Living with Coyotes

Thursday June 25, 7:00 to 8:30
First Church, 316 Essex St. Salem

Have you seen coyotes in your yard? Walking in the woods? On the golf course? Do you have questions, concerns, or just a general interest in where these animals have come from?
coyote

Please join us for a lively presentation on living with coyotes.

Coyotes about one of the most misunderstood and remarkable animals in North America. Our guest speaker is John Maguranis, Belmont ACO, wildlife enthusiast, and a representative of Project Coyote, www.projectcoyote.org, will provide a wide-ranging look at:

  • natural behavior  and habits of coyotes,
  • myths and facts
  • pet and human safety,
  • hazing techniques.

There will be plenty of time for questions, and light refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by Salem SAFE, Salem Sound Coastwatch, Salem Community Gardens, the Plummer Home Farm Project, Olde Salem Greens Golf Course, Winter Island, and Marblehead Conservancy.

PARKING is available on Essex St., in the First Church’s circular driveway, and in the rear parking lot (enter lot from 114 / North Street, take the last right immediately before the lights at Essex St.).

SAFE SOLAR & ENERGY ADVISORS: SOLAR MADE EASY

Launchof SAFE Solar & Energy Advisors
Thursday May 14, 7:00 to 8:30
First Church, 316 Essex St. Salem

Confused about what makes the most sense for installing solar or doing some energy efficiency project on your home or business?SAFEsolar-logo-square

SAFE has created a non-profit to offer impartial, knowledgeable advice to people on the North Shore. There are a lot of companies out there looking to sell you solar panels or a new furnace or some other energy efficiency improvement.  Our mission is to help walk you through the process and make a decision that is in your best interest. Call us before you sign a contract.

To learn more, join us for our informal kick-off of SAFE Solar hosted by co-chairs Pat Gozemba and Jeff Barz-Snell and solar coach Jeff Cohen. Learn about the incentives and options for “going solar” and how SAFE Solar & Energy Advisors can help you.

Refreshments served. On street parking available.

Carbon Nation: How a Carbon Tax Could Reduce Climate Change While Keeping the Economy Bubbling

Thursday March 26, 7 – 8 PM
First Church, 316 Essex St. Salem

From business leaders to national security agencies to scientists there is broad agreement that climate change must be addressed.  But can we afford the policies that we need? Join Citizens Climate Lobby and other local organizations as we discuss a legislative proposal that could provide the sustainability we need and actually help the economy in the process. All are welcome. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, email cclnorthshore@gmail.com.

Winter Weatherization and Energy “Smackdown” Program

Spending Too Much on Your Utility Bills? Learn how to reduce your household’s carbon footprint

Join SAFE for a workshop on how to get your energy (and water) consumption under control.

Wed, January 28 at 7pm
First Church in Salem, Office Entrance
316 Essex Street
Salem, MA

With recent increases in electric and natural gas rates, and the growing need to quickly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, it’s more important than ever to tighten our belts. We will begin with a brief discussion of how to read and understand your utility bills and then move on to discuss no-cost/ low-cost measures that you can quickly implement for immediate impact on your heating and electric bills (in the process, you’ll see how these measures can help you to manage your water bill as well). We’ll then cover measures that may cost a little more up front but that can net big savings in the end. The program will end with a brief discussion of recent developments that have made solar power at home more affordable than ever.

All participants will leave with a basic energy and water conservation kit, and there will be a raffle for more comprehensive kits. The workshop is sponsored by SAFE and will be presented by Paul Marquis of Visible Home Services, Salem, MA. Paul is a seasoned energy efficiency and green building consultant, educator and writer, and is the former Energy & Sustainability Manager for the City of Salem.

More Gas Pipelines?

The Sunday Globe (October 5) includes an editorial calling for investments in gas pipelines across New England. The Globe argues that improved gas infrastructure need not hinder investments in renewable energy—both are necessary as we move toward greater reliance on renewables. Today, we are relying more heavily on gas–and in winter months, gas supplies may be insufficient. As a result, consumer electric bills are rising 37 percent (for National Gird customers).

WITH THE recent announcement that National Grid would raise its electricity rates an eye-popping 37 percentthis winter, New England is beginning to pay a real price for its stalled energy policy. The rate increase, which will hit some Massachusetts households to the tune of $150 a month, likely won’t be the last bad news this year: NStar, the state’s other major electric provider, is also expected to announce a rate hike soon. New England has always endured higher-than-average electricity costs, but this year’s price surge reflects a relatively new problem: With the retirement of many old coal-burning plants, natural gas now accounts for about half the region’s electricity generation, leaving utilities and their customers unusually exposed to spikes in gas prices.

