Community Sustainability & Free Organic Vegetable Gardening Virtual Workshops

by Tebben Lopez, Neighborhood Housing Services

Considering the circumstances we are in and the exacerbated concerns around food security, we are offering this year’s classes free of charge for everyone. The series will be virