Showing posts from January, 2020

Geothermal Micro-District presentation

Today, I presented during was the last day of the Geothermal Micro-District workshop that HEET is running at MIT. My working group took the opportunity to stress that people are at the center of the project. The other working groups focused on technology and policy and buildings. But ultimately, we need to make people — communities and workers — the focus of the work.

Gas ban strategy meeting

Today, I met with a City Councilor and the Director of Sustainability to give updates on the possibility of a natural gas ban in Somerville. We got a rundown on different legal strategies and shared the concerns put forward by labor.

Scout Somerville

Today, I was interviewed by a reporter from Scout Somerville , who was interested in hearing about the zoning and buildings advocacy that the Climate Coalition of Somerville has been involved with over the past couple of years.

Presenting at the Climate Change Response Forum

Today, I filled in for MCAN’s Executive Director in presenting at a Climate Change Response Forum in Acton, Mass. I got to present for 10 minutes and then sat on a panel with a State Senator, a State Representative, and leaders from Sierra Club, Gas Leaks Allies and Mothers out Front.

Geothermal Micro-District Charrette day 3

Today, I attended the third of four workshops to charrette aspects of the Geothermal Micro-District idea that HEET is working on. It was a good afternoon spent in a really high-functioning working group.

"Sustainability tour" planning

Last year, we were successful running a Somerville Sustainability Tour, in which 20 households and businesses opened their doors to show community members what they’ve done and to share their experiences. We decided not to replicate that this year, partly because we didn’t want to go back to the same hosts again. Today, I took part in a planning meeting to figure out how we might replace that with a different kind of event or engagement.

SomerVison 2040 follow-up

The SomerVision 2040 process was about a year of public engagement to crowdsource the community’s values and its vision for 2040. It’s in draft form right now. Today, I had a briefing call with an organization that might be interested in making suggestions on how to improve sustainability aspects of the the report before its finalized.

Climate Reality 2020

Today, I joined a call hosted by the Climate Reality Project to talk about everything it has planned in 2020. With five trainings in the U.S., it’ll be a busy year!

Charles River Watershed Association

Today, I made a donation to become a member of the C harles River Watershed Association . It’s one of the country’s oldest watershed organizations and continues to connect the community around the Charles River and its watershed through science, advocacy, and law.

GeoMicro Districts

Today, I participated in the second of four workshops on a geothermal microdistricts pilot. There is a lot of substance to this opportunity; the challenge will be working with the right stakeholders to bring the into the process.

En-ROADS workshop

Today, I hosted an En-ROADS climate simulation workshop, for the Climate Reality Project’s Boston Metro chapter. We used the En-ROADS tool to test different strategies for reducing carbon emissions and see what combinations could keep us below a 2 degree rise in global surface temperature. Spoiler alert: we have to do everything, all at once.

Climate Congress

The City of Cambridge has a Climate Congress every few years, to bring together delegates from around the city around how to organize a climate response. They’re reached out to us in Somerville to see whether we ought to make this a two-city event. Today, I reviewed the past events and some of the brainstorms for the future, in preparation for a call in a couple days.

Co-sponsor a Climate Reality Presentation the Boston Public Library

Today, I coordinated with the Climate Reality Project’s Boston Metro chapter to co-sponsor a talk that a trained climate reality leader would like to give at the Boston Public Library in April. Let’s hope it’s approved.

En-ROADS planning

Today, I had a call with a fellow advocate to plan a workshop he’s conducting on Tuesday for the Climate Reality Project Boston Metro chapter. Really looking forward to this one.

Act on Biomass

Today, I coordinated for the Climate Coalition of Somerville to be a signatory for the Act on Biomass bill in the State House. This bill would take the obvious step of prohibiting the burning of wood as a renewable energy source. Because it’s not.

Climate Reality strategic plan

Today, I finalized the Climate Reality Project Boston Metro chapter’s strategic plan, with some great input from a couple other leaders. We’ve rationalized our plans and really put our presentations out in front.

Workshop on geothermal

An organization called HEET has done an amazing job getting pilots approved to install geothermal micro districts in three locations. The hard part of getting a utility interested, in this case, Eversource, is already done. To get at the devil in the details, HEET has convened a number of community, technology and finance experts to work on how to roll those pilots out.

Lobby Day

Today, I attended Mass Power Forward ‘s lobby day. I met with two State representatives to push for Mass Power Forward’s priority legislation, notably a carbon pricing bill, an environmental justice bill and 100% renewable energy bill.

Climate Coalition of Somerville

Today, I attended the monthly meeting of the Climate Coalition of Somerville. We talked about some big things we wanted to achieve this year — but we’re not sure we can do them all. Let’s see how this goes.

Climate Coalition catch-up

Our next Climate Coalition of Somerville meeting is tomorrow. It came on fast. Today, I met with another CCS member to talk about the agenda for the meeting.

Buy Nothing catch-up

Today, I spent some time cleaning a few items in the Buy Nothing Somerville community that I co-admin on Facebook.

National Environmental Policy Act

For big infrastructure project, such as highways, levees or pipelines, the environmental impacts need to be assessed before the federal government grants approval. However, the administration has proposed changing the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act to remove required assessments of climate change. Today, I signed a petition to oppose changes to the act.

We the People with Senator Warren

I’ve written a couple times about my support for the We the People amendment, which would go a long way toward reforming our elections. In May last year, I visited Representative Pressley’s office to advocate with others for her co-sponsorship of the amendment int he House. She did so, just a few days later. In October, I called Senator Markey’s office to advocate for him to bring the amendment to the Senate. He has subsequently suggested he would do so, if four other Senators would join him. Today, I called Senator Warren’s office to ask her to co-sponsor with Senator Markey.

Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change

Today, I attended the monthly Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change meeting, where we continued our conversation on priorities for 2020. It was my turn to chair and take notes, too.

LDC Fund bill

Today, I had a catch-up call with other advocates of the Least Developed Countries Fund bill . The bill is still stuck in committee but the signs are positive so we’re peparing for next steps.

City inauguration

Today, I attended Somerville’s inauguration for the Mayor (ninth term), the City Council and the School Committee. There was a bit more pomp and circumstance than I remembered from the last inauguration, with Senator Ed Markey speaking. (He’s a facing a primary challenge.) But it was good to hear the priorities coming from the administration and the new City Council president.

Should we require solar roofs on municipal buildings?

Of course we should. Today, I let the Boston Globe know that municipalities need to lead the way in the transition to renewable energy through a reader poll .

House fire

There was a fire yesterday, just a few blocks from my house. While firefighters were able to knock it down relatively quickly, the property itself is a total loss. I don’t know the residents. Today, I donated to a GoFundMe to support the residents , who lost pretty much everything. I don’t know them, but they’re in the community and they need help.

Architects and engineers

Today, I joined another planning meeting with a number of area architects and engineers to talk about Somerville’s new zoning and the specific case of lab buildings being able to achieve LEED Platinum. It’s a challenge but I think we have a proposal that can make it work.

Winter Hill Neighborhood Association

Today, I met with another organizer and a member of the Winter Hill Neighborhood Association. We’re planning to give a workshop to the members of the association in about a month, about sustainability and their homes, so this was a useful planning meeting.

Amazon waste

Amazon ships over 1.5 million boxes — every day. Plastic from the company is everywhere, particularly in the bubble bags that it uses in every box. Today, I signed a petition asking Amazon to reduce its plastic waste wherever possible.