Showing posts from February, 2019

Pricing Pollution working group

Today, I joined a conference call convened by the Climate Reality Project. Specifically, the call covered the organization’s Pricing Pollution working group, which is its campaign to put a price on carbon.

Stay Angry in 2019

The Angry Asian Man blog keeps me up-to-date in how the Asian American experience is changing. Or not. The website and social presence is a go-to resource for me. Today, I made a donation to the Stay Angry subscriber drive for 2019.

Starting a Somerville sustainability forum

A few folks in Somerville have been talking about starting a sustainability forum, so neighbors can share thoughts and suggestions about their sustainability journeys. We couldn’t decide on a platform though. Facebook? Google Group? Dreamwidth? Reddit? Nothing seems ideally suited. So we’ve decide to try a couple different ideas and see where they go. Today, I posted on Next Door with the Sustainability tag , to see if I could get some conversation going there.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Guide dogs are an important way to enrich the daily lives of people with vision loss. Guiding Eyes for the Blind breeds, raises and trains dogs to perform to be those companions, free of charge. Today, I donated to Guiding Eyes for the Blind . One reason I gave is that its headquarters and training center is right down the street from where I grew up, in Yorktown Heights, New York, where I happen to be staying this week. It was in that location when I was growing up and it’s still there.

Your Stake

The invention of the joint stock company (notably the Dutch East India company in the 17th century) was credited with setting off a revolution in capitalism, accelerating the allocation of capital to companies so they could provide goods and services needed by the public, and, presumably, enrich the populace’s wellbeing. It hasn’t always turned out that way, of course. One reason is what academics call an “agency problem” — the managers of a company are in position to maximize their own welfare over the welfare of shareholders, not to mention the public. Shareholders’ power is diffuse, manifesting principally in a board of directors that is often under the sway of management. Today, I took a step to boosting my own rights as a shareholder, by connecting my retirement accounts to Your Stake . Your Stake aims to turn every investor into an activist investor, giving individuals the power to start and publicize shareholder resolutions (on issues such as the environment, human rights and a

Somerville Sustainability Tour marketing

The Somerville Sustainability Tour is coming together and now it’s time to shift from brainstorming and planning, to execution. Today, I drafted some marketing copy for the Somerville Sustainability Tour, to be used by the city in its outreach but also on our own Eventbrite page.

Somerville Community Land Trust

Affordable housing is the issue of our times in Somerville. (Well, that and climate change, of course.) and there’s clearly no magic bullet for solving the affordable housing crisis in the city and region. But there are tools we can use. One tool is a community land trust, which is formed to acquire property under the direction of a community board and to act as a benevolent non-profit landlord. Today, I donated to the nascent effort to form a Somerville Community Land Trust , which emerged after an extensive working group research project. If it manages to get off the ground, expect to see another donation.

The Global Climate Refugee and Migration Crisis

Too often, climate change is associated with the direct effects of natural disasters. But the effects of a changing climate are disruptive in many other ways, such as public health and food systems. These disruptions have devastating effects on population centers. Today, I attended a webinar on the “Global Climate Refugee and Migration Crisis,” which discussed how climate change and environmental degradation has contributed to  migration and insecurity in the world. Expect more.

Build Bridges Not Walls

Today, I attended another rally opposing the manufactured narrative of a “national emergency” in order to secure funding to build a border wall. This one, hosted by Somerville’s Welcome Project , was in my neighborhood. Our Mayor spoke, as well as our state representatives, and our newly elected representative in Congress, Ayanna Pressley.

An Inconvenient Act: How you can be a part of the climate crisis solution

Today, I gave a presentation to Conscious Capitalism Boston about how companies can take actions to address climate change. The talk was my adaption of the Climate Reality Project presentation and also built on some elements of my Greenovate Boston training , thus bringing together several organizations I’ve gotten involved with over the past two years.

National emergency?

When can a President invoke a national emergency to free up billions in funding for a project that Congress, which holds the power of the purse, has refused to fund? Only at times when national security is at risk.  And this is quite clearly not one of those times. Today, I joined a President’s Day rally, in front of the JFK federal building in downtown Boston, to protest a presidential over-reach that will surely be stopped by the courts in due course.

Carbon offsets for Puerto Rico

I got back from vacation in Puerto Rico two nights ago. Today, as I always do after airplane flights, I bought carbon credits at TerraPass to offset the emissions of my air travel. This visual is a good reminder about our lifestyle choices and their impact on emissions.

Somerville Community Summit

It feels like Somerville is becoming a news desert, a place where there is not enough news reporting to maintain an informed citizenry. Whether it’s happenings across the city, investigative deep dives or just “heroes among us” stories, it’s hard to find a reliable source for all the news that’s fit to print in the city. I’m not the only one who feels that way. Today, I attended the Somerville Community Summit , an event organized by the Somerville Media Center , the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and DigBoston . The event brought a dozen or so journalists together from different outlets, and perhaps a hundred or so citizens, who the opportunity to pitch stories about what’s going on around the city. Really great event and an encouraging turnout, particularly from the journalists. There are literally like 12-16 journalists here introducing themselves and what they do, as community members take notes and think about what they’re going to pitch us. Great great idea for a summ

Librería El Ciclo cultural project

One of the great things about vacation is a chance to catch up on some reading. This week, I read finished four books. But I didn’t need to fly home with them. So I found the Libreria El Ciclo cultural project operating in a local coffee shop, and left all four books with them. It’s not a “free library” for you to leave a book and take a book. Rather, you can donate books to them by leaving them in a box on their bookshelf. But the other used books on offer are for sale. This helps to sustain the project over time.

