Showing posts from March, 2019

Unrig Summit, day three

Today, I attended the last day of the Unrig Summit . There were some interesting “down to brass tacks” workshops I took part in. Plus, a controversial fireside chat with Howard Schultz, the Starbucks chair who is on the precipice of running for president as an independent. He didn’t get a very warm welcome, which punctuated the fact that the general mindset of the conference is not quite as bipartisan as the organizers like to say.

Unrig Summit, day two

Today, I attended day two of the Unrig Summit in Nashville. It was a long day of sessions, running into the night. There was a great morning plenary featuring six people who led successful campaigns to stop gerrymandering in Michigan and Utah, re-enfranchise Floridians, close the revolving door between lawmakers and lobbyists in Missouri, pass anti-corruption reform in North Dakota and pass ranked choice voting in Maine. Plus, there was this fantastic closing event.

Unrig Summit day one

Today, I attended the first day of the Unrig Summit , in Nashville. Unrig is hosted by Represent.US, which is an advocacy organization pushing a bi-partisan platform of fair voting (think ranked choice voting), getting dark money out of politics, and ending gerrymandering. Here’s Jennifer Lawrence describing that platform.

Least Developed Countries Fund

Today, I took part in a conference call about driving an effort to help smaller countries respond to climate change. Actually, the effort is to get Massachusetts residents to lead in fulfilling the country’s obligations. Let me explain. Climate change is a humanitarian crisis, and it is the poor who suffer the worst of the devastation. That’s why the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference agreed to establish the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) in 2001, to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries to better cope with natural disasters and make their societies more resilient. The United States has an obligation to provide capital to the LDCF. But it hasn’t fulfilled that obligation. So Oxfam and others have advocated for a bill in Massachusetts that would add a checkbox on tax returns to allow residents to voluntarily donate to the LDCF. No public money. Completely voluntary. A few of us in the Boston chapter Climate Reality Project are think

Rhode Island Ready

Today, I spoke on a panel in Rhode Island, called “ Rhode Island Ready! Growing Business Success with Conscious Capitalism .” Conscious Capitalism Boston partnered with a Rhode Islander to put the event on. Actually, he did all the work; all I had to do was show up and speak on the panel. And it was a great panel, with three interesting speakers from different sectors talking about different aspects of how they run their companies in a human way, with an eye toward being parts of their community.

MCAN legislative briefing

Today, I dialed into another legislative briefing from the Massachusetts Climate Action Network . I heard from two state legislators, about one bill for carbon pricing and another to require the state to create a more comprehensive long-term implementation plan for state climate action, putting people at the center. And there was an additional discussion of municipal light plants and pending legislation that might affect them.

Conscious Capitalism Programming Committee

Today, I took part in our monthly Programming Committee call for Conscious Capitalism Boston. We’re working on some interesting programs for the second quarter, telling interesting stories from leaders running conscious businesses. Getting the details locked down is another trick, but we’re getting there.

Toronto to Boston carbon offsets

I spent the weekend in Toronto. As usual when I fly, I bought carbon offsets to make up for the high carbon footprint of air travel.

Asian American Pacific Islander Democrats

Asian Americans are often ignored in politics, not only as a voting bloc, but also as candidates. But the attitude is changing. Asian America voters had a larger than expected influenc e on the mid-term elections in 2018. And Asian American candidates are beginning to emerge. In the mid-terms, 70% of candidates who ran for state legislative office won, a remarkable rate. More Asian American candidates are emerging in Massachusetts , as well. Today, I made a donation to ElectAAPI Democrats , an advocacy organization for Asian American Pacific Islander political candidates who are running for office as Democrats.

Yes on HR8

Today, I thanked my representative in Congress, Ayanna Pressley, for her Yes vote on HR8. HR8 calls for background checks on gun sales, a simple measure that would help manage the sale of firearms without curtailing the rights of stable, non-criminal Americans.

Juliana v. United States

Four years ago, 21 kids sued the U.S. government for its inaction in addressing climate change. An organization called Zero Hour is drafting a Young People’s Brief in Support of the Juliana Plaintiffs , to be filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Today, I added ny name to that amicus brief.

Environmental League of Massachusetts legislative agenda

Today, I signed a petition backing the Environmental League of Massachusetts’s legislative agenda for 2019 . There are four key bills that ELM is focusing on, plus its continued focus on raising the state’s budget for environmental agencies.

Conscious Capitalism Boston board meeting

Today, I attended a board meeting for Conscious Capitalism Boston. We approved our budget for 2019 and went over membership and programming details. A lot of good stuff planned and we’re being careful that we don’t over-commit ourselves.

Sustainability tour planning

Today, I attended another planning meeting for the Somerville Sustainability Tour. We’ve got many of the logistics locked down and need to start building our map with tour stops. Seems like a lot of people are getting excited and we’ve even had almost 30 sign-ups on our Eventbrite page.

Community Choice Electricity brief

Outside our home, we have a yard sign that tells the world, “This home is powered by 100% renewable energy.” Occasionally, we get asked about it, which is a great opportunity to tell others how they can buy clean energy. Today, I wrote a very short intro to community choice electricity aggregation, which is giving more and more cities and towns in Massachusetts the ability to buy emissions free power.

