April 2011 Newsletter

Close to home, there are two by-laws for consideration at Belmont’s spring Town Meeting that have significant environmental impact on our community. The newly formed Energy Committee, under the leadership of Roger Colton and Ian Trodeas – Co-chairs, is advancing two of the goals of the Climate Action Plan developed by Sustainable Belmont and adopted by the Town.
Both the proposed tree by-law and the Stretch Code initiative, an option advanced by the state to help conserve energy, and one that has already been adopted by 63 communities across Massachusetts, serve to help Belmont move toward reaching its aspiration to be “an environmentally responsible community.” Sustainable Belmont supports the passage of both of these by-laws. The benefits are many and while we will refrain from restating them here, we refer you to the following links to learn more.
Additional details of both the Energy Stretch Code and the Tree By-law will soon be posted on our website:
At this month’s meeting, to be held on Wednesday April 6 at the Flett Room of the public library, we will brainstorm next steps for Sustainable Belmont in support of passage of these by-laws in advance of the April 25th Town Meeting.
Also at this meeting, State Representative Will Brownsberger will speak about the “state of the State” as it relates to new and ongoing efforts to conserve energy and advance other sustainability issues across the commonwealth.
Time permitting, a restatement of initial findings in Sustainable Belmont’s effort to envision priorities and goals for the group over the next several years will be shared and an invitation will be tenured to join in ongoing conversation that will help to make this group’s efforts even more effective in the future.
In closing, as we explore issues close to Belmont, it is important to look outward and consider events that have transfixed and transformed the planet in recent weeks. The natural disaster in Japan reminds us of the tenuous nature of our existence on the dynamic planet that is Earth. The scale of the human tragedy and the ongoing drama of the nuclear disaster force us to confront the nature of the very infrastructure that makes our lifestyles possible. Clearly we have much to learn in the prevention and response to such a crisis. Our sympathy and best wishes go out to the people of Japan in this dark hour. We must learn from the grim lessons this event has to teach us. Perhaps we could start by finding new and less dangerous ways to spin turbines to produce electricity.
John Kolterman
John B. McAlpin
Co-chairs Sustainable Belmont
Agenda for Sustainable Belmont Monthly Meeting
Wednesday April 6, 2011   7:00-9:00 PM
Flett Room – Belmont Public Library
Welcome and Introductions: 7:00-7:05
Committee Updates and Announcements:  7:05-7:15
7:15-7:30 MCAN News – John Kolterman
Recap of Mark Breslow’s presentation on the State Stretch Code
7:30 – 8:00  Next steps in support of the Energy Committee’s Town Meeting
initiatives – support in passing the tree by-law and the stretch code for Belmont
8:00  - 8:30  State Representative Will Brownsberger will present a “state of the State”
as it relates to energy issues and sustainability initiatives – questions
As time allows: discussion of initial findings during an meeting designed to envision goals for SB in the next several years and an invitation to a follow-up meeting!
  • Review and analysis organizational structure and responsibilities
  • expanding the membership base
  • education and inspiration
  • collaboration
  • achievement of sustainability goals
Electronic and Appliance Recycling  
Saturday April 2nd  from 9am – 2pm at Saint Josephs Church in Belmont (corner of Common Ave and School Street)
$5 per each electronic item,  $10 per appliance and car batteries are free
Green Conversations: “What Americans and Massachusetts Residents Think About Climate Change – Attitude Formation and Change in Response to a Raging Scientific Controversy”
April 6, 2011 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Contact Name: 
Lisa Matthews
Maxwell Dworkin G115 Harvard University 33 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA
Jon A. KrosnickProfessor, Stanford University
"What Americans and Massachusetts Residents Think About Climate Change - 
Attitude Formation and Change in Response to a Raging Scientific Controversy"
Dr. Jon Krosnick, the Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, and Professor of Communication, Political Science and Pyschology at Stanford, is a social psychologist who does research on attitude formation, change, and effects; the psychology of political behavior; and survey research methods.
During the past two decades, many scientific experts have been frustrated by the American public's apparent indifference to climate change and the threats it may pose. And even during the two years, headlines on newspapers across the country have proclaimed: "Scientists and the American Public Disagree Sharply Over Global Warming" and "Public Concern About Climate Waning."  Is it really true? Do Americans really not accept the opinions of scientific experts on climate change? In this presentation, Professor Jon Krosnick will describe findings from a series of national surveys that he has designed and conducted since 1996, as well as and a recent survey of Massachusetts residents, tracking what people do and do not believe on this issue and what they do and do not want to have done about it.  Surprising results challenge many widely-held presumptions about public opinion, illuminate the increasing politicization of the issue, and provide a context for watching and understanding future efforts to pass (and block) legislation on climate change.
After the Storm:
A film about preventing water pollution
Thursday, April 7, 7:00 PM
Watertown Free Public Library
123 Main Street
This short program will explain some simple things everyone can do to protect our local watershed.
For more information, please call 617-926-5354.
“Organic Lawns for Homeowners”workshop on
Saturday April 9 from 1-4 pm at 26 Kensington Park, Arlington, MA.
This workshop is part of “NOFA/Mass Statewide Organic Lawn Days,” to
educate homeowners in all aspects of organic lawn installation,
maintenance and best cultural practices. Funded by the Toxics Use
Reduction Institute of UMass Lowell. Workshop fee: $25.
For more information or to register contact Kathy Litchfield at (413)
773-3830 or
Collection of Bicycles for Bikes Not Bombs (BNB)
Sunday April 10 from 11am to 2pm at the parking lot of Beth El Temple Center; Belmont, MA (Corner of Concord and Blanchard Road)
A $10 donation is requested to support Bike’s not Bombs programs. This program involves young people and adults in mutually respectful leadership development and environmental stewardship, while recycling thousands of bicycles. Bicycles are transported to economic development projects in Ghana, Tanzania, Guatemala, and Nevis Island every year. Some of the collected bikes are used in youth Earn-A-Bike programs, and others are repaired by teenage mechanics as part of their Vocational Training programs and are for sale in the BNB Bike Shop. If you would like to learn more about the organization, check out their website

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