Showing posts from May, 2020


George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died in Minneapolis after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. Chauvin handcuffed Floyd and put his knee to Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground for nearly 10 minutes. Captured on video, the incident has inspired protests around the country, once again highlighting systemic racism and the grossly inordinate numbers of black men killed by the police. Today, I donated to the Lake Street Council , a Minneapolis nonprofit that advocates for the Lake Street business community. This is an area filled with businesses owned by people of color, and where there’s been a great deal of property damage from the Minneapolis protests. The Council is running a fund to help rebuild the area. Today, I also signed a petition , with almost 10 million other signatories, demanding justice for George Floyd from the prosecutors.

Races for state representative

Today, I made donations to two candidates for state representative, for two different districts in Somerville. (One of them is my district.)

MCAN fundraising

Today, I had a call with a few fellow MCAN board members to talk about fundraising. I’ve been appointed the Development Committee chair and I’m still getting my arms around all the ideas that are floating around.

Herring Monitor shift

Today, I did another shift as a herring monitor , counting fish going up the fish ladder at the Mystic Lakes dam.

Movement Voter Project

Today, I joined an info session and fundraiser for the Movement Voter Project . Movement Voter is looking at the presidential and senate races this November, but it focuses its theory of change on helping local organizations that are already operating within key districts and states. Great turnout for a Zoom call, with about 100 people on the line, including several Somerville City Councilors.

Rhode Island's road to 100% renewables

Today, I hosted a webinar for the Climate Reality Project Metro Boston and Southcoast chapters. We had the leaders of Ocean State Community Energy talk about their work with the City of Cranston and the State of Rhode Island to move toward 100% renewable energy by 2030 — which Governor Raimondo has laid out as a goal.

EZ Code

I’ve been involved with a campaign with MCAN to push for a next zero building code statewide for quite some time now. The state’s Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS), the agency tasked with keeping the building code fit for purpose, has pushed back saying that municipalities aren’t ready for it and that they wanted to review actual code language. Well, now they’re out of excuses. Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, Built Environment Plus and MAPC drafted a version a stretch code, called the Energy Zero or EZ Code , and presented it to the BBRS, recruiting the Mayor of Lowell and a representative from the Mayor’s office in Pittsfield to speak on its behalf. (Notably, that’s two municipalities far from Boston. Today, I wrote to a city council member asking her to write to the BBRS in support of the EZ Code.

The Future of Transportation Post-COVID

The Environmental League of Massachusetts has an amazing series of weekly webinars, running through early June. I haven’t been able to join many of them live because they’re during the work day. But they’re all recorded. Today, I watched a great webinar on the future of transportation in Massachusetts , post-pandemic, with Monica Tibbits-Nutt, who sits on the board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and is vice chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal Management Control Board.

Herring monitor online shift

Today, I had another shift counting herring as they migrate up the Mystic Lakes dam fish ladder, as a volunteer for the Mystic River Watershed Association .

Upcoming talk for Climate Reality Boston

We have a talk next week for the Climate Reality Project Boston Metro chapter, to hear what’s happening in Rhode Island and of course how Massachusetts can follow. Today, I pushed out a marketing email to get more eyeballs to the webinar.

Another candidate for state rep

Yesterday, I joined a meeting with one candidate for state rep to talk about the We the People Massachusetts theory of change for democracy reform . Today, I had an exchange by email with the second candidate for that seat, to further garner support for the bill.

Candidate for state rep and CRWA governance committee

Today, I joined a call with We the People Massachusetts, to introduce ourselves to one of the candidates for state representative where I live. Today, I also joined a governance committee board call for the Charles River Watershed Association.

Fundraising training call

Today, I joined a fundraising training, led by Megan Amundson, a development officer at Tufts. She’s an experienced trainer for board, and it shows. It was a big help for the MCAN board.

How to talk to your kids about climate change

Last Wednesday, the Boston Metro chapter of the Climate Reality Project organized a webinar, featuring Harriet Shugarman, a climate reality leader from New York, about her new book, called How to Talk to Your Kids about Climate Change . I missed the meeting, unfortunately, because of a conflict with my Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change meeting. Today, I worked on the video for the webinar, putting up on YouTube for all to see.

