Brookline Climate Week 2014: Bidder 70 Film

Bidder70

The 4th annual Brookline Climate Week started off yesterday with the documentary film Bidder 70 screened at the Coolidge Corner Theater.  The theme this year as stated by one of Climate Action Brookline’s board members was “linking the moral underpinnings of social and climate justice.”  The film depicts one of the more notable recent stories of injustice by following Timothy DeChristopher during the two years between his successful attempt to disrupt the illegal auction of public lands to oil and gas companies in Utah and his ultimate conviction and sentencing for that action.  It is literally heartbreaking to watch the judge block all bases for defense that have to do with moral conscience or that reference how the auction by the Bureau of Land Management was ultimately deemed unlawful anyhow.  During the discussion that followed the screening, the notion of grassroots climate change activism being the “abolitionist movement of our generation” was raised.  I get the comparison, not sure I feel too comfortable using it though.

Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Film, Sustainability | Leave a comment

Mayor Walsh Transition Committee Public Hearing on Environment

EnvironmentHearing

Newly elected Boston mayor Marty Walsh has appointed experts to several different committee areas to serve as aides in his transition to the role.  The process also involves public hearings to allow Boston residents and other stakeholders to voice their opinions in the desired format of: keep, implement and dream.  The hearing on Environment was held on January 7th at English High School in Jamaica Plain.  More than fifty people stood up – representing themselves as citizens, environmental organizations, park groups and others – to ask for the following:

Parks

  • Encouragement of visitation to Boston Harbor Islands National Park
  • 2016 anniversary celebration of the Park Service
  • Better maintenance of Mission Hill parks and increased recreational facilities
  • Audit to ensure environmental justice by neighborhood, equitable distribution of green space
  • More “rec” in Parks & Rec, sports and educational programs in parks
  • youth employment in public parks
  • East Boston Greenway walking/biking trail
  • implement policies for old and large trees
  • encourage visitation to Allendale Woods and other urban wilds
  • permanent protection for Hellenic Hill
  • plant 12,000 trees/year
  • keep parks friends groups associations
  • 1996 Boston Common management plan to prevent misuse and overuse
  • increase number of park rangers
  • hire an innovative parks commissioner
  • increase parks department budget to 1% of city budget
  • raise the three historic parks to highest level of excellence
  • hire a dedicated superintendent for public gardens (last one was 1906)
  • use best practices for park maintenance
  • management plans for all parks
  • simplify permitting for events in park
  • permit fees should be an income stream for park restoration
  • no driving on parkland
  • support for cultural programming
  • Franklin Park clubhouse turned into a restaurant and restoration of crumbling buildings
  • cessation of chemicals to maintain parks
  • park system wide volunteer program
  • better lighting in parks
  • Mayor’s office should become actively involved in Muddy River restoration project
  • Better maintenance of tennis courts as well as improved waste and water facilities

Toxic Substances

Green Jobs & Businesses

  • Minority inclusion in the “green economy”
  • job creation through recycling and composting
  • green internships for youth
  • Build on momentum Boston has for leadership and encourage innovation

Waste Management

  • zero-waste master planning that engages community and creates “green” jobs
  • open up participation in waste management for small start-ups
  • increase recycling to 50% citywide by 2020
  • “pay as you throw”
  • Restrict burning of trash

Climate Change & Flooding

  • Use new research to enact precautionary policies
  • restrict new building in flood zones
  • incentives for moving out of flood zones with housing lotteries
  • climate predictions for public health and emergency management procedures
  • increased private and public partnerships on climate change issues
  • call municipal officials and other stakeholders together for climate adaptation summit
  • regional planning for climate change issues
  • Address the fact that climate change is an equity issue – poor disproportionately affected by high heat days
  • Climate change should factor into all city decisions

Energy 

  • no new fossil fuel infrastructure purchases
  • Fix gas pipeline leaks
  • pressure energy conservation from businesses
  • promote solar panel installation and solar shares for renters
  • anti-idling laws
  • retro-fit city vehicles for diesel

Education

  • Environmental literacy for children
  • outdoor learning environments
  • hire school superintendent that understands sustainability

Public Transportation

  • discounted T-passes for students
  • expand bike network and analyze gaps

Water

  • Water conservation
  • gray water and rainwater usage resulting in job creation
  • keep the right to water policy and commission a study of discrimination in water shut offs
  • reduce storm water pollution in Charles River
  • Maintain groundwater monitoring

Urban Agriculture

  • Encouragement for locally grown food and farmers markets
  • allow residents to have chickens and beehives
  • community garden expansion, 1,000 more community garden plots in 4 years
  • urban agriculture expansion
  • use yard waste as composting in community gardens
  • keep Boston Office of Food Initiatives
  • Turn Brook Farm into a community farm and educational center

Organizations Represented

The hearing can be viewed on the Boston Neighborhood Network website.

Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Parks, Sustainability | Leave a comment

RE:Gift 2014

ReGiftIt is a few days after the Sustainable Fashion Collaborative’s Post-Holiday Clothing Swap and I find myself at yet another event where still-serviceable cast-offs are desired, though this time it is in order to donate them to the needy.  RE:GIFT 2014 was sponsored by Bacardi and Society on High, a restaurant and bar in the Financial District.  This time the request was specifically for items that keep you warm.

In exchange for the cozy donations that we brought, myself and a friend received two drink tickets each which were good for choices from a cocktail menu of drinks made with Bacardi.

This event, like the swap, suffered from the good-idea-poor-execution problem.  We may have been the only two who showed up!  I’m not entirely sure how the marketing went but I only saw it as I happened to be registering for something else on Eventbrite.  Too bad.

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Sustainability in Action: Post-Holiday Clothing Swap

Swap1

The Sustainable Fashion Collaborative (SFC) put on their second event this past Sunday, a clothing swap held at Bella Luna in Jamaica Plain, a restaurant that prides itself on supporting local non-profits.  During Boston Fashion Week 2013, the SFC exhibited sustainably-made fashions in a show that also included works highlighting issues in the garment industry.  For the Post-Holiday Clothing Swap, attendees were instructed to bring 5-10 pieces of unwanted clothing or accessories that were still “quality”. In exchange, participants received tokens for the number of items accepted for the swap to trade in for selections brought by others and free pizza!

I decided to bring mostly clothing and accessories that I have bought over the years but never wore, most still with tags.  The event workers collected all the items first to display “boutique style” on racks organized by type.  Anything rejected was donated to Rosie’s Closet (like one of my BNWT J. Crew skirts. Go figure!)  While the clothing was being arranged, swappers waited at the bar where lucky for me they had Downeast Cider on tap!

When it came time to start swapping, it became clear to me that I did not share the same definition of “quality” as my fellow swappers and those deciding what to accept or reject clearly dropped their standards at some point as they went through items.  Many things could be described as wacky, ugly, pilled, ripped or just plain worn out.  Most of it was just boring.  I had 8 tokens but really strained my taste to find even 2 to bring home.

Swap3 Swap2Swap4

As events go, I would say this was a good idea with room to improve execution.  The organizers probably need to find a way to have the clothing dropped off earlier so they have time to really sort through it.

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