Category: Monthly Climate Actions

February Featured Climate Actions

Do you believe that Climate Change threatens our future? Then empower yourself and act on your convictions! We urgently need to act on many levels at once: personal, community, state/national/global, and keeping ourselves informed and inspired. Consider these monthly suggestions or do an action of your choice every month. These featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. To learn more contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.

1. Personal: Downsize the space you heat in the winter. This winter’s bitter cold has certainly spiked your heating bill. Consider a change in lifestyle where winter is a time of contraction and pulling in to a smaller, cozier area in your home. Are there areas you don’t need to heat, such as bedrooms, and under-used living spaces that you could close off with doors or curtains? As a longer term fix, consider building in a permanent way to seal off un-needed areas in the winter.

2. Community: Host a games night, music night, or movie night with your nearby neighbors. Building connections with neighbors breaks down isolation and lays the groundwork for future projects involving neighborhood cooperation.

3. State/National/Global: On Feb. 8,join a rally in Salem, MA to stand in solidarity with community leaders there who do not want a new natural gas plant to replace the retiring coal plant that has plagued the Salem community with pollution and disease for six decades. More info here (scroll down to “Only the Best for Salem”)

4. Inform yourself: If you are still unconvinced that climate change is real, human-caused, and urgent, this site of the Natural Resources Defense Council (click here) provides a comprehensive overview. If you question whether your actions can make a difference, click here to read the New York Times editorial by Michael Pollan titled, “Why Bother?”  

January Featured Climate Actions

Are you alarmed about Climate Change but don’t know what YOU can do about it? To provide focus and encourage action that is so urgently needed, each month the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence provides suggestions at each of 4 levels: personal, community, state/national/global, and educational. To learn more about this group contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.

1. Personal: This suggestion is simple but often overlooked. Reduce home heating use by wearing warmer clothes indoors: long underwear, sweaters, fleece jackets, vests, fingerless gloves, cozy slippers, even a hat. This can really make a difference in your comfort without ballooning your energy bill.

2. Community: Sign up for the 5-session discussion of the book Navigating the Coming Chaos by Carolyn Baker. The book offers guidance and specific exercises to help cope with our grief, anger, fear and other emotions about climate change, peak oil, and economic unpredictability. Meets 3rd Mon. of the month starting 1/27 at the Unitarian Society in Northampton. To register, or for more info, or to order a copy of the book, contact Alison Bowen at abowengoshen@aol.com or 268-9924.

3. State/National/Global: Attend the Fossil Fuel Divestment Panel on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 10:00 am to noon at the Springfield Central Library at 220 State Street. Sponsored by 350ma.org, Better Future Project and Climate Action Now-MA, this is one in a series of statewide public discussion forums whose focus is state fossil fuel divestment legislation (S. 1225) as a strategy to address climate change. The panel will be composed of experts on student divestment, faith based divestment and the financial sector. More info here

4. Inform yourself: The article “The Fossil Fuels War” by John Bellamy Foster in the 9/1/13 Monthly Review (link here) begins with a succinct explanation of the implications of deepwater drilling, fracking, and the exploitation of tar-sands oil. He then lays out the strategies and conflicts between climate activists, fossil fuel companies, and the Obama administration, and concludes with the assessment that economic growth under a capitalist system is the fundamental paradigm that needs to be changed to maintain a “safe operating space” for human survival.

December Featured Climate Actions

We all know about Climate Change but may feel overwhelmed and ask ourselves “What can I do?” To provide focus and encourage action that is so urgently needed, each month USNF Climate Action Group (CAG) provides suggestions at each of 4 levels: personal, community, state/national/global, and educational. To learn more about the CAG contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.


1. Personal:Interested in owning solar electricity generation but unable to install it on-site? If you live in Northampton, Williamsburg, Goshen, Shutesbury, Wendell, or Granby you are eligible to buy into a community solar array in Harvard, MA. Electricity generated by your share appears as a credit on your National Grid bill. Participants are eligible for Solar Renewable Energy Credits and state and federal grants. Lots of information is available at here. The deadline complete registration is Dec 31, so don’t delay!

