Showing posts from June, 2019

Buy Nothing Somerville community norms

The Buy Nothing Somerville community has grown in leaps and bounds to over 3,000 members. Most Buy Nothing communities limit membership after they reach about 1,000 members, so we’re in uncharted territory here. It’s clear that the growth is putting some strain on one of our missions, which is to use the site to build community. Some un-neighborly behaviors are popping up more often. Today, I drafted a note to remind members of our community-building mission. I know it’ll be well received by most of the membership, but I can only hope that it’s seen and absorbed by all.

Herring monitor shift

Today, I had one more shift as a herring monitor for the Mystic River Watershed Association . I spotted no fish heading up the ladder; it’s near the end of the season, so I’ll have only one more shift after this one.

Family Reach

Today, I attended a fundraiser for Family Reach , an organization that provides necessary financial support for the families of children going through cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Democratic debate watch party

There’s a presidential election in 17 months, so campaigning is in full force. Indeed, there are a remarkable 24 candidates for the Democratic party nomination. Today, I attended a watch party, hosted by Cambridge Area Stronger Together, for tonight’s debate, with 10 candidates taking party. (Ten others debated last night.) Not much will be accomplished so early, of course, and sure feels like the circus is in town.

Somerville Media Center

Today, I became a member of the Somerville Media Center . The organization used to be known as the operator of the city’s community access television. But it has more recently taken a more active role in partnering with community organizations and promoting journalism in the city.

Another webinar - Gaining Momentum on Efficiency: Next Steps in the 2021 IECC

Today, I listened to another webinar, this time to get updates on the process of updating the international building code with more “pro-efficiency” requirements. This is a process that will culminate in engagement with city officials this fall.

Least Developed Countries Fund webinar

Today, I hosted a webinar to help get the word out about the Least Developed Countries Fund initiative in Massachusetts. I made some introductions and helped to facilitate the whole talk. We had some initial audio problems but worked things out fairly smoothly. And I’m planning some follow-up work in the next few days.

Webinar prep

Today, I did some prep work for the Climate Reality Project Boston Metro chapter’s webinar that I’m hosting tomorrow: Help the most vulnerable countries respond to climate change .

Herring Monitor shift

It’s a beautiful day to be on the Mystic Lakes Dam. Today, I had another shift as a herring monitoring, counting fish as they migrated up the fish ladder from the Lower Mystic to the Upper Mystic.

Show Your Stripes Day

The Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, is “show your stripes” day. Television meteorologists from around the world unite to show data about climate change on show your stripes day, which was started by Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading. Today, I showed my stripes on social media and helped to spread the word about the very clear data indicating how dramatically our climate is changing. Today, the summer solstice, is #ShowYourStripes day. #climatechange — Larry Yu (@laryu) June 21, 2019

Our Transportation Future

Northeastern states are working on a carbon pricing schema for the transportation sector, called the Transportation and Climate Initiative. Today, I attended a webinar held by a coalition called Our Transportation Future , providing a 101-level overview of TCI. It was a little basic, but that makes sense because the Fall is when the project is open to stakeholder input.

Net-zero stretch code webinar

Today, I spoke on a webinar, organized by MCAN, on the prospects for a net-zero stretch code . I think the discussion from the architects and from the City of Boston was probably more interesting than my bit, but I got to give my two cents on activism in Somerville.

Conscious Capitalism Boston board call

Today, I dialed into our monthly Conscious Capitalism Boston board call. We’re pivoting our strategy right now and this was useful discussion of how to get guidance from our most important members.

Webinar prep calls

Today, I took part in two prep calls for two different webinars I’ll be participating in over the next week. First was a call to keep up to date on the Least Developed Countries Fund webinar next Monday, and the advocacy effort it’s supporting. Then, I caught up with MCAN, who is organizing a webinar on their net zero stretch code campaign.

Buy Nothing pro tips

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any pro tips for the Buy Nothing Somerville community. The membership continues to grow and it’s time to keep the community high functioning. Today, I posted a new pro tip to help govern direct messaging behavior.

The PGA Championship

The final round of the PGA’s US Open is this weekend, at one of the most famous golf courses in the world: Pebble Beach. Selection of the course to be played for the US Open and PGA Championship is a big deal. Indeed, this year’s PGA Championship was estimated to have a $120 million economic impact on the area around Bethpage Black, on Long Island. Today, I signed a petition asking the PGA to move the venue for its 2022 PGA Championship. It’s currently scheduled for Trump Bedminster, in New Jersey. But I don’t believe the president should be able to profit so grossly from the tournament, its sponsors and its spectators.

