QCAN members brought some special guests to our meeting with Mayor Thomas Koch on February 19: young people from Quincy’s elementary, middle, and high schools. Evelyn Dawson, Gaetano Belfort, and Maya Dijkstra spoke eloquently about the changes they have seen in the local climate even in their short lifespans and the imperative for government leaders to act to ensure a safe and healthy future for coming generations.
Mayor Koch listened attentively and agreed to look into replacing the thousands of styrofoam lunch trays used and discarded each day in the Quincy Public Schools. QCAN members also discussed Green Municipal Aggregation, curbside composting, a single-use plastic bag ban, wetlands protection, electric vehicles for the city fleet, efficiency standards for public buildings, and the need to hire an assistant for the city’s energy manager.
After the meeting, QCAN board member Julie Mallozzi showed Mayor Koch the standardized composting bins used by the City of Cambridge in their successful curbside composting program.
The year is getting off to a promising start! On January 28, 2019, Mayor Tom Koch mentioned several green initiatives in his “State of the City” address. They include issues that QCAN has been advocating for, including a plan to increase the fraction of our electricity sourced from wind and solar, called green municipal aggregation, and the creation of a group to study the feasibility of collecting food waste in a separate bin on trash day. He also wants to ban plastic bags in Quincy, plant more trees, protect marshland as a hedge against sea level rise, and improve the energy efficiency of city buildings and vehicles. Read his full comments below: Continue reading
About 120 skeptical citizens, including four QCAN members, packed the cafeteria of Quincy High School on the snowy night of November 15, 2018. They were there to hear officials from the state health and environmental protection departments and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council unveil the first results of a study predicting the effects of the proposed Fore River Compressor Station on public health in Quincy, Weymouth, Braintree, and beyond. The station is intended to increase the capacity of a system of natural-gas pipelines stretching from New Jersey to Nova Scotia. The station would be powered by a natural-gas fired engine that would produce exhaust.
Huzzah! On November 13th, 2018, the Quincy City Council voted unanimously to create a task force to study curbside food waste pickup. The supportive letters that QCAN friends wrote to their ward councilors and the councilors-at-large no doubt made that happen, so thank you to all who made their opinions heard! Thank you also to Ward 6 Councilor William Harris, who introduced the resolution, and to Ian Cain, who amended it, suggesting the task force study the pros and cons of building a food-waste recycling facility right here in Quincy.
Minimum parking requirements are rules set by the city spelling out the fewest off-street parking spaces that a new or rezoned property must have. They are designed to be very high – to guarantee plenty of parking even at the busiest times – meaning that most of the time, there is an overabundance of spaces.
These very specific requirements – Quincy requires a bowling alley to have four parking spaces per lane! – sound scientific, but they are rarely based on the needs of their communities. In Quincy Center, for example, 37% of households don’t even own a car, and the neighborhood averages 0.88 cars per household. But even the lowest parking minimums in this neighborhood specify at least one parking space per household in residential buildings, meaning that many families are forced to pay for parking spaces they don’t need.
PARK(ing) Day in Washington, DC, part of an open-source global event where citizens, artists, and activists temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public places. Credit: Edward Russell
Governor Charlie Baker and Democratic challenger Jay Gonzalez were both invited to a town hall focused on environmental issues in Jamaica Plain on October 1. Gonzalez agreed to come, while Baker declined. Gonzalez used the opportunity to explain his energy platform, and QCAN was there to hear it.
If you want to support green energy in Quincy, come to City Hall on Monday, October 15th at 6:30 p.m. That’s when the city’s finance committee will discuss green municipal aggregation.
Municipal aggregation (also known as community choice aggregation) allows a municipality to purchase electricity in bulk on behalf of its residents and businesses. If Quincy were to join other communities nearby such as Brookline and Somerville and adopt green municipal aggregation, the city would increase the percentage of its electricity sourced from renewable energy. Electricity rates would likely stay about the same, and customers could easily opt out if they so chose.
During the committee meeting, Shelly Dein, Quincy’s energy and sustainability director, and Larry Chretien, executive director of Green Energy Consumers Alliance, will provide brief presentations on GMA.
To show your support for greening Quincy’s electrical grid, please join members of QCAN at the city meeting and write to thank the councilors who support the initiative: Nina Liang, Anne Mahoney, Ian Cain and Noel DiBona. Please also encourage your ward councilor to consider the benefits of green municipal aggregation.
How should we tackle climate change? “We need something like a moon shot, human genome project or Manhattan project,” says Charles DeLisi, a Boston University professor of science and engineering.
DeLisi knows firsthand the magnitude of what he’s proposing. In the 1980s, he helped spearhead the human genome project, a massive, worldwide effort that by 2003 had revealed just about every gene in our bodies.
Now, DeLisi is turning his attention to climate change and how to combat it, matters he’ll discuss in a free talk at the Thomas Crane Public Library (40 Washington Street in Quincy) on Tuesday, October 16, at 7 pm. The talk is sponsored by the library, the Quincy Climate Action Network, March Forward Quincy and the Quincy Making Waves Coalition.