 

2. Community: Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about a climate change issue of your choice. Reach into your heart and get in touch with some authentic feelings you have about climate change. Do these feelings suggest an action, idea, or thought you’d like to share publically? If climate change is important to you, speak up!

 

3. State/National/Global: 350MA has organized a “Climate Legacy Campaign” to encourage Massachusetts Governor Patrick to consider the environmental legacy of his administration. More info about the campaign is here. Click here to download a sheet of 4 postcards. Have copies printed on cardstock of your choice, and give them out to MA friends and co-workers to sign and send in. Share this link with MA friends via Facebook or email and ask them to do the same.

 

4. Inform yourself: Attend a panel discussion about Decommissioning Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Sun. Dec. 8, 2-4 pm at Bridge St. School in Northampton. The plant is closing late in 2014, and the decommissioning process is potentially more dangerous than actual operation. Inform yourself of the compelling and critical safety, financial, and political ramifications.

 

November Featured Climate Actions

We all know about climate change but may feel overwhelmed and ask ourselves, “What can I do?”  To help provide focus the USNF Climate Action Group (CAG) provides suggestions for monthly activities at each of 4 levels: personal, community, state/national/global, and educational. To learn more about the CAG contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.

1. Personal: This is a biggie. Make a commitment to reduce or eliminate your airplane miles travelled in 2014. Per person (assuming the plane is 100% full), one round trip between Boston and L.A. consumes about 1/3 the fuel as driving 11,000 miles in a 35 mpg car.  Per person, one round trip between Boston and Antarctica consumes about the same as the above car. The actual climate impact of aviation may be much higher due to the additional effects of water vapor and oxides of nitrogen that are also released high into the atmosphere. For details on this calculation, please email Molly.

2. Community: Convene a neighborhood meeting to brainstorm ways to prepare for power outages and major storms. Identify neighbors who may need special support and neighbors willing to share assets such as wood stoves or generators. Families can help each other to develop emergency kits and plans. One useful book is Just In Case by Kathy Harrison which explains how to prepare for loss of power, various natural disasters, pandemics and fire.

3. State/National/Global:  Before the hearing date of November 12 write to your state representative and senator to support H2935, An Act to Transition to a Clean Energy Commonwealth. The bill would phase out all MA’s coal plants and facilitate economic transition plans for affected communities and workers. For more info see http://www.progressivemass.com/an_act_to_transition_to_a_clean_energy_commonwealth_page

4.  Inform yourself:  Warm up by viewing the 10 minute video Last Hours at lasthours.org. Recently produced by Thom Hartmann, it outlines the real possibility of human extinction caused by the runaway release of methane from undersea and under permafrost. Then settle in with The Global Warming Reader, edited by Bill McKibben. This 2012 book contains essays from over 30 esteemed contributors on the science, politics, and impact of global climate change.

October Featured Climate Actions

This is the sixth our series of “Climate Actions of the Month”, brought to you by the USNF Climate Action Group (CAG).  It is a way to provide focus and build a spirit of collective action as we each do what we can to tackle climate change.  Each monthly bundle of actions touches on four levels:  personal, community, state/national/global and educational. To learn more contact Molly Hale at  hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.

1.  Personal:  Drive slower on the highway to dramatically improve gas mileage.  In general, the performance of cars driving above 55 mph drops off rapidly because wind resistance increases at the increase  in  speed  squared.    Save  money  and  CO2   by  slowing  down!    For  more  information  see www.drive55.org and the Consumer Reports website.