World Central Kitchen’s Plow to Plate in Puerto Rico

World Central Kitchen recently announced a nother $2 million commitment to run its “Plow to Plate” program in Puerto Rico, where I’m currently on vacation, through 2023 . Plow to Plate supports smallholder farmers and businesses with grants, to increase food security and sustainability in Puerto Rico. It also runs an   agro-tourism volunteer program   to connect visitors with farmers and food businesses around the island. All this to continue to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. Today, I made another donation to World Central Kitchen to help with Plow to Plate. I saw several World Central Kitchen stickers around the island over the past week, as well as a few folks with World Central Kitchen shirts. I’m glad to see the continuing presence of the aid effort.

Letter to city regarding Powderhouse Blvd fatality

Somerville is a Vision Zero City, meaning that it has committed to bring fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic down to zero. Notably, that involves pedestrians. Unfortunately, a long-time resident was struck and killed by a car Friday evening, in a hit and run just a few blocks from my house, in front of a school. The driver has yet to be caught. Today, I co-signed a letter to the Mayor, along with a large number of pedestrian advocates, demanding that the city take substantive action to improve pedestrian safety Not just on that problematic road but throughout the city. You can read the letter here .

Letter to the Washington Post

Today, I wrote a letter to the Washington Post , in response to an opinion piece about the Green New Deal. I’m not sure how likely the Post is to publish it, but it was worth getting my opinion across to them anyway.

Puerto Rico recovery

Hurricane Maria was a year and a half ago. It was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane in 15 years. Much of Puerto Rico is still trying to recover. We’re on vacation this week and chose to come to Puerto Rico specifically to direct our tourist dollars where they’ll do some good, too. To be sure, this isn’t a service trip. But we’ll try to do so simple things to support local businesses. Like the barber shop I visited in San Juan today, instead of getting my hair cut back in Somerville before I got on a plane. Today, I also made a donation to a Hurricane Relief fund operated by All Hearts and Hands , which arranges service trips for people to help with recovery.

Reef Relief

I’m on vacation this week. I’ll hopefully be offline most of the time, spending time on the beach. In case you missed it, though, how we beach is important to the sustainability of the beach. Case in point: our sunscreens have become very sophisticated in terms of skin protection. But they’re actually damaging to coral reefs. That’s why places like Hawaii and Key West have banned the use of sunscreens that contain several of the worst chemicals. That covers most commercial sunscreens. Today, I made sure to buy reef safe sunscreen. And I also made a donation to Reef Relief , which is working to protect the world’s reef ecosystems.

Net Impact Boston Summit

Today, I attended the Net Impact Boston Impact Summit . Actually, I missed most of the official programming, because I was tabling for Conscious Capitalism Boston. And I met a whole host of folks interested in getting involved with responsible businesses in some capacity. It’s an encouraging trend.

Conscious Conversations

Today, I ironed out a number of upcoming talks for Conscious Capitalism Boston. We’re planning some interesting stories, from academic explorations of governance and cooperative businesses, to real-life experiences of business leaders who run companies with a conscience, to a discussion about Market Basket and its amazing connection with both workers and shoppers. There’s a good chance all of those talks are going to work out so I’m looking forward to the series this year.

Somerville Climate Forward updates

Today, I attended a meeting on invitation of the Somerville City Council president with the city’s Planning director and sustainability department to talk through action items on the Somerville Climate Forward plan. I also attended a separate meeting to talk about the community building action item in the climate action plan.

Sustainability tour planning

Today, I attended another two-hour meeting to talk about the Somerville Sustainability Tour. It’s getting very real! And we have a deadline to get some details locked down by the end of the month.

Board of Building Regulation and Standards

The Board of Building Regulation and Standards (BBRS) is the state standards body that defines the building code. Given that buildings are a majority of carbon emissions, the building code is singularly placed to influence emissions in the future. Today, I attended a meeting with the Massachusetts Climate Action Network to talk about several building code initiatives in motion right now.

Climate talk preparation

Some times, my worlds collide. Today, I spent a few hours working on a presentation that I’m giving in two weeks for Conscious Capitalism Boston. It’ll be a localized and business oriented version of the Climate Reality Project talk that I’ve given three times now.

Climate Coalition survey

We’re in the planning stages for the Climate Coalition of Somerville’s 2019 activities. Today, I drafted, reviewed and programmed a survey for coalition members, so we can get a sense for how people see our priorities in 2019.

Buy Nothing training

The Buy Nothing project , for whom I’m a volunteer with admin with Buy Nothing Somerville, is changing things up a bit and giving more independence to local groups. But first, they’re asking everyone to go through a training course. Today, I took the Buy Nothing training as a refresher and to put myself at the same starting point as the new co-admins that I’ve onboarded over the past week.

What Is Democracy?

Today, I attended a screening and a Q&A with Astra Taylor, the film-maker, of What Is Democracy? , a documentary. It’s a hard question to answer and the movie takes a thoughtful approach to exploring the inherent paradoxes of democracy and how that plays out with real people. As Cornel West explains in the movie, “Plato’s Republic provides the most powerful indictment of not just democratic practices but the possibility of democracy.” It will ultimately end with tyranny, Plato thought. And that’s a challenge that democracy must continually face.