Author Archives: karenkahn33

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.

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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.

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.

Mass High Court Upholds Climate Mandate

Conservation Law Foundation released a statement this afternoon regarding a historic decision by the state’s highest court enforcing the Global Warming Solutions Act.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court released its decision today in Kain et al. v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), affirming the State’s obligations under the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) and ordering the Commonwealth to create and implement regulations to meet its carbon emission reduction mandates. In the opinion by Justice Cordy, the Court sided with Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Massachusetts Energy Consumer Alliance, and four teenage plaintiffs in asserting that DEP failed its legal obligation to enforce the GWSA.

“This is a historic day,” said Jenny Rushlow, CLF’s lead attorney on the case. “Today our highest court declared clearly and unequivocally that our leaders can no longer sit on their hands while Massachusetts communities are put at risk from the effects of climate change. Thanks to this landmark decision, our role as a national leader in battling climate change has only been stalled but not sacrificed. Now, with action from DEP, we can get back on track and ensure that the health of our families and future generations is always a top priority.” Read more.

White House uses Obama Acadia hike to push climate change action

Boston.com Staff Eric Levenson reported on how Obama is using his summer trip to Acadia to comment on addressing the need for climate change:

What better way to emphasize the beauty of the natural environment than a hike in Acadia National Park?

That was the thought of the White House Instagram account on Sunday, which posted a photo of the Obama family’s trip to Acadia in July 2010 to emphasize the president’s plea for climate change action.

The photo shows the president, his wife Michelle, and kids Sasha and Malia hiking up Cadillac Mountain during a short vacation. #climatechange

obama and kids

Read more.

Leaders Move to Convert Paris Climate Pledges Into Action

Positive news from the Paris climate talks. The New York Times reported December 13 on actions agreed to by participating countries:

PARIS — Before the applause had even settled in the suburban convention center where the Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus on Saturday night, world leaders warned that momentum for the historic accord must not be allowed to dissipate.

“Today, we celebrate,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s energy commissioner and top climate negotiator. “Tomorrow, we have to act.”

With nearly every nation on earth having now pledged to gradually reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the planet — a universal commitment that had eluded negotiators and activists since the first Earth Day summit meeting, in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 — much of the burden for maintaining the momentum now shifts back to the countries to figure out, and put in place, the concrete steps needed to deliver on their pledges.

The task may prove most challenging for India, which is struggling to lift more than half of its population of 1.25 billion out of poverty and to provide basic electricity to 300 million of them. Rich countries are intent that India not get stuck on a coal-dependent development path. Read more.