Herring Monitor training

Today, I returned to the Mystic Dam for this year’s training to count herring for the Mystic River Watershed Association. It was great to get a review of the success of the program. It’s clear the impact the fish ladder has had on the ecology of the watershed, and I’m glad to have contributed to the effort. And I’m looking forward to my weekly shift this spring and summer.

Youth Climate Strike

Greta Thunberg , a Swedish 16-year-old, began a weekly protest in front of Sweden’s parliament last year, with her modest “school strike for climate” sign. From there the movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, with students around the world taking up the cause to go on “strike” until governments take substantive action to address climate change. Today, I went on strike, too, and joined the students in Boston in front of the Massachusetts state house, demanding climate action. Youth is not wasted on all the young. #climatestrike — Larry Yu (@laryu) March 15, 2019  

The Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center

March 14 is Pi Day, which is an auspicious day for MIT alums. Admissions decisions are announced on Pi Day. It’s also a major fundraising day, with matching gifts for dozens of opportunities in a 24-hour Pi Day Challenge . Today, I made a donation to the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center. The PKG Center runs service programs for MIT students to contribute their talents and energies to solve the world’s greatest problems.  

Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change

Today, I attended the March 2019 meeting of Somerville’s Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change. Interesting agenda tonight, covering important housing programs from the city, the Commission’s engagement with the City Council, and the participation of the city in the development of state building codes, among other things.


I’m a big supporter of journalism and a free press as vital supports not only to strengthen democracy, but also to inform our civic lives. But journalism should come with a duty of care. And some erstwhile journalists, particularly among talking heads on television, clearly cross that line. Today, I signed a petition asking advertisers for Tucker Carlson to stop sponsoring his inflammatory speech. Noting his particularly misogynistic statements, the petition asks five major corporations led by female CEOs to pull their advertising dollars from his show. Here’s to hoping that Progressive Insurance, Sleep Number, General Motors, Enterprise Holdings and GSK all agree to #DropTucker.

Climate Coalition of Somerville meeting

Today, I attended the monthly meeting for the Climate Coalition of Somerville. We were a bit short-handed this evening, but covered some important ground about our activities, our priorities and our governance.

Voter Choice Education Fund

I’ve supported ranked choice voting a few times now. The opportunity to reform elections to ensure they better represent the will of the people is powerful. And apparently it’s gaining some momentum. According to Voter Choice Massachusetts , 82 state legislators have signed on to a proposed ranked choice voting bill. Today, I made a donation to the Voter Choice Education Fund , the education arm of Voter Choice Massachusetts.

Bleed for the Throne

Today, I donated a pint of blood to the American Red Cross , which I’ve never done before. I’ll admit that I was partly drawn by the Red Cross’s promotion in partnership with Game of Thrones. “Show your dedication and valor and give your blood,” they implored. And so I did.

Sustainability tour planning

Today, I had a morning conference call with our core team of organizers for the Somerville Sustainability tour. We have an Eventbrite page for it now and the city is about to publicize it. So we have to keep moving to be ready. After the call, I put up a Facebook event page and drafted some collateral for tour hosts. It’s coming together.

The Thriving Hive bee boxes

Pollinators are under stress throughout the U.S, as I learned last summer . While colony collapse disorder may be behind us, bees continue to die out at alarmingly large rates. Beekeepers need help for their charges to thrive. Today, I made a Kiva loan to The Thriving Hive , so it can ramp up production of its bee boxes.

Better buildings campaign

Today, I joined a call convened by the Massachusetts Climate Action Network on the their better buildings campaign to improve the state’s building code. I shared an update about goings-on in Somerville and also got some important questions answered about the base building code and the stretch building code.

Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism

The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism has been around for about four years. It’s a non-profit that contracts with reporters of all types to produce multimedia projects and features. It’s a collaborative group that works particularly to support independent media makers, but also understands the overall news publication landscape. And it’s experimental, trying new ideas to keep journalism alive in the Boston area. Today, I made a donation to BINJ.

Letter to the Lowell Sun

Today, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Lowell Sun, in response to a nice op-ed by a set of university professors and administrators advocating for more emphasis on building skills to power the wind power industry.

Save A Life (Alliance for Safe Kids)

The Alliance for Safe Kids is a community-based coalition working to provide a safety net for youth and their families in Yorktown Heights, where I grew up. One of its programs is an annual event, called Save a Life . Save a Life convenes high school students and some parents around interactive workshops, covering topics such as managing stress, building healthy relationships, vaping, substance abuse and house parties. Today, because I happened to be in Yorktown, I volunteered at Save a Life. I helped to register students as they arrived for a few hours and to break down the registration setup. It was a great experience, meeting many parent-volunteers and a few students. And I got to take a walk through Yorktown High School, which I haven’t been inside for 30 years.

Goat Fund Me?

Nevada City is a California municipality about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento. City officials are worried about wildfires this year, having witnessed the devastating  Camp Fire , in nearby Butte County, last year. Total damage was estimated at over $16 billion. The town of Paradise burned. So what’s Nevada City’s preventative action. Goats. In theory, a herd of goats can clear out the underbrush and reduce the risk of a wildfire. Today, I gave to a GoFundMe campaign to help Nevada City bring goats to the forest.

Climate Reality Boston leadership team

Today, I convened a call for the leadership team of the Climate Reality Project Boston chapter. Our priorities are beginning to gather momentum, so it was a good time to come together and ensure continued progress.