2.   Community:   Attend one of the TD Bank Protests on October 5 in Amherst, Northampton, Springfield, Holyoke and Greenfield.
Civil disobedience as well as legal participation will protest TD Bank’s financing of Tar Sands oil mining and the pipelines (such as the Keystone XL) to transport the oil to the coasts for export and sale.  Such civil disobedience would be part of the “Pledge of Resistance” organized by the progressive phone company Credo Mobile.  Over 70,000 people all over the country have signed on so far, agreeing to take non-violent direct action to stop Tar Sands oil pipelines and shut down the Tar Sands mining in Canada itself.  Contact johnpberk@gmail.com for more information.

3. State/National/Global: Attend the Keystone XL Pipeline sit-in in Boston on Monday, October 7.
To build pressure on the Obama administration as it nears a decision on the Keystone pipeline, there will be a sit-in in Secretary of State John Kerry’s home town of Boston.  This will be a peaceful and dignified action organized by Credo, where participants can choose to risk arrest or participate legally.  All those risking arrest must be firmly committed to principles of non-violence and attend action training on Sunday afternoon before the action. To sign up click here.

4.  Inform yourself:  Watch the Bill Moyers interview on Making People Care about Climate Change.  Moyers interviews Anthony Leiserowitz, who specializes in the psychology  of  risk  perception.    Go  to  Bill Moyers’ website here to watch the interview.

September Featured Climate Actions

This is the fifth of a continuing series of monthly “Climate Actions of the Month”, brought to you by the USNF Climate Action Group (CAG). It is a way to provide focus and build a spirit of collective action as we each do what we can to tackle climate change. Each monthly bundle of actions touches on 4 levels: personal, community, state/national/global, and educational. Our website will be coming soon and will offer resources to support the monthly actions. To learn more about the CAG contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.


1. Personal: Attend a civil disobedience training workshop on Sunday Sept. 22 in Northampton. The workshop will cover the philosophy and history of non-violence, role-playing in how to carry it out in a peaceful, dignified manner, the legal consequences in dealing with the police, arraignment in court, what to expect in terms of fines/jail/community service, etc.  It will be led by Jeff Napolitano of the American Friends Service Committee and Luke Ryan, attorney and member of the National Lawyers Guild. Time: 2-8 pm, with short BYO dinner break at 6pm.   Place: Frances Crowe Community Room at the Media Education Foundation, 32 Masonic St.  Cost: Free!

 The workshop is not only for those considering civil disobedience at future actions but also for those who would like to help in a legal, support role for those choosing to risk arrest.

RSVP to John Berkowitz at 413 325-4533 or johnpberk@gmail.com

2. Community: Northampton residents–attend the City Council meeting on Sept. 5 at 7 pm to support the 2nd reading of the Resolution on Fossil Fuel Divestment, available to view here:http://www.northamptonma.gov/citycouncil/uploads/listWidget/12252/Resolution%20Fossil%20Fuel%20Divestment.pdf At the 1st reading on Aug 15, the resolution passed with 5 yes votes and 2 abstentions.

Residents of other towns: Join other residents to present a similar resolution to your own town government.

3. State/National/Global: 1.Sign the state pension divestment petition on gofossilfree.org  http://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divest-the-state-of-massachusetts-pension-funds.

2.Then attend the rally at the Statehouse in Boston when the petition will be delivered. The proposed pension divestment bill, S 1225, would require the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) to freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies, and to divest from direct holdings in fossil fuel companies within 5 years. The bill will be heard at 11 am. The rally is at 9:30. College groups, faith based groups, unions, retirees, and environmental organizations will all be represented.

 

4. Inform yourself: To remind yourself of the urgency of our climate situation and consider a global course of action,read Eaarth by Bill McKibben. He explains how climate change is changing our planet so radically that it no longer operates like the old familiar Earth, and we need to shift our way of living on it just as radically if we are to survive. He lays out a vision of how we might survive by scaling our societies and economies back to essentials and building close-knit communities through which we can support one another.

