Showing posts from July, 2019

Essex County Community Foundation

Today, I made a donation to the Essex County Community Foundation, which is raising money to fund an adolescent and young adult cancer center.

Conscious Capitalism Boston debrief

Today, I had another call with Conscious Capitalism Boston leaders to debrief our recent meeting with our Advisory Council. We’ll use what we heard to set new direction but in the meantime, we have to start planning our Fall program, as well.

Climate Business

Today, I had a good call with the Climate Reality leader in Boston who is working on a business-focused Climate Reality Project presentation that is localized to Boston. We’d like to push this forward over the next month or so to get it distributed to our chapter.

Be the Change

My local bookstore, Porter Square Books, has monthly talks called Be the Change. They bring in speakers to talk about different topics of civic engagement and social impact. Today, I attended the Be the Change talk on climate change and civic engagement, featuring two Sunrise Movement Boston leaders and Francis Moore Lappé, the author of Diet for a Small Planet (and 18 other books). There was a real opportunity here to connect the dots between political action and climate action. Alas, the discussion was a bit meandering and anecdotal.

Protect arts funding

Every session, the Massachusetts legislature passes a budget that expands funding for the Mass Cultural Council, an important organization that fosters creative endeavors across the state. And every session, the Governor vetoes the line item. This year, the legislature passed a budget calling for $2 million in additional funding for the MCC. Today, I signed a petition asking the Governor not to veto.

Climate Reality Boston

Today, I joined a meeting with our chapter leadership for the Climate Reality Project Boston chapter. We need to get the chapter re-engaged, so we’re planning an event in September.

National Grid's gas leaks problem

Today, I joined a walking tour of East Somerville, led by Mother’s Out Front. In East Somerville, there are a dozens of natural gas leaks that the utility, National Grid, is aware of but has done nothing to fix. The result is an imminent danger and a climate risk. It’s also killing trees, which is really noticeable across the neighborhood. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Somerville candidates forum

Today, I attended a forum for candidates in Somerville’s upcoming election. We had School Committee candidates, City Council candidates and a Mayoral hopeful. The Climate Coalition of Somerville co-hosted the event, but it was really an Our Revolution Somerville forum and the responses from the candidates reflected that focus.

Climate Reality announcement

Today, I hopped on a conference call hosted by Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project. They were announcing a change to their annual 24 Hours of Reality broadcast, and trained Climate Reality Leaders were first to hear about it.

Union Square development

I was heartened to learn recently that the Union Square developer has agreed to build an affordable housing building to Passive House standards. The deep energy efficiency that Passive House offers is in line with the City’s Climate Forward goals and with the state’s commitments under the Global Warming Solutions Act. It also makes financial sense, with a short payback period. Which is why I’m mystified that the developer has determined other buildings under consideration to be unfeasible for Passive House. Here’s what the City’s Office of Sustainability & Environment says: Based on the analysis provided, it is the opinion of the Director of Sustainability & Environment that Passive House standards could feasibly be met with D2.2 and D2.3, significantly reduce harm to the community, and provide significant benefits to the building tenants. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 76%, Passive House design would reduce utility costs for tenants and improve

Letters to my state reps

Today, I sent letters to my state representative and state senator, advocating for two climate bills that will have a hearing this week. They address transitioning the electricity sector to 100% renewable and developing a net zero stretch code for buildings. Addressing power and buildings would to a long long way toward cutting the state’s emissions (leaving the transportation sector as the other big contributor).

Op-ed for the Somerville Times

Back in May, I joined 11 other advocates in the offices of my Congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley, to advocate for the We the People amendment to the Constitution . Today, I co-authored an op-ed for the Somerville Times , to thank the Congresswoman for cosponsoring the amendment. As it turns out, my co-author did most of the work, but I gave it a final edit and we went forward.

Climate Reality Minneapolis mentor webinar

I’ll be traveling to Minneapolis in two weeks to serve as a mentor for the Climate Reality Project’s latest training. We’re expecting some 1,100 trainees and I’ll cover about 20 of them. Today, I joined a pre-training call with other mentors to get up-to-speed on what my role and responsibilities will be.

Codes advocates call

Today, I joined a call organized by Mass Climate Action Network to get updates on our efforts to advocate for Massachusetts to develop a net-zero stretch code. There’s a hearing next Tuesday that I’ll try to make but I’m not sure it’ll be possible.

Brattle Film Foundation meeting

While I haven’t served on the board of the Brattle Film Foundation for several years now, I still like to volunteer for them. Today, I dialed into a call with a subset of the Development Committee focusing on major gifts. I need to stay connected to this effort because the Brattle Theatre is such a gem and needs to be sustained.

BabyLegs: a citizen science project

It’s a great time to be involved in citizen science, because so many people are making tools available to get involved and share information. Today, I supported a Kickstarter project called BabyLegs , which is a DIY research trawl for monitoring ocean plastic. You can basically use plastic bottle and some baby tights to capture and measure plastic in the ocean. Neat idea.

Debrief on the hearing for the Least Developed Countries Fund bill

Our coalition for the Least Developed Countries Fund bill had a great hearing last Wednesday. Today, I dialed into a debrief call so we could go over next steps. There aren’t many next steps for the rest of the summer, fortunately, but we’ll pick this back up in September.

Somerville Solar Census

Today, I dove into a new project that I started recently, which I’m calling the Somerville Solar Census. The idea is to map all the solar roofs in the city, celebrate their occupants, and gather useful data on who is putting in solar and how we can help them more. It’s an idea that I’ve been percolating on for a while now, and I saw that it came to fruition for another town, Harrisonburg, Pennsylvania . And I got some great ideas from that effort in a short conversation I had a few weeks ago. I won’t blog about this every day, although I’m going to spend a fair amount of time on it.

ArtBeat 2019 and a panel on climate change

Today, I volunteered for Somerville’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment to help staff a booth at the city’s ArtBeat festival. Our job was to get participants to complete a really interesting survey on their consumption habits and also play a game to explore their assumptions on how personal habits influence climate change. Today, I also spoke on a panel pulled together by East Somerville Main Streets, to talk about the city’s and the community’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The panel preceded a moving and contemplative film called Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth .

Tufts master plan for growth and development

Today, I wrote the chair of the improbably named House Committee on Bills in the Third Reading to advocate that House Bill H3641 be moved out of Committee. H3641 would require Tufts and other large non-profits to provide the city with a master plan for growth and development with proposed land and building use. The bill hopes to facilitate the coordinated and predictable development of large-scale institutional facilities. That’s not too much to ask of any institution.

Webinar on sustainable supply chains

Today, I attended a webinar called Sustainable Supply Chains, Decarbonization and the Circular Economy. It was held by the Climate Action Business Association.

Hearing at the State House

Today, I attended a hearing before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue, to advocate for the Least Developed Countries Fund legislation . I was attending as a member of the Climate Reality Project Boston chapter, though we had someone else from our delegation speak. The testimony was well received, I’m happy to say, with one chair of the joint committee clearly supporting the bill and several other members asking good questions. Here’s our full team, including two of our sponsors, Senator Barrett and Rep. Cabral, as well as a policy director from Oxfam, one of our coalition partners. Today, I also joined the City of Somerville’s Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change as a commissioner nominee. I found myself speaking much more now during the meeting.

Conscious Capitalism Boston board meeting

Today, I attended a Conscious Capitalism Boston board meeting, where we primarily discussed a focus group of key members, our Advisory Board, that will be held tomorrow. I’m glad we were able to hash out the last few questions on how we wanted to facilitate the meeting. But it’s too bad that I won’t be able to attend the actual Advisory Board meeting.

Climate Coalition of Somerville meeting

Today, I attended the monthly Climate Coalition of Somerville meeting. Despite the fact that we were deep into summer, our updates took the vast majority of the meeting because there is still a lot going on, at City Hall as well as in the community.

Prep day

There’s a lot going on this week. Today, I spent some time prepping material and getting up to speed. I have a Climate Coalition of Somerville meeting on Monday, Conscious Capitalism Boston board meeting on Tuesday and a State House hearing on Wednesday, for example. I had to do some reading to get up to speed.

Last herring monitor shift of the year

Today, I returned to the Mystic Lakes Dam to count herring migrating up the fish ladder. As expected, no fish were heading upstream; it’s late in the season and they should have all completed their journeys by now. It’s the last day of the annual count and we’re expecting zeros all across the board. But you can still chip in by counting herring in some videos, by heading here: .

Auction Block Memorial

Like most older cities in the U.S., Boston’s history is entangled with the practice of slavery. The founders and influencers of early America were more often than not perpetuaters of the slave trade. And this makes understanding and honoring the city’s history so delicate; slavery is deplorable, yet its economic impact is essential to our understanding of the city of Boston’s evolution. One artist intends to make this connection more visible with a memorial to the enslaved so that our community can understand, recognize, and grow from this history. Today, I made a donation to this powerful city-backed public memorial to those Africans and African-Americans whose trafficking and sale financed the building of Faneuil Hall.

Stand up to cancer

Today, I made a donation to the “stand up to cancer” campaign, which funds research to find the newest and best treatments for all cancer patients. I made the donation through an Entertainment Industry Foundation campaign.

Letter to my representatives

Today, I wrote letters to my two representatives in the State House. I’m hoping to get their support in pushing the Least Developed Countries Fund legislation out of the Joint Committee on Revenue so the whole legislature can vote on it.

Pre-hearing strategy meeting

Today, I joined a conference call to discuss strategy for the Least Developed Countries Fund legislation that I’ve been advocating for. There’s a hearing at the State House next week and we all wanted to get on the same page. There will be a few action items for me over the next week.

Letter of testimony to the Joint Committee on Revenue

I’ve been advocating for a bill in the State House that would create a voluntary check-off for Massachusetts taxpayers to donate to the Least Developed Countries Fund . There’s a hearing coming up before the Joint Committee on Revenue. Today, I wrote a draft letter of testimony to the Committee, in my capacity as co-chair of the Boston Metro chapter of the Climate Reality Project. I’ll iterate that testimony with a few folks but it was good to get something on paper.