Vision, Policy & Legislation
June 2020 Updates
Our VPL Workgroup holds a monthly meeting on the second or third Sunday evening of the month.
The Vision group has been active with planning a possible Harvard study of mitigation adaptation and resilience scenarios for all of Cape Ann. See the separate report below on the Harvard Study.
The Policy Group is working on three topics in separate groups:
- Waste Innovation Collaborative: this group is working on options for a new approach to waste on Cape Ann that would include both sewerage, plastics, and other biomass as in fish waste. This is a possible focus area for the Harvard study, among many others.
- Managed Retreat: Rising seas are a definite threat to our way of life on Cape Ann, and policies to address this are a focus area of this group.
- Divestment in Fossil Fuel companies: this group has resulted in two of the TownGreen2025 webinars being held, which will address both institutional investments in endowments and pension funds and personal investments in mutual funds and credit cards.
The Legislature Group is working on advocating for mitigation, adaption and resilience legislation that will affect Cape Ann directly. There will be a survey soon of all 160 coalition members that will ask people to rate in 12 different focus areas for climate legislation that they are interested in seeing prioritized, and perhaps help advocate for. Please take some time to fill out the survey when it shows out in your inbox. The results of the survey will be shown at the upcoming Coalition all-member meeting on June 25.
This group recently was advocating for the Gloucester City Council to pass a resolution supporting the Futures Act ( see below) which was successfully passed, with the advocacy also of the Gloucester Clean Energy Commission. This bill will probably not pass this year but is gaining momentum for future years. ( no pun intended)
As the legislative group learns more about the intricacies of effective advocacy and lobbying, we would like everyone to learn more about the process of legislating in Massachusetts. So Marcia Hart has written an outline of how a bill goes from concept to passage, a process that usually takes at least 2-3 years and often longer. See the Legislative outline of this process below.
April 2020 Updates
Vision, Policy, and Legislature has four workgroups
Managed Retreat has decided to focus on getting up to speed on the state of the art of MR globally and in other US communities. It decided that going too early with too much challenging information to the public at large could be damaging to the prospects of actually adopting Cape Ann municipal policies in this area. Jayne Knott recommends the Georgetown Climate Center as the best website for information and policies on MR.
Divestment from Carbon Subsidies: Denny Dart is readying a webinar which could be shown this spring as part of the TownGreen2025 Climate Forum options to replace the 4.18.20 physical Climate Forum event. To deepen the policy side of the team on this topic, Dick will be reaching out to Arjuna Capital, one of whose principals, Natasha Lamb, lives in Manchester, MA.
The Waste Innovation Collaborative is studying models of how to make the next generation of the three waste treatment plants on Cape Ann (Essex is served by Gloucester) into innovative models of treating waste of all types, including plastics, and reduce the CO2 off-gas in the process. Vladimir Novotsky, a recently retired professor from Northeastern U., has a newly published text on this topic that the group is studying. They will also be studying other plants in the US and Europe that are more advanced than the Cape Ann existing plants and see what ideas have application to Cape Ann.
Legislature Group is developing a policy of listing all sustainability legislation on one page, with links to the full test of the legislation. In this time of Covid-19 they will be sending emails to the Climate Coalition participants, with options for signing letters or other actions that advance the legislation prospects in ways the full VPL workgroup agrees are valuable. The first such letter advocating for a 60% GHG reduction for 2030 was sent to the Secretary of DEE on April 10 and received 48 signatures from the greater Climate Coalition and friends.
27 Feb 2020 Update
- Vision Workgroup has received good feedback on original work from at second VPL group meeting and is meeting soon to integrate feedback into Vision statement
- Policy Workgroup is working on policies for three topics: Disinvestment in fossil fuels; ‘Managed Retreat’; Wastewater Treatment collaborative study.
- Education Policy work will present to TownGreen2025 event on April 18 at the GUUC
- Legislature Workgroup has developed one pager with links to all pending Climate related bills in the state legislature. We clarified with the OC, a method for any member of the large group to opt in for being send advocacy actions, such as signing a letter. The full VP workgroup will prioritize the top 2-3 pieces of legislation to focus on each month for advocacy work
- We will complete a draft Vision Statement for our Vision, Policy and Legislature workgroup of the climate crisis action planning group, The first version of the Vision will be complete by the end of March, 2020.
- We will complete a draft Climate Action Plan planning process by the end of June, 2020, connecting municipalities of Cape Ann, and other interested parties. We will use the Massachusetts Climate Action Process (MCAN) guidelines (see website).
- Marcia Hart has submitted some good work on legislative lobbying best practices and examples of groups that have been successful (Elder Climate Action; Mass Creative; Mothers Out Front). MH has identified pending MA Climate legislation.
- With input from Jim Gardner, Sam Cleaves, Greg Federspiel, and others, the group is identifying a significant gap between the knowledge, plans, and coordination of our Cape Ann municipalities and that of MA state agencies and legislature, and with each other.
- Karen Bell is suggesting a series of best practice steps, based on her public health background background, to detail the knowledge gap and address it.
- We are in a good dialog on focusing our attention on Cape Ann, while realizing that regional, state, nation and international decisions will very important to determining the severity of the climate crisis. Valerie Nelson’s experience is that our local plans will attract interest and influence beyond Cape Ann because of their innovation and comprehensiveness.
- Sam Silverman is interested in learning more from communities nationally and internationally that have already succeeded in getting to Net Zero Carbon.
- Jayne Knott has sent us a comprehensive report that the State of NH has made on their coastal communities. We will explore how MA can learn from NH on this level of regional planning?
- We will communicate with each other, and with other work groups through storing our documents and messages in a Google Drive type location. TBD
- We anticipate a regular monthly meeting or our full work group and another monthly meeting of the subgroups we will identify.