The consequences for struggling families this winter will be dire, and are likely only a foretaste of what’s to come unless policy makers respond with urgency. Two strategies would lower electricity bills over the long term. First, the region needs to diversify its energy mix by bringing in more wind, solar, hydropower, and other renewables. Having more renewable energy will cushion the region against the ups and downs of the gas market, while also reducing carbon emissions. But the region has trouble handling the renewable energy that’s available already; making full use of the region’s rivers, wind, and sun will require new transmission lines from Canada and northern New England, proposals that create enormous backlash and, critics argue, mar pristine landscapes with ugly power lines. A proposal by the Patrick administration that likely would have resulted in more power lines failed in the Legislature earlier this year, a troubling reminder of the political obstacles to building needed transmission.

But even fully integrating renewable resources into the grid won’t eliminate demand for natural gas; it’s not always windy or sunny. So while connecting to renewables must be a top priority to bring down costs, the region simultaneously has to tackle a second task: upgrading the natural gas network, which was never designed for the crucial role it now plays in New England’s electricity market. Congestion in the delivery network is one of the major drivers of this year’s price surge, and more pipeline capacity would lower prices. Several proposals have emerged. Yet pipelines are an even harder sell than transmission lines. They’re just as unsightly, and carrying more fossil fuels into New England seems like just the wrong approach when the goal is to reduce carbon emissions.

The task for policy makers is to combine the two goals in an environmentally sensible way, so that lower prices for natural gas will help, not hurt, the transition to renewables. The six New England governors have made some progress in that direction. Last year, they suggested offering financial support to a new pipeline into the region, paid for in part through an assessment on electric ratepayers, while at the same time pledging to also support transmission lines needed to reach renewables north of Boston. What the governors’ plan lacked, though, was an explicit commitment that the two would go forward in tandem. It will be much easier to convince a skeptical public to accept new gas investments if the arrangement also contains a firm commitment to help tap renewable resources. Read more.

SAFE Environmental Ballot Forum 2014

October 7, 7 pm

First Church in Salem, 316 Essex St.

Make an informed choice on the ballot questions this November. Come to the SAFE Environmental Ballot Forum 2014.

Vote Badges
Find out why local environmental groups support a NO vote on Question 1 (Gas Tax) and a YES vote on Question 2 (Bottle Bill). Speakers are Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem), Phil Sego of Mass Sierra Club-YES on 2, and Andre Leroux of MA Smart Growth Alliance-NO on 1. Hear about the ballot questions and learn how you can join the campaign to help advance our environmental agenda.

Co-sponsored by SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment), Mass Sierra Club and MASSPIRG-Salem State. For more info, contact Pat Gozemba at (978) 744-9141.

Bottle Bill–Yes on Question 2

The primary is over and the general election looms. This year’s ballot includes several referendums, including Question 2, which gives voters the chance to do what the legislature has refused to do: update the Bottle Bill.

Yvonne Abraham’s September 14 column in the Boston Globe cogently explains why voters should vote Yes on Question 2.

Now that the primary is over, the ballot question battles begin. On Question 2 — the proposal to expand the state’s bottle deposit law to cover water and other unfizzy drinks — you’re going to get hit with the best ads the deep-pocketed beverage industry can buy. So far, they’ve put a whopping $5.4 million into the campaign — more than the casino bigs desperate to stop a repeal of the state’s gambling law. Groups backing an expanded bottle bill (who have raised a meager $145,000 so far) say they expect the industry to pour in at least $5 million more. Hey, money is no object when it comes to protecting their profits.

They won’t tell you that’s what it’s about, though. No, the companies that make bank selling drinks in petroleum-based plastic will try to convince you they’re as green as spring meadows. Pay no attention to the shareholders behind the curtain: Defeating a law that would keep billions upon billions of plastic bottles out of landfills is all about protecting you and Mother Earth, dear vote.

Truth be told, this bottle bill shouldn’t even be on the ballot. A recent Globe poll showed 62 percent of voters favor it. And 209 of the state’s 351 cities and towns have passed resolutions supporting it. On Beacon Hill, it has been supported by at least a hundred legislators, and the governor. The Senate has approved it. But time and again, House speakers have refused to allow it to the floor for a vote, fearing the wrath of the voters who might think it’s too much like a tax. It’s hard to recall another case where the will of so many people was thwarted so utterly, for so long. Read more.