Earth Day UN Climate Agreement Signing

A great agreement is being signed today, April 22, 2016, but even if all countries do what they are agreeing to, we will still have catastrophic climate change.
Encourage your government to do more. Setting personal examples, showing a willingness for more change, and saying something are the best ways to do that.

US and world legislators need to know that we’re willing to do more than we are doing.

From climateactiontracker.org http://climateactiontracker.org/global/173/CAT-Emissions-Gaps.html

From climateactiontracker.org http://climateactiontracker.org/global/173/CAT-Emissions-Gaps.html

 

 

Open Space, Climate Vulnerabilities and Making

We haven’t been blogging much over the past year and I suspect some people wonder why – other than we both work full time and have three kids! There’s always a lot going on in our lives, but this year I think these three phrases encapsulate the big reasons we haven’t been blogging much: open space, climate vulnerabilities and making.

CPA-parade

Supporters of our ballot initiative marching in a local parade

This past year I (Alicia) worked extensively with a small group of activists to get our city to adopt a state law that helps fund open space and recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing. Fifteen years ago our state passed a law stating that local communities could choose to adopt a program that would allow the community to raise local funds and then receive proportional matching funds from the state to fund projects in these three areas. I’ve been talking with residents for the past two years about this option and this past year we decided to move forward with collecting enough signatures to put it on the ballot and then convinced residents in our community to vote for it and it passed!  

It was a lot of work, but it was also very empowering to realize that a small group of residents could work to get the community to adopt a significant program. We were fortunate to not have any organized opposition in our community, but even in Massachusetts its not easy to convince residents to vote for something that is going to cost them money, even if it’s only on the order of $50 a year. This was important, and exciting, but also a significant time sink.

I’ve always been busy before, but I’ve found time to write on the blog anyhow. This year however, I’ve also been working on an issue that is an emotional drain (hmm, that’s the 2nd water metaphor). A little over a year ago our Mayor (my boss) met with other Mayors in our region and agreed that climate change vulnerabilities and resiliency are a major upcoming issue that we should be looking at regionally. He asked me to begin attending regional task force meetings to represent our community on this issue. Now, this is an area where I already had some knowledge – after all, there’s a reason Jon & I started writing this blog. However, meeting with other communities, state and federal agencies and local non-profits and consultants to look at the near and mid-term affects of climate change on our communities has a whole new level of impact on my psyche.

5 feet of sea level rise in the Boston area made with NOAA's http://coast.noaa.gov/

5 feet of sea level rise in the Boston area made with NOAA’s http://coast.noaa.gov/

I looked at hurricane evacuation maps for our area and realized that one-third of my community is in an evacuation zone for a direct hit category 1 hurricane. I heard from scientists that pointed out that if hurricane Sandy had hit our area at high tide instead of low tide we would have had significant damages of the type we have never seen before in our memory. We really dodged a bullet on that one.   The City of Cambridge has recently completed their climate change vulnerability study and the forecasted impacts of increased heat, sea level rise and inland flooding on their community are sobering.  The first time I had their preliminary results presented to me I realized that they are looking at 2030, 2050 and 2070 as time horizons for impacts – and that 2030 is only in 15 (now 14) years from now.  My youngest child will only be 20 years old in 2030 – barely an adult! 

Today I went to a day long workshop sponsored by the Barr Foundation entitled “How to Guide to Carbon Neutral Cities” and realized that I should be blogging about some of the things I’m learning – so consider this just a taste.

Making – well, Jon has had some significant disruption and unpleasantness at work over the past year putting him in a bad state of mind for writing.  Recently he has transitioned into a new position where he is the Assistant Director of Project Manus at MIT.  Project Manus is charged with enhancing the Maker resources at MIT.  Suffice it to say, he’s now very happy and very, very busy. 

Oh, and bees.  We’re getting bees.  Stay tuned!

Happy Greening,

Alicia

If you liked what you just read, please signup below to receive our blog posts and tips via email.

 

Solar Charging Super Bowl 50

superbowl_50_levi_infographic

The one team that I care about playing in  Super Bowl 50 NFL Championship game is team Solar!  Levi's Stadium in San Francisco has 375 kW of solar panels that generate enough electricity each year to power all of the 49ers home games. … [Continue reading]

Best Climate Change Speech Ever

Keystone XL Pipeline stamped REJECTED

Today President Barack Obama gave what I consider the best climate change speech ever when he announced the rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline. However, when I first tried to watch the speech, by going to well known news sites, like USA … [Continue reading]

Love Song to the Earth

love song to the earth

Natasha Bedingfield and Sean Paul teamed up with an awesome group of artists including Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow and many more to create "Love Song to the Earth." They released it to coincide with Pope Francis's visit to … [Continue reading]

Interview with Jeff Sutherland – Inventor of Scrum and Renewable Energy Advocate

Photo of home with both roofs covered in solar panels

Recently I had the pleasure of learning a more effective way to manage projects. The two day course, titled Scrum Product Owner training, was taught by Jeff Sutherland, the inventor and co-creator of Scrum and author of Scrum: The Art of … [Continue reading]

How much did the US spend on Imported Oil in 2014?

1/3rd of a Trillion Dollars

My previous blog posts about the US spending on imported oil are finally making a difference. At least a lot of people seem to be asking how much the US spends on importing oil.  Earlier this year, one of the leading United States Presidential … [Continue reading]

Camping with Thermo-electric Generation (Powered SmartPhones)

BioLite Kettle Pot over BioLite BaseCamp charging GoalZero lantern

While camping over Memorial Day this year, I witnessed several people complaining about their SmartPhones (iPhones, etc.) and having to sit around the bathroom trying to get even to 20% charge. Last year Alicia and I had to coordinate who had the … [Continue reading]

How to Easily Grill Corn on the Campfire

Campfire Grilled Corn

This year Ellie & Christor were old enough to actually help us plan for our annual camping trip, including participating in meal planning. They declared that they were going to make pancakes, and since I know that Ellie is perfectly … [Continue reading]

Movie Review of Rob Stewart’s Revolution

Revolution

I was asked to review the feature length documentary Revolution by Rob Stewart. The movie takes you on a journey under the water and around the world to see the impacts of climate change and the damage that we are doing to our planet. The … [Continue reading]