Rotterdam Addresses Climate Impact with Innovative Infrastructure

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In a recent blog post for the Nonprofit Quarterly, SAFE board member Karen Kahn wrote about how Rotterdam, another urban industrial coastal city is addressing climate change.

Despite President Trump having pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, scientists agree that the future of our planet is in jeopardy. In many parts of the world, the effects of climate change are simply undeniable: Seas are rising, storms are getting worse, and drought is forcing millions to migrate.

A consensus is emerging that we can no longer focus solely on reducing carbon emissions in order to keep our planet habitable. Even if countries meet their targets under the Paris Agreement, the global community has not moved quickly enough to save us from environmental changes that are already disrupting populations worldwide. At this point, renewable energy strategies must be combined with adaptation and mitigation to reduce the severity of floods, droughts, and other climate change impacts around the world. (As of this writing, the temperature in Phoenix, Arizona, is expected to reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with temperatures over 110 degrees for the entire week.)

Coastal cities are among the geographic areas under most immediate threat, and in many cases, it is these municipalities that are leading the way toward innovative solutions. In a recent New York Times article, Michael Kimmelman profiles the city of Rotterdam, where visionary leadership is transforming an old industrial landscape into one that is cosmopolitan, climate-resilient, and community-oriented.

Read the full article here.

Join SAFE for Climate March, April 29

“The damage from climate change isn’t just coming in the future, it’s part of the present,” says New York Times writer David Leonhardt, introducing this week’s Sunday Times magazine special. The Times includes a wide array of stories this week that track the melting of Arctic sea ice, island nations sinking into the sea, and increased flooding in many of our major urban areas. Yet the president of the United States wants to drill more oil and dig more coal. As Bill McKibben says in his Sunday Review essay, our current president could easily waste so much time that the Earth will not recover—at least not in time to save humans.

So let your voices be heard.  Saturday, April 29, join the Boston People’s Climate March. SAFE will meeting at the Wonderland MBTA station at 10:30 am on the Inbound platform to go into the Common, where a climate rally begins at 12 noon. If you can’t meet at Wonderland, join us at Park Street Station by 11:45 to head over to the rally. Look for the SAFE banner:

SAFEScreen shot 2012-07-03 at 2.35.27 PMThe Boston People’s Climate March is a being organized by local groups from environmental justice, labor, youth, faith, and climate activism. They are hosting a day full of powerful events that include:

  • 11:30am-12:00pm
    Music and gathering at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common
  • 12:00-1:00pm
    Rally for Climate, Jobs, and Justice on the Common
  • 1:00-4:00pm
    Action tables and activities from local organizations on the Common and Climate Justice Teach-ins at nearby indoor locations (see details and sign-up here!)

For more information, contact Pat Gozemba at pgozemba@gmail.com.

 

 

Gas Leaks Kill Trees

One of SAFE’s major projects is addressing natural gas leaks throughout our city. These leaks, which are the result of decaying infrastructure, negatively impact our environment in multiple ways. In our latest video, we look at how natural gas leaks affect the trees that line our streets. Do you have a dead or dying tree on your block? Perhaps there is a persistent gas leak. Watch the video below to learn more.

 

You can also catch the video on SATV at the following times:

  • April 6 at 2:30 PM
  • April 8 at 3:30 PM
  • April 11 at 10:30 AM
  • April 13 at 2:30 PM
For more information on the gas leaks project, click here.

Free screening of documentary film ‘Time to Choose’

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Tue, Feb 28 @ 6:30 pm
First Church in Salem, UU
316 Essex St.
Salem, MA 01970

Join us for a FREE screening of “Time to Choose,” a documentary by Charles Ferguson about the urgent need to transition to renewable energy.

With footage from five continents, “Time to Choose” explores the scope of the climate change crisis and the power of solutions already available. Learn more about this inspiring film and watch the trailer here, http://www.timetochoose.com/
6:30 – 7:00 Social hour / light refreshments
7:00 – 7:15 Welcome
7:15 – 8:30 Film
8:30 – 9:00 Optional Q&A

Ironic Snow Date: Wed., March 1

SPONSORED BY:
* Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE)
* North Shore 350, the North Shore Environmental Coalition, & Citizens Climate Lobby North Shore

*Action Together North Shore

For more information, visit www.SalemSAFE.org

 

GMO: New Data Raises Doubts About Benefits

7730023-corn-crop-stock-photoIn a recent expose in the New York Times, reporter Danny Hakim makes a compelling case that the promoters of genetically modified (GM) crops such as Monsanto are overselling their case. GM crops are supposed to have two main benefits: increased yields and reduced need for pesticides and herbicides.

In comparing American agriculture, where GM crops are common, to those of France and Western Europe where the seeds are rare, Hakim finds that over the last two decades France has been able to increase yields at about the same rate as the U.S. while much more effectively reducing pesticide and herbicide use.

Over two decades, the U.S. has reduced the use of insecticides and fungicides with GM crops by 33 percent. But at the same time, herbicide use has increased by 21 percent.

Compare this to France: Here,  insecticide and fungicide use has been decreased by 66, while herbicide use has decreased by 33 percent.

Though the impact of eating GM crops remains controversial, one thing is not: pesticides and herbicides have been shown to be a significant risk to human health, particularly children. So why are we taking these risks? Read more.

Baker: State preparing for ‘worst-case scenario’ drought / Task force to survey damage as 16 percent of state suffers from extreme conditions

[Comment from SAFE Co-Chair Jeffrey Barz-Snell: “…here is today’s front page article about the Governor’s visit to North Andover to tour the effects and damage from the drought.”]

From Salem News staff writer, Zoe Mathews:

NORTH ANDOVER — Just hours before Gov. Charlie Baker set foot on Smolak Farms, the U.S. Drought Monitor announced an unprecedented 16 percent of the state, including the North Shore, is considered in “extreme drought.”

Joined by state administrators from various economic and agricultural agencies, Baker stood in front of a field of stunted crops at Smolak Farms and outlined steps citizens and municipalities alike can take in order to weather the lack of storms.

“We are preparing for the worst-case scenario,” said Baker, who recommended residents take small, cumulative steps to reduce water consumption, such as limiting outdoor water use and shortening their shower times.

“You might have to get a haircut,” to meet those demands, he said, offering a moment of levity during a time that has many deeply concerned.

Read more.

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Amanda Sabga
AMANDA SABGA/Staff photos
Gov. Charlie Baker chats with Smolak Farms owner Michael Smolak, left, and Secretary Matthew Beaton of the office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Crops have been severely stunted by the extreme drought conditions that show no sign of ending soon.

As drought grows, towns need to cut water usage

[Comment from SAFE Co-Chair Jeffrey Barz-Snell: “The Ipswich River Watershed Assoc. is stepping up their efforts to engage communities in our area about water conservation. Salem and Beverly share a well designed water system but we do draw from the Ipswich River.”]

From a Boston Globe Editorial:

After five months of dry weather, the drought has grown from an inconvenience for gardeners to a looming public safety threat. The “drought index” indicating forest fire risk in Massachusetts is at the same level as it is in some parts of the Rockies. Some towns, including Concord, have raised alarms about the possible impact of low water levels on the ability of firefighters to pump enough water in emergencies. The state put all of central and northeastern Massachusetts under “drought warning” last week, the second-highest level of alert, one notch below a formal emergency. (Boston and close-in suburbs use the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which operates vast reservoirs in central Massachsuetts [sic] and hasn’t suffered from the drought. But the MWRA is still urging homeowners to conserve water.)

Read more.

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Cracked earth and a hose in a dried-up pond that is usually used to irrigate crops at Siena Farms in Sudbury (JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF).