Rockport Climate Impact Workshops – TownGreen Feb 22

Over the Transom from Town Green:

TownGreen Announces
Rockport Climate Impact Workshops

TownGreen will host its second round of Cape Ann climate impact workshop webinars, this time on Rockport’s Long Beach and the Downtown area, specifically the Dock Square pumping station and Bearskin Neck.

The first Rockport workshop webinar will be held on Wednesday, February 22nd 6:30-8:30pm on Zoom (register here). Participants will hear from local experts who will address storm surge on Long Beach, beach erosion, associated issues due to the seawall, and damage to the salt marsh. A guided field trip to Long Beach at an astronomical high tide will be on Monday, February 20 from 10:30am to 11:30. Take Glenmere Road off Thatcher Road.

The TownGreen program committee decided a month ago to focus the second Rockport workshop webinar on the Dock Square wastewater pumping station. The news this week of its failure during a winter rainstorm and the subsequent release of 758,000 gallons of sewage overflow that consisted, or likely consisted, of untreated or partially treated sewage and waste entering the harbor, merits a more detailed look. The impact of sea level rise and storm surge on Bearskin Neck will also be explored.

The second workshop webinar will be held on Wednesday, March 8th 6:30-8:30pm on Zoom. A field trip at high tide will take place on Friday, March 24th from 2:00-3:00pm. We will meet at Barletta Park, across from Harvey Park.

The last workshop webinar in the Rockport series will look at adaptation and implementation solutions for Downtown Rockport and will be held on Wednesday, March 29th 6:30-8:30pm on Zoom. Participants will review impacts to existing structures and infrastructure and join breakout sessions to discuss questions related to climate impacts on Long Beach and Downtown Rockport.

Check the TownGreen website for more information on updates and registration.

Offshore Wind Webinar Tues May 3rd

Many of our members have expressed an interest in more conversation about offshore wind. One of the Candidates for Lt Gov mentioned the City of Salem’s plans to use their deep water port to support OSW. This info came over the transom from the Cape Ann Climate Coalition’s Community Building and Education Group. Flyer image below. (Thanks to Susan Hoague! for passing this on.)


Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 7-8:30 pm


Presented by
Ann Climate Coalition’s Community Building & Education Group

Topics and Speakers:

  • Exciting Things are Happening with OSW in Salem
    with Cindy Keegan, Co-Chair, Salem Alliance for the Environment (S.A.F.E.)
  • Economic Opportunities in OSW Development
    with Jay Borkland, Director of Ports and Supply Chain at Avangrid
  • Benefits of OSW for Gloucester’s Municipal Aggregation Program with Larry Chretien, Director of the Green Energy Alliance
  • Maritime Jobs that Support OSW with Bob Blair, Ship Pilot and Business Owner
    For More Information:

Massachusetts is moving forward in a significant way with OSW development plans as a means to reach Net-Zero. It is up to us to protect the things we need and love: marine life, sustainable fishing, and economic benefits.

TownGreen2025 announces the launch of an important local climate study

TownGreen2025 Just announced:

“…the launch of a year-long, Cape Ann-based climate study in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (HGSD). This study started on September 1, 2021 and will identify unique challenges, opportunities, resources, and recommendations relevant to the four municipalities: Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Essex.

The Environmental Protection Agency selected Cape Ann for a 2021 “Building Blocks for Resilience” technical assistance program that will help identify strategies for climate resilience and federal and state funding sources, as well as develop local financing strategies for climate recommendations. Cape Ann was one of four regions in the US to receive this assistance. TownGreen 2025 raised funds to engage Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design to research and deliver a study about climate vulnerabilities across the Cape Ann region based on four case scenarios that focus on the themes of mitigation, resilience, and adaptation.”

Learn more about the Harvard Study at

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:

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.

Transparency in the MA Legislature

At our last RDTC meeting on May 22nd, we heard from local SwingLeft activist Alix Smullin on efforts to improve transparency in the MA Legislative process. Climate related legislation in MA has the broad support of both voters and legislators, yet has difficulty getting passed into law. Alix brought to our attention a recent policy brief by the Climate and Development Lab at Brown CSSN Research Report 2021: Who’s Delaying Climate Action in Massachusetts? TwelveFindings .

1:​ Four distinct industry coalitions lobby against environmentalists
2:​ Testimony in legislative committees is nine to one in support of climate action
3:​ On lobbying, clean energy advocates are outspent more than 3.5 to 1
4:​ Renewable energy interest groups stick to narrow industrial interests
5:​ Utilities lobby against solar energy, but support large hydro & wind power
6:​ Utility companies are uniquely successful throughout the legislative process
7:​ AIM (Associated Industries of Mass.) lobbies and speaks against rapid climate action
8:​ The fossil fuel industry lobbies heavily against pipeline rules, divestment, and carbon pricing
9:​ The real estate industry resists residential energy efficiency bills
10:​ Power generators fight hydro and wind supply
11:​ Opponents no longer deny the reality of climate change, but focus on cost and reliability
12:​ Climate action is tightly controlled by State House committees and leadership’

They recommend, ‘far greater transparency on committee and floor votes, better reporting on lobbying and committee inputs, better controls on utilities, and broader engagement by renewable energy companies in climate policy.’

In other legislative districts, local committees have formed to work with their representatives. Some town committees have joined the effort as a committee.

For more information see A Campaign for Rules Reform by Act on Mass. If you have an interest in joining the local effort to improve transparency, please contact Alix.

Climate Change Summit + Lancet

Happy Earth Day!

Washington Post ‘President Biden on Thursday — Earth Day — is convening dozens of world leaders, including Pope Francis, for a two-day virtual climate summit, with the aim of putting the United States back at the forefront of the global issue after a retrenchment under President Donald Trump.’

Washington Post video of POTUS and VPOTUS opening remarks
‘We really have no choice, if we want to get this done’
President Biden’s opening remarks are at the very beginning of the video, after Vice President Harris.

Last week, we introduced the book Drawdown, which identified the most doable solutions to Climate issues. We will return to the Drawdown project, in the future, to drill down into individual solutions, but this week we have focused more on the motivation for taking on these tasks.

We turn today to the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate
“Climate change underpins all the social and environmental determinants of health but also has positive implications. The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change is an international, multi-disciplinary research collaboration between academic institutions following on from the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change.”

The Lancet has created a youtube playlist of short, well crafted, and easily shared, messages on the connections between Climate and Health.

Here are a few examples:
The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: 2020 report

Lancet Countdown 2020: Challenges and solutions

And finally, the Lancet has recently released a Framework to Guide Planetary Health Education

‘The Planetary Health Education Framework considers five foundational domains that we believe comprise the essence of planetary health knowledge, values, and practice.’

  • ‘Fostering compassion for planet Earth through the recognition of the personal, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of the education process is the central element of the framework.’
  • ‘Second, the anthropocene and health. The anthropocene is characterized by massive disruptions in earth system processes that have resulted from the ballooning of humanity’s ecological footprint.’
  • ‘Third, systems thinking and complexity. The field of planetary health draws upon approaches to systems thinking that have long been a focus in the field of ecology and describes how various elements interact and coalesce as part of complex systems.’
  • ‘Fourth, equity and justice. Equity and justice in planetary health are founded on the rights of humans and the rights of nature, giving all human populations and ecosystems, present and future, the opportunity to attain their full vitality.’
  • ‘Fifth, movement building and systems change. Effective movement building is needed to solve the urgent planetary health crisis.’

What is ‘systems thinking”? Look forward to more about that next week.

Again….Happy Earth Day!