Vaccinations in Massachusets

Let’s be clear: vaccinations are not only safe for the individual, they are also in the public interest. There is zero connection between vaccinations and autism. Nada. And “herd immunity,” can prevent contagious diseases from spreading with a high enough vaccination rate. But we’ve fallen herd immunity reates recently, which has led to the mind-boggling return of measles, which was once considered eradicated. In Massachusetts, a bill is circulating that eliminates so-called “religious exemptions” to vaccination, which has been a back-door that allowed anti-vaccination conspiracists to erode the public’s herd immunity. It’s main sponsor, Rep. Andy Vargas, has been attacked. Today, I wrote to Rep. Vargas to thank you him for his sensible legislation.

Cruise offsets

I’m spending the day returning to port from a weeklong cruise. Today, I purchased carbon offsets from Terrapass to offset the carbon footprint of the trip.

Halifax Museum of the Atlantic

Today, I made a donation to the Halifax Museum of the Atlantic, which I visited this morning. And I learned about the Halifax Explosion , in December 2017. One morning, two ships collided in the harbor. One ship was a munitions ship, loaded with petrochemicals, which caught fire. The ensuing explosion destroyed 1,630 homes and damaged 12,000 others. Over 1,900 died and 6,000 people were left without shelter.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

Still on vacation this week, spending the day in St. John’s Newfoundland. Today, I made a donation to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, which works to protect and manage Canada’s public land, ocean and freshwater parks.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust

I’m on vacation this week, spending the day in Bar Harbor, Maine. Today, I made a donation to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, which runs conservation and land stewardship projects along the Maine coast.

Letter to the Globe on editorial priorities

Today, I wrote a letter to the Boston Globe editors. One of their columnists write about how climate activists sustain themselves today, which was a nice thing to do. But I question why the Globe itself hasn’t created a climate desk, as the New York Times has done. Instead, it’s added a Marijuana desk. Surely the climate crisis is more important?

New England Center for Arts and Technology

Last Fall, I visited and toured Edwins restaurant in Cleveland, not only because of its great French bistro fare, but also because of its innovative program to train formerly incarcerated individuals with food industry skills as well as life skills. Turns out there’s similar emerging in Boston, at the New England Center for Arts and Technology . Today I made a donation to that organization, which targets chronically underemployed individuals.

Our Bodies Our Business

The movie Three Billboards shined a light on using billboards for social change. Today, I supported a Kickstarter project called Our Bodies Our Business that will erect billboards in states that have joined in on a burst of legislation that impinge on women’s rights as delineated in Roe v Wade. Alabama is first in line.

Conscious Capitalism Boston strategy

Today, I had a follow-up board meeting to help determine our strategy and priorities at Conscious Capitalism Boston. We’ve had great engagement from a few companies and we’re thinking through how we can build on this engagement in the middle market. More to come over the summer.

Burning wood and renewable energy standards

The Massachusetts renewable portfolio standard (RPS) governs how much renewable energy utilities need to include in their energy mix. It’s pretty low right now, at 14%, and rising very slowly. The low ambition in the RPS standards is getting in the way of achieving the state’s own legal requirement to reduce emissions by 80% through 2050. To make matters worse, the administration is considering allowing more “biomass” to be considered a renewable energy source. Translation: burning wood would be considered clean energy. Before you romanticize an evening in front of your fireplace roasting chestnuts, I should point out that we are talking grid-scale power here, burning forests to power our electrical grids. Seems like a step back, doesn’t it? It is — indeed, the climate impact of burning wood is worse than burning coal. Today, I wrote a letter to the state’s Department of Energy Resources advocating against allowing more biomass to be considered renewable.

Business in the Era of Climate Change

Boston’s NPR news station, WBUR, has hosted a five-part series curated by Harvard Business School professor, Michael Toffel, called, “Business in the Era of Climate Change.” Today, I went to the last of the series, on energy transitions. Great discussion with representatives from wind and solar industries, as well as Emily Reichart, CEO of Somerville’s own Greentown Labs.

Innovations to Eradicate Global Poverty

Today, I attended a Long Now Boston discussion, called “Innovations to Eradicate Global Poverty.” Long Now Boston sponsors thought-provoking panels and discussions in the spirit of the Long Now Foundation, which examines current issues with a long-term lens. I mean, rally long term, like 10,000 years. With that said, today’s talk was more about today, specifically some of the things Acumen is doing to bridge the pioneer gap and fund companies with the potential to scale and make a dent on global poverty.

Save Our Homes in Somerville

Affordable housing is the highest profile issue concerning Somerville legislators right now. Small supports make a difference, even while big issues are being addressed. For example, in 2018, dozens of Somerville residents and families received grants for security deposits, back rent, utility bills and moving costs associated with stabilizing housing. These grants kept families in their homes, adults at their jobs, and kids in school. Today, I made a donation to the Save our Homes Walk to support the fund that provides emergency grants throughout the year.

Carbon offsets for flight to Los Angeles

I got back from Los Angeles this morning, where I had to be to see a client yesterday. Today, I bought carbon offsets to make up for the transcontinental flights.