 

July Featured Climate Actions

This is the fourth of a continuing series of monthly “Climate Actions of the Month”, brought to you by the USNF Climate Action Group (CAG). It is a way to provide focus and build a spirit of collective action as we each do what we can to tackle climate change. Each monthly bundle of actions touches on 4 levels: personal, community, state/national/global, and educational. Our website will be coming soon and will offer resources to support the monthly actions. To learn more about the CAG contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.


1. Personal: If you own a house or business in Northampton, check out the website solarizenorthampton.com and sign up for a personal home or business evaluation with Real Goods Solar. The deadline to sign up is Sept. 30. If you have thought that you can’t afford solar, you may be surprised. Typical payback for owning your own system takes only 5 years, but the solar panels keep generating electricity for at least 25-30 years.

If you live outside of Northampton, contact an independent local solar installer about getting a PV system. Currently available rebates and low prices on the hardware make this a really good time to get PV, whether through Solarize or another program.

And if you haven’t already done so, contact the Center for Ecological Technology for a free Mass Energy audit: laura.biddulph@cetonline.org This is a requirement prior to installation of a solar system through Solarize Northampton.

 

2. Community: Volunteer to help Solarize Northampton by tabling or hosting an informational house party for neighbors. Contact solarizenorthampton@gmail.com to help.

 

3. State/National/Global: Participate in the“Summer Heat” mass mobilization of non-violent direct action organized by 350.org and taking place at sites across the country. Our region’s action will be in Somerset, MA to shut down the Brayton Point Coal Plant, the largest fossil fuel plant between Maryland and Maine. The action takes place on Sunday July 28, with training on July 27. Learn more and sign up at http://joinsummerheat.org/

 

4. Inform yourself: The Summer 2013 issue of UU World magazinehas 3 articles related to climate change. Links to these articles are below. Read them and initiate conversations with others in our congregation.

 

“Adaptation and Defiance” http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/285901.shtml

“Fossil Fuel Divestment is Moral, Strategic” http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/285524.shtml

“Fossil Fuel Divestment is Not the Answer” http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/285525.shtml

 

June Featured Climate Actions

This is the third of a continuing series of monthly “Climate Actions of the Month”, brought to you by the USNF Climate Action Group (CAG). It is a way to provide focus and build a spirit of collective action as we each do what we can to tackle climate change. Each monthly bundle of actions touches on 4 levels: personal, community, state/national/global, and educational. Our website will be coming soon and will offer resources to support the monthly actions. To learn more about the CAG contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.

 

1. Personal: If you have a vegetable garden, focus on keeping it mulched, watered, and tended consistently this season. If you don’t, try growing vegetables in containers such as 5 gallon buckets. Here’s one website with details on how to do this: http://containergardening.about.com/od/vegetablesandherbs/tp/5-Tips-For-Growing-Tomatoes-In-Containers.htm

2. Community: Plant fruit trees with other neighbors. Many fruit trees require more than one plant in order to pollinate. Why not plan with your neighbors to coordinate planting trees that will pollinate with each other? Local garden centers can advise on the best varieties for our region and how to get started.

3. State/National/Global: Support Ed Markey for U.S. senator. Mark your calendar to vote in the Special Election on June 25. Markey is a far better candidate in terms of climate change, by supporting the Kyoto protocol, voting against the Keystone Pipeline and leading the congressional investigation into the BP oil spill. To volunteer or contribute to his campaign, visit http://www.edmarkey.com/. His opponent, Gomez, supports the Keystone pipeline and on his official website seems to favor business over meaningful climate actions.

4. Inform yourself: Plan a movie night with friends or neighbors to watch a documentary about climate change. It’s important to keep reminding ourselves of why dealing with climate change is so urgent. Some possibilities are Six Degrees Could Change the World by National Geographic and available from our local library system, Do the Math by 350.org, available on YouTube, and Chasing Ice, available from Netflix.

