Thanks to heartbreaking images of seals caught in abandoned fishing nets, turtles with straws stuck in their noses, and seabirds with bellies full of litter, most of us are aware of the effects of discarded plastic on animal life. But not everyone realizes how much plastic contributes to climate change throughout its life cycle, from the extraction and transportation of the fossil fuels used to create it to the management of plastic waste and its ongoing impact as it degrades. The World Economic Forum estimates that 4-8% of annual global oil consumption is related to plastics, and if current trends continue this could rise to 20% of oil consumption by 2050.
QCAN member Jon Gorey shared this post from his House & Hammer blog to give us some ideas how to reduce our plastic use at home:
Please join the Quincy Climate Action Network on Wednesday, May 19, 7–8pm, for an online discussion with Ian Coghill and Grace Li of Conservation Law Foundation about Sprague Energy’s apparent violations of its environmental permit at its terminal at 740 Washington Street, Quincy.
Sprague Energy is required to use good engineering practices to assess risks from climate change and to pro-actively prepare for extreme weather events, which as we know are becoming ever more frequent. Conservation Law Foundation has found that the earthen berms around Sprague’s terminal – which were designed to contain an oil spill caused by a leak or storm event – appear to be improperly maintained and are eroding away into the Town River. CLF and QCAN would like to inform local residents who might be affected by an oil spill to see if we might work together to pressure Sprague to address the situation.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood tree? Want to learn how to protect it, care for your own trees, and see if you qualify for a free tree from the state? Tree experts will discuss all of these issues and more in a panel discussion on January 21 at 7 pm. The Thomas Crane Library, a co-sponsor of the event, will host the discussion on Zoom, YouTube and Facebook (details below). Continue reading
2020 wasn’t all bad. After months of lobbying by QCAN and others, the MBTA announced that a few dozen climate-friendly battery electric buses will be used at a new bus depot planned for southwest Quincy.
Quincy’s current bus depot, built on Hancock Street in 1904, is too small to fit buses manufactured after 2010, making Quincy’s diesel-only buses the oldest – and the dirtiest – in the state. These buses spew out pollution that harms people’s health and greenhouse gases that heat the planet. (Transportation is in fact the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US.)
On December 7, the Quincy City Council unanimously approved a plan that will increase the proportion of our electricity that comes from renewable sources. The plan, called Quincy Community Electricity (QCE), enables the city to engage a new default supplier of electricity for residents and small businesses, using our pooled buying power to secure bulk pricing that will be more stable, and possibly lower, than current rates. While Massachusetts currently requires 16% of electricity to come from renewable sources such as hydropower, wind, or solar, Quincy will seek a supplier that generates a higher proportion from renewables. The default offering will be 10% additional renewably sourced electricity; residents will also be able to opt up to 50 or 100%, or opt down to the state-mandated amount.
Imagine a machine first built in John Adams’s time that has chugged along without a hiccup for 200 years. It would undoubtedly be treated with kid gloves, and every effort would be made to preserve and protect it. Perhaps the Quincy History Museum would display it so that people could stand in awe of the engineering marvel and feel a visceral connection to the past in the rhythmic shifting of its components.
Well, such a machine actually exists – right here in our fair city. Not only that, but this machine has been proven to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier, to prevent flooding, and to fight climate change. What is this astonishing contraption? It’s hiding in plain sight, an unsung hero that makes a city street feel like part of a neighborhood: a mature tree. Continue reading
Several QCAN members met with Massachusetts Senator John Keenan (Norfolk and Plymouth District) during his office hours on December 7 to discuss some of our organization’s priorities and learn about how we might help him advance climate-friendly legislation.
Board member Joe Murphy described our work to convince the Quincy City Council to transition away from single-use plastic bags; to raise public awareness about climate change through co-hosting an environmental fair, lectures, and film nights at the library; to present on climate change to every sixth-grade classroom in Quincy public schools; and to work with Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station to fight the construction of the fracked-gas compressor station in North Weymouth.