Keeping moving on the Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change

Today, I took some time to organize the notes from last Wednesday’s meeting of Somerville’s Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change. There was a lot to synthesize and format in a way that might be conducive to continuing engagement online.

Local journalism

Today, I subscribed to the Somerville Journal , a local paper that’s been revived by its one reporter over the past couple of years. Today, I also donated to the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism . Because local journalism is important.

Herring monitor (virtual)

For the past few years, I’ve been a herring monitor, counting the fish migrating up the fish ladder at the Upper Mystic Lakes dam for they Mystic River Watershed Association. We’re not allowed on the dam this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic. But we can continue to monitor fish online, through the camera system they’ve setup. Today, I did a shift counting a dozen videos of fish.

Somerville Museum

Cultural institutions are getting hammered in the coronavirus pandemic, without the ability to charge admissions for people to enter their spaces. That includes the Somerville Musuem , of which I’m a member. Today, I made a donation to the Somerville Museum, to help them keep running.

Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change

Today, I facilitated a brainstorm for Somerville’s Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change. We’re looking at the potential impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on local climate action. It’s mostly bad news–but there are some bright spots that we might be able to shine a light on.

Basil Tree Catering and Community Cooks

Basil Tree Catering is an amazing local company that has been“catering with a conscience” for 32 years. I led a discussion with the founder for Conscious Capitalism Boston almost exactly a year ago. And Community Cooks is an awesome nonprofit that arranges for volunteers to cook meals (at home) for distribution to domestic violence shelters and other organizations. I was one of those volunteers in 2017 and 2018. So when I heard that Basil Tree Catering was working during the coronavirus lockdown to prepare meals for Community Cooks, I was blown away. Today, I made a donation to their joint initiative .

Climate Coalition of Somerville

Today, I attended the monthly call of the Climate Coalition of Somerville. We had a candidate for State Representative, Erika Uyterhoeven, join us to talk about her climate priorities as she prepares for the election in the Fall.

Union Square Main Streets

Union Square Main Streets is an amazing advocate for the emerging Union Square neighborhood of Somerville. It’s a great community, one that needs support through the coronavirus crisis. Today, I made a donation to Union Square Main Streets, for its participation in Grassroots Relief for Main Streets .

MCAN fundraising

Today, I had a catch-up call with a fellow MCAN board member to talk about fundraising for the Massachusetts Climate Action Network.

The Welcome Project

Somerville-based Welcome Project is the primary means by which the city’s immigrant population can participate in and shape community decisions. It’s a critical support for a significant portion of the City’s populace — a community that is struggling through the coronavirus. Today, I donated to the Welcome Project for its Immigrant Assistance Fund .

Climate Resilience for Activists

Climate activism tends to focus on measures to reduce carbon emissions. But climate mitigation is only half the equation; climate adaptation is equally important because we will be living with a substantial amount of climate change even if our emissions are reduced to zero tomorrow. Today, I joined a webinar, co-hosted by the Charles River Watershed Association, on climate adaptation, in particular resilience from stormwater events.

Least Developed Countries Fund

Today, I joined our monthly call to push for the Least Developed Countries Fund bill , which would support climate adaptation by the world’s most vulnerable countries. We’re hamstrung by the fact that the State House is mostly at a standstill due to the coronavirus. But hopeful nonetheless.

MCAN Board Meeting

Today, I joined a board meeting for the Massachusetts Climate Action Network, specifically to discuss our ongoing Executive Director search. We’re getting closer…

Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change debrief

Today, I joined a debrief call for Somerville’s Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change. I was able to meet with the Director of Sustainability to plan for next week’s commission on meeting.

Amplio Network and the coronavirus response in Africa

In many parts of the world, the spoken word is the most effective means of communicating. That’s why Amplio’s Talking Book device , a very simple voice recorder, is so important. It enables governments and global development organizations to share knowledge with the world’s hardest to reach communities. And it’s so important to reach those communities now with essential information on the coronavirus and how to stay safe. Today, I made a donation to Amplio (which used to be called Literacy Bridge).

Mutual aid fundraiser

I’ve made a donation to, and connected with, the Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville (MAMAS) group . Today, I made another donation, in response to a fundraising campaign .

Climate Reality Boston leadership call

Today, I joined the leadership team call for the Climate Reality Project Boston Metro chapter. We’re adding a couple new members to the team, so I’m hoping we can get some new momentum.