EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator

Looking for action to take to reduce the impacts of climate change? A successful response to the climate crisis takes action at all levels.

Big action is required. We finally have news that the XL Pipeline project has been stopped after years of organizing and protest.

Local action is needed. We have some great opportunities on Cape Ann to work on Climate Change mitigation through the Green Community Taskforce, and the Cape Ann Climate Coalition.

But even if you can’t get to a pipeline to protest against, and you don’t have the extra time to work on a town or Cape Ann committee, you can still contribute with small measures around your own home.

What parts of your lifestyle are still contributing to greenhouse gasses and what can you do about it?
The EPA provides this tool to calculate your carbon footprint.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

One great feature of this tool is that it provides a means of downloading the model as a spreadsheet so that you can see both the assumptions and all of the ways that the results are calculated.

Green Community Taskforce in Rockport

At our last RDTC meeting, Tom Mikus updated us on the efforts of the Green Community Taskforce in Rockport: https://www.rockportma.gov/green

In 2020 the Rockport Taskforce received a grant that fully pays for the following projects:
– Converting to LED lighting in the schools, which we completed in December
– Updating unit ventilators in the schools, which has been delayed due to availability of materials

They also laid the groundwork to begin the following projects in 2021:

According to Rockport’s Green Community Taskforce’s about page:

‘The Green Communities Designation and Grant Program has helped 185 cities and towns earn Green Community designation. As energy leaders in Massachusetts, Green Communities are eligible for state grants. More than $65 million from those Green Community grants is already at work in 155 communities, with more than $6 million in additional grants for energy projects in the newest 30 designated communities.

In late 2015 the Board of Selectmen appointed a Green Community Task Force to pursue this designation for Rockport.’

For more information about the committee, please see their webpage and explore their links.

Herring and Fish Counts and Eel, Oh My!

Last week on this site, we featured a video on small hydro projects. Uphill reservoirs of water can be a great way to store and generate energy, but they require a good deal of thought and planning around how they might affect the services that the natural watershed is providing.

One of the main issues to contend with in any hydro project is its affect on the eels and other fish that travel up the natural waterway to spawn and later back down the waterway to the ocean to give birth to the next generation. Hydro projects that don’t give a means for species to get around them going up stream, like a fish ladder, will prevent them from reaching their spawning grounds. As Eric Hutchens describes in the video, projects that don’t provide the proper filters and screens to keep the fish out of the power generating flow will create chum out of the downstream running species.

Perhaps you are thinking that eels are kind of creepy anyway and maybe even wondering whether there aren’t enough herring in the world already. But, as Eric points out, species like herring are feed stock for a chain of other fish that you might want to fish for, for fun or profit, even if you don’t appreciate the role they may play in the ecology of upland watershed.

Fish counting is a volunteer effort. If you’d like to become a part of the fish count in Rockport in person, Eric suggests contacting our Shellfish Warden, Rebecca Visnick, who can provide you with instructions.

Or, you could count fish in Plymouth, MA from the comfort of your own home by visiting https://www.plymouthriverherring.org/

Everything is connected.