"Almost a year ago, a group of Bedford citizens concerned about climate change started looking into what it would take for Bedford to become a Net Zero community. A Net Zero community offsets its annual greenhouse gas emissions with carbon-free energy production. We felt that this would be a concrete and meaningful way for Bedford to combat climate change. We were inspired by Cambridge, Somerville, Boston, Lexington, and Concord, communities that are currently implementing or developing Net Zero plans for themselves."
We knew it was a good sign when City Council’s President Michelle Wu presided over the Community Choice Energy (CCE) hearing with her baby in her lap. Climate change and its threats seemed more urgent with one of the youngest members of our community sitting on her lap. Clean energy advocates, including over twenty Mothers Out Front mothers - some with their own children by their side - packed the large room to demonstrate support for CCE. A day later the Boston City Council voted unanimously to implement it! CCE allows Boston to purchase 5% more clean energy than the state-mandated minimum. Over 200,000 households and small businesses will have access to clean energy without having to do more than just switch on their lights.
Amherst's Mothers have two items on the Town Meeting warrant. One calls for all new public buildings to be net Zero Energy. The other calls for support to go 100% renewable and introduces the California model of Community Choice Energy that we're working on with activists from Pelham and Northampton for a multi-community CCE.
We've presented to several town committees and are organizing members to email and call their TM reps. It's a great opportunity to involve members who aren't actively counting already. There has been lots of press, letters to the editor, and positive responses from the community.
Mother Out Front Renu Bostwick of Bedford is working with her team to push their town toward Net Zero Planning. Read her article for The Bedford Citizen.
Moms take the mic and raise the stakes at the RTO public forum:
"The forum’s 150 attendees were mostly industry stakeholders, regulators and RTO officials. But there was also a three-woman contingent from Mothers Out Front, a climate change activist group, who pressed RTO planners on the region’s continued reliance on fossil-fueled generation. Carol Chamberlain, of Arlington, Mass., raised concerns about methane leaks in the natural gas supply chain. Randi Soltysiak, of Somerville, Mass., criticized the RTO’s plan for not shifting more heavily to carbon-free sources."
In Massachusetts, "the Gas Leaks Allies — a coalition of 21 environmental groups, researchers, legal and policy experts, health professionals, labor unions, community organizations, and MOTHERS — are ready to help..." the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) "find manageable ways to measure and monitor methane emissions so we can establish dramatic but achievable goals." #TogetherWeCanDoThis
On September 7th, Mothers Out Front team reps were at the state house in the morning to join 350MA for a meeting with Sen. Cindy Friedman and her Policy Advisor, Deborah Brown.
From Judith Glixon, Lexington Mother Out Front:
"We were, by the end of the meeting, 9 of her constituents (representing 350 Mass, Mothers Out Front, Jewish Climate Action Network, and a few other organizations) asking her to provide testimony on behalf of the bills that 350 Mass has prioritized in their "350 Mass Legislative Agenda," which you can see here.
The outcome was as follows:
Sen. Friedman is in favor of, and will provide testimony to T.U.E. for, all the issues listed, with the exception of the carbon pricing bills which she says she still needs more information on to better understand them. She stated that she welcomes any and all input related to all of these bills. She also recommended that no legislators' support should be taken for granted on any bills, so they should be lobbied regardless of what our assumptions are about their views."
"Mothers with kids turned out in Waltham, MA to say 'thank you' to those from National Grid who partnered with Mothers Out Front in a first-of-its-kind pilot study aimed at fixing the larger gas leaks from underground pipes in the most effective ways possible."
Mothers Out Front in Amherst and Northampton are both doing projects with ener-G-save, a local philanthropic venture that takes thermal image of homes thought the Pioneer Valley. We're helping get the word out to residents that they can make their homes more comfortable and healthy by making them more energy efficient.
Lee Jennings, a mom in Amherst, made a toss game, a house with holes where the energy is leaking out. We tried it out at the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival earlier in August. Kids loved trying to throw corks though the holes to "plug the leaks." If they got three plugged, they could put a solar panel on the roof. Meanwhile...we talked with the moms dads about energy efficiency.
"Audrey Schulman, president of Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET), said a recent study by Harvard and Boston universities showed about 2.7 percent of the gas that was supposed to reach consumers in Massachusetts escaped into the atmosphere through leaks. Schulman said the impact of that much methane, which she called “a greenhouse gas on steroids,” is equivalent to the emissions from all of the state’s stores and businesses.
Schulman said another study showed the majority of the emissions came from a small percentage of the gas leaks. HEET has been working with the utility companies and another group, Mothers Out Front, in hopes of finding these particularly bad leaks."
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