, including immediate removal from the US Olympic team. Yet, the moment endures as a symbolic moment in the history of the Black Power movement, one that has gained social acceptance in the decades since. Today, I donated to a Kickstarter project called “ With Drawn Arms, ” which seeks to memorialize Tommie Smith through a traveling art exhibition, that brings opportunities for youth to learn to dra

Somerville Commission on Energy and Climate monthly meeting

Today, I attended the monthly Somerville Commission on Energy and Climate meeting. The city is embarking on a really interesting project to explore using internal carbon pricing. Really interesting, at least to me.

Social Media Heads to Washington

Today, I sat in on my first Factual Democracy call, on Social Media Heads to Washington. Factual Democracy is a fascinating effort to, as they put it, pioneer a multi-disciplinary response to internet weaponization. With conference calls, as the Kickstarter I supported a couple months ago made clear. This call was about, well, I’ll let let them tell the story: Tech companies are on the hot seat both for allowing Russia to target American voters on their platforms, and for continuing to allow fake news created by hostile actors to thrive on their platforms. The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a public hearing On November 1 and has invited Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify. In advance of this hearing Factual Democracy Project’s next call will explore why our social media companies are so easily exploited, what Americans (regardless of political affiliation) expect tech companies to do about it, and how we can make our voices heard before the Senate Intelligence Commi

Food waste

Roughly one third of the food produced in the world gets lost or wasted every year. That’s 1.3 billion tons of food. Developed countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons), all according to the Food and Agriculture Organization . We can’t solve hunger in Africa by being more productive with our food back home. But we can address food insecurity back home. Over 8 million people are considered to be living in poverty in the UK, for example. Today, I backed a Kickstarter project called the Nifties , which is a “social supermarket” in London, with a track record: “Customers struggling to make ends meet – and who can’t or don’t want to go to food banks – can buy goods at a discounted price, due to them being damaged or close to their sell-by date. … To date we’ve prevented 1,500 tons of food waste since July 2016, have fed 32,000 people and helped with humanitarian issues such as Grenfell Tower.”

Travel offsets - October 2017

I’m on my way back from a long business trip, to London and Paris. Today, I bought more carbon offsets to cover this travel, with my usual combination of this calculator and TerraPass .


Today, I visited the Bataclan, in Paris, to pay tribute to the victims of the horrific terrorist  tragedy nearly two years ago. I was surprised, pleasantly, that the site has a certain normalcy to it, and only a small plaque out front. Moving on is good, but never forget.


Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. In a move guaranteed to generate an instant lawsuit, the White House is trying to roll back the requirement for federally funded health care to guarantee the right to abortion. The rule must go through a public comment period. Today, I supported an ACLU campaign to fight that proposal through a comment to the Department of Health and Human Services. Lawsuit is next.

Kiva loan to a Michigan farmer

Today, I made another Kiva loan , this time to a young farmer in Michigan. I like his story and want more smallholders to have a chance. Good luck, kid.

Planning for Conscious Capitalism

Today, I spent a modest amount of time planning our next Conscious Capitalism Boston chapter event. It wasn’t much, but I’m traveling for business and time is super tight.

Kiva loan - Coty Clean Care

It’s an encouraging sign that one my first two Kiva loans is starting to repay. Today, I made a new Kiva loan, this time to an entrepreneur in Kentucky, who aims to increase his hiring of refugees and those from a marginalized background to 25% of his workforce. It’s a part of the country that needs capital and a great story about hiring vulnerable populations.

Hurricane Maria relief

I made three small donations for Hurricane Harvey relief in Houston, in August and September. Houston is on the mend, although it will be a long and expensive road. The tragedy taking place in Puerto Rico, however, is still unfolding over a week after Hurricane Maria left an “ apocalyptic ” scene. There is still no power and no infrastructure across the entire island. “Sometimes we don’t know what’s going to happen until the storm actually hits,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan , who has been sent to Puerto Rico as a liaison for the military’s contribution to rebuilding. “And this is the worst I’ve ever seen.” Today, I made a donation to the  Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico fund , organized by the State of Massachusetts and the Boston Foundation. “The money gathered will be distributed for relief and reconstruction of the island of Puerto Rico and to respond to the substantial migration of Puerto Ricans who will arrive in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth in the months ahead.”

Type 1 diabetes

Diabetes sucks. While type 2 diabetics can treat themselves with diet, exercise and medication, because of insulin resistance, type 1 diabetes is more severe. Those afflicted face an incurable autoimmune disease, not a lifestyle disease, for life. Only about 10% face this this prospect. Today, I donated to my friend Kate’s fundraiser , for Beyond Type 1. Her daughter was diagnosed at a very young age with type 1 diabetes and will be managing it her whole life.