 

 

May Featured Climate Actions

This is the second of a continuing series of monthly “Climate Actions of the Month”, brought to you by the USNF Climate Action Group (CAG). It is a way to provide encouragement and build a spirit of collective effectiveness as we each do what we can to tackle climate change. Each monthly bundle of actions touches on 4 levels: personal, community, state/national/global, and educational. Our website will be coming soon and will offer resources to support the monthly actions. To learn more about the CAG contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791.

 

1. Personal:Make a personal pledge tohang your laundry to dry whenever possible. On average 5.8% of U.S. residential energy use is from using clothes dryers. Laundry lines, umbrella-style outdoor drying racks, or wooden racks for indoors or outdoors are some of the many options, all available at your favorite local hardware store. A great source of info and support including FAQs about wrinkles, stiff clothes and drying in winter is http://www.laundrylist.org

2. Community: Attend a meeting of a local climate action group. The USNF Climate Action Group meets after the 2nd service on 1st and 3rd Sundays: this month May 5 in the Sam Hill Room and May 19 in the Parlor. The local group Climate Action Now is meeting Sunday, May 19 at ARISE, 4pm-6pm, 467 State St, Springfield. Their website is http://dev.climateactionnowma.org/

3. State/National/Global: Donate money to a group actively campaigning against climate change. Some choices:

350.org http://350.org/about

National Resources Defense Council http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/

Friends of the Earth http://www.foe.org/

The Sierra Club http://www.sierraclub.org/

Greenpeace http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/

4. Inform yourself: The July 2, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone magazine contains a pivotal article by Bill McKibben titled, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math”. In it he clearly lays out the argument of why much of the fossil fuel resources now considered available by fossil fuel companies must stay in the ground if we are to avoid a severely compromised future climate. The article is also online at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

 

 

 

April Featured Climate Actions

For the Pioneer, 3/21/2013

 

The USNF Climate Action Group (CAG) has been busy working on a number of fronts to address the issue of climate change. We know that many USNF members and friends are also deeply concerned and perhaps overwhelmed about this monumental problem and would like to feel that personal actions they take are meaningful. We believe that personal actions alone are inadequate without community support and infrastructure, and without political and economic policy changes. On the other hand, individuals have to be willing to change aspects of their lifestyles in order for policy changes to become acceptable in society. As a way to provide encouragement and build a spirit of collective action, the CAG is excited to launch this April the first of a continuing series of monthly “Climate Actions of the Month”. Each bundle includes a timely action on each of 4 levels: personal, community, state/national/global, and educational. We encourage you commit to one or more of these actions each month, knowing that we are working on the same goals together. If a suggested action doesn’t work for you, feel free to substitute an action of your choice that is meaningful to you. We are working on developing a website that will have more detailed info on the whys and hows of each action, as well as a way we can track our progress together, and collect your ideas of actions into a master list. The CAG meets the 1st and 3rd Sunday each month after the 2nd service. Please join us! To learn more about the CAG contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791. This month’s actions focus on the tar sands, about which President Obama will be making a crucial decision within weeks.

 

April Featured Climate Actions

 

1. Personal:Get a residential energy audit through Mass Save to determine the energy improvements most appropriate for your home. 75% of the cost (up to $2000) of energy improvements may be paid by your utility. Whether you are a homeowner, a renter, or a landlord, call Mass Save at 1-866-527-7283.

2. Community: Organize a neighborhood potluck to develop familiarity among neighbors. This will help lay the groundwork for neighborhood cooperation on many levels.

3. State/National/Global:

a.) Call Obama ASAP at 202-456-1111 to urge him to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands material. We need to start reducing CO2 emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. If Keystone is approved then we’re locking in a several more decades of dependence on fossil fuels.

b.) Sign the CREDO petition to urge Obama to say no the Keystone pipeline. The URL is here: http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/kxl_seis/?r=13093920&id=55907-908966-vwHoWcx

4. Inform yourself: Learn about tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline. Much info can be found on the web, but here are two articles to start with:

http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/about-2/why-oppose-kxl/

and http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/canadas-oil-sands/

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