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Sustainable Belmont

*Wednesday*

Newspaper Valentine Rose

Family Event: 
Sustainable Valentines!

February 5th, 4-6 p.m. in the Flett Room, Belmont Public Library 
Come make a valentine with Sustainable Belmont for Valentine’s Day! Express your love and appreciation for your family, your BFF or someone special. We will recycle and upcycle materials such as papers, fabrics and other treasures to create unique and heartfelt cards. You’ll be able to try your hand at some traditional glues from organic sources and have fun doing it! All ages welcome!
 

Sustainable Social Hour

February 5th, 6-7 p.m. in the Flett Room, Belmont Public Library 
Please join us between Valentine-making and our regular meeting for catching up and pre-meeting discussion.
*For those of us staying through dinner, we will coordinate food.
 

Meeting

February 5th, 7-9 p.m. in the Flett Room, Belmont Public Library 
We will continue discussion of the Belmont Solar Challenge for the majority of this meeting, including, but not limited to further discussion of the tariff (the math), changes to the policy before starting a solar challenge, and the potential for a solar hot water initiative. Members we will hear from include, Rebecca McNeill, Claus Becker, Mark Davis, John Kolterman, Phil Thayer, and Kim Slack, among others involved in this initiative. 

We will have updates on the Safe Routes to Schools Community Task Force and the Green Communities application.

Please email with any other agenda items.
 

Upcoming

A Concert for the Silver Maple Forest: A Benefit for the Belmont Uplands

March 1, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Belmont Unitarian Universalist Church, 404 Concord Ave.
Musical Performers: foodbaby will open for The Loomers


The Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands is a non-profit corporation. The organization's appeal of the Wetlands Permit ended in November of 2013 without success – the appeal started in 2012 and took more than a year to argue and decide. 

The Coalition is now focused on ensuring that the Belmont's new stormwater by-law is enforced on the Uplands. To date, they have tracked what is arguably improper fulfillment of the 42 conditions in the 2007 ZBA Comprehensive Permit and building code issues (which could be appealed if a building permit were ever issued). Money raised will go to fund legal fees associated with the preservation of the wetland area.

Ongoing Initiatives

SRTS Walk to School Day in Bozeman, Montana
The Green Communities Application

Deadline: October 2014

Members of Sustainable Belmont have been working towards achieving the criteria for the Green Community designation for several years. Recently, a small group has met with town employees and presented the application process & materials to the Board of Selectman, having reviewed the criteria and determining Belmont appears to meet all 5. We anticipate achieving the designation this year provided it is feasible for Belmont municipal building to reduce their energy consumption by 20% in 5 years. For more information, please see our website and download the FAQ presented to the B.O.S. in December 2013.

Safe Routes to Schools Community Task Force

February 4, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
Location TBA


Sustainable Belmont is pleased to announce the first Safe Routes to Schools Community Task Force will hold its first meeting this week. Kate Bowen (SB), Heather Ross (SRTS) and Heather Drake (SRTS) have reached out to stakeholders in the community to create the collaborative group. We are pleased that representative members from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Community Development, the Police Department, the Traffic Advisory Committee, Burbank Elementary School, and Daniel Butler Elementary School have made a commitment to meet and coordinate support of the SRTS program. We look forward to including representatives from the Chenery, Wellington and Winn Brook schools. We also appreciate the support from the School Committee, as members are able to participate.

Safe Routes to Schools is a national program that is active to varying degrees (as desired) in the lower and middle schools in Belmont. The purpose of the community task force is to share best practices and coordinate efforts around safely walking and biking to school. SRTS benefits communities by helping increase the numbers of students safely walking or biking to schools and improving the health and environment of the communities served. SRTS recently reported positive outcomes, including that the percentage of parents who reported that their child's school supported walking and bicycling for the school commute rose from 24.9% to 33% [between 2007 and 2012]. Still, the need for increasing walking and cycling grows due to health and environmental concerns. The global population health burden of physical inactivity is said to be nearing that of cigarette smoking.

Even a short, daily 2-mile commute to drop off and pick up children at schools with an average vehicle can cost up to $2700 / yr (incl. maintenance). The carbon footprint of this small commute for the school year can result in up to 320 lb of CO2 exhausted into the environment (results vary with vehicle). Sustainable Belmont supports environmentally-sustainable modes of transportation.

Regional Highlights

Frances Moore Lappe
Concord Climate Action Network Highlights

France Moore Lappe: Eco-Mind: Changing the Way we Think to Create the World We Want

March 14, 2014, 7–9 p.m.
Trinitarian-Congregational Church, 54 Walden Street, Concord, Ma.

Spread more valentines with this activity: "Valentines Cards with Wayland BEElieve”
February 15, Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Home Depot, Speen Street, Natick, MA
Participants will be passing out valentines for the bees by asking that stores and shoppers discontinue the sale of bee-killing pesticides and garden plants pre-poisoned with these harmful chemicals.

Sustainable Arlington

Special Presentation: Mass. Water Resources Authority Climate Change Plans
February 04, Tuesday from 7–8 p.m.
The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) will be joined by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) to hear about their climate adaptation plans. How will the MWRA be impacted and what will change in the Mystic River Watershed? Please join MyRWA for this presentation as part of the monthly Committee Meeting.

The Ecological Effects of Invasive Plants
February 08, Saturday from 1–3 p.m.
Ecologist Eric Olson will share insights about the impacts of invasive and non-native plants on New England butterflies, songbirds, and other members of our local food webs. This is a good news story for biodiversity: as local conservation area managers and landscapers are learning of these impacts, management practices are changing. Olson will also address the controversial strategy of introducing non-native organisms to control earlier introductions. Registration is requested – event is free and open to the public.

Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition

Lexington is currently focused on a Solarize Campaign (they are served by an IOU) – a model we hope to emulate in Belmont.
Please visit their website for interesting past event lecture videos and current actions you may take on behalf of environmental conservation.

Members Share

Members of Sustainable Belmont
Members share news, articles and organizations of interest below. To start a conversation, we encourage you to post organizations, events and articles of interest on our Facebook page.

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy explores some of the most pressing issues related to land today, whether property taxes, affordable housing or smart growth and climate change.

The seven deadly sinners driving global warming 

Bicycle Buses Let Dutch Kids Pedal Together to School

Members, John Kolterman and Leslie Kolterman will be running as democrat delegates for the 2014 Democrat Convention. Voting will take place Saturday, Feb 8th 2-3pm at the Chenery Middle School. If you are a registered Democrat within the town of Belmont, you may cast a vote.

Have something for the newsletter? We appreciate your email to sustainablebelmont@gmail.com

Sustainable Belmont is an all-volunteer organization that has regular discussions, workshops and presentations to enable the community to be environmentally sustainable. Meetings and events are open to the public.

Kind regards,
Kate Bowen, Chair
Darrell King, Co-Chair
John Kolterman, Adviser

In nature nothing exists alone. — Rachel Carson
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Our mailing address is:
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