Wishing you a
safe & sustainable 2021
ConcordCAN! has been somewhat quiet over the past several months due to the pandemic; but we are still around and will remain active on the Concord scene. We have three new Steering Group members and are looking at ways to resume monthly programming using Zoom technology.
Our mission is “to promote sustainability, to advocate for environmentally positive policies and behaviors, and to work in cooperation with other local organizations on these important issues.” Our monthly Sustainable Concord Coffees have, for years, been an important venue for carrying out this mission. They were interrupted by the pandemic, but we are planning to hold even-more-sustainable virtual BYOC coffee events starting in March via Zoom. Stay tuned for further information.
Our Steering Group currently has 10 active members, with a range of skills and interests. If you would like to become more involved with the Steering Group, please contact us by e-mail at info@ConcordCan.org.
Bob Andrews, Susan Frey, Brad Hubbard-Nelson, Bob Lawson, Janet Lawson, Sharon McGregor, Fatima Mezdad, Ben Stumpf, Mary White, Garret Whitney, and Laura Bremner Benedict, (webmaster)
David Green’s Webinar
Was A Success
Wednesday February 24
7 – 8 PM
Last month’s newsletter informed you about an upcoming free webinar offered by David Green, the author of Zero Carbon Home. The book (and the webinar) provides detailed information about how to make your home achieve zero carbon emissions and, at the same time, save a lot of money. To view an earlier version of David’s webinar recorded on June 6, 2020, on YouTube, click here
This webinar was initiated by the Environmental Team at First Parish in Concord and co-sponsored by ConcordCAN. This webinar proved to be very popular and was attended by well over a hundred people. It was tailored specifically to Concord. Mr Green discussed a wide range of options for achieving his zero carbon goal, including air source heat pumps, solar installations, insulation, and a special kind of windows, (or window inserts).
Mr. Green was very responsive to questions during and after the webinar. His book has been praised by Paul Hawken and Bill McKIbben. If you were not able to attend one of his January webinars, others will be coming up in other localities. For more information about David Green, his book, and more, go to: https://greenzerocarbonhome.com.
By Brad Hubbard-Nelson
A lot has been happening recently at the State level regarding climate policy. In December, the Baker administration released the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (2030 CECP), which is in the public comment phase right now. Also, in December, the State Senate and Assembly both passed a landmark Climate Roadmap Bill (S.2995), which Governor Baker vetoed.
In January, at the start of the new legislative session, that bill was re-sent to the Governor (Bill S.9), without modification. The Governor can choose to sign, veto, or which is expected, send it back to the legislature with proposed amendments. Both the plan and the bill are comprehensive in scope, with similar intentions and in some cases overlapping or complementary parts, but different in the details.
The 2030 CECP is a 10-year plan required by the Global Warming Solutions Act (2008), outlining a plan to achieve 45% emissions reduction by 2030. Put together by the MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, the plan includes significant reductions in emissions from transportation (largely through replacing gasoline vehicles with EVs) and buildings (mostly through replacing fossil fuel heating with heat pumps, and also high-efficiency building codes for new construction), as well as further greening the electricity sector and promoting more sequestration from natural and agricultural lands. The plan is open for comment through February 22nd, so we encourage you to visit the 2030 CECP website, read the relevant sections and send comments as individuals or groups.
The legislature’s Climate Roadmap Bill S.9 differs from the 2030 CECP in two key respects, aiming to achieve a 50% emissions reduction by 2030 (75% by 2040) and requiring 5 year emission reduction targets instead of 10. Also relevant to Concord, municipal light plants are required to follow a greenhouse gas emissions standard (of which CMLP is already well in compliance). The S.9 bill also proposes a more stringent “Net-Zero” building code for new construction.
Adopting a high-performance or Net-Zero building code is essential, according to an article by the Rocky Mountain Institute, because the State cannot meet its goals while building more fossil-fuel heated homes. The building code and the 50% reduction target were given as two reasons for Baker’s vetoing the bill, even though the CECP has a similar building code plan. Lobbying pressure from building and real-estate professionals reportedly played a role in the Governor’s decision. This time, he has until Feb 7th to sign or return the bill, which may have enough support to override a veto. Please contact your legislators to thank them for passing this legislation and urge their support for a veto override should it be necessary.
In summary, strong policy towards reducing emissions is a big step that is sorely needed. Both the 2030 CECP and Climate Roadmap Bill are ambitious, and the two should complement one-another. Working together, it is our hope that this is a turning point, which we can look back to at the end of the decade.
The Concord Free Public Library (CFPL) is planning a renovation and expansion of library facilities and programs; and the CFPL Board has committed to carrying out this project in a sustainable manner. A Sustainability Committee was launched and is now going through a planning process that includes listening sessions with groups of Concord citizens.
ConcordCAN, along with the Concord-Carlisle League of Women Voters, was invited to a listening session last month by committee Chair, Elise Woodward. At that session there was an excellent slide presentation of the sustainability planning process, followed by questions and discussion. It is recommended that you click here to learn a good deal about how this planning process is unfolding.
Notes on this listening session are included in the slides you will find on the committee’s web pages. It was mutually agreed that the library should work closely with the Town of Concord and local voluntary organizations on unleashing the full public educational power of a public library, which interfaces with all age groups.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction returns to humanity’s transformative impact on the environment, now asking: After doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it? Elizabeth Kolbert, will talk with host of The Book Show, WAMC Public Radio’s Joe Donahue about her new book.Sign up to listen to this crowdcast interview on February 17 at 7:00 PM.
Speaks on Climate
Amanda Gorman is a 22 year old poet who served as the nation’s poet at the Biden Inauguration. She got extremely high praises for her dramatic reading of “The Hill We Climb.” This amazing young woman has also spoken on climate change. In December 2018, she presented her original “Earthrise” four-minute poem as part of a “Climate Reality Project“ 24 hours of reality” campaign. If you click here, you can hear what she presented. It is well worth your time!
The Cooler Concord website is a great resource for sustainable action in Concord and nearby communities. It uses a community platform built by MassEnergize, a local non-profit dedicated to helping communities become more sustainable.The platform uses several of the features from the old Cooler Concord site, but with many improvements to boost its impact, including:
– a wider array of actions ranging from Heat Pumps and Electric Vehicles to Ecological Landscaping, Climate-friendly Investing and more, with clear info on impact and steps to take;
– you can create a user profile and keep track of the things you’ve done or are planning, ask questions, and share your experiences.
– you can create or join a team with friends and neighbors working together to make a difference on carbon emissions.
– tracking the impact of the actions taken individually and together as a community or team, from a carbon calculator built into the site.
Please visit the site and let us know what you think. We encourage you to create a profile, join a team perhaps, see what actions you’ve already taken or are interested in taking, and leave a story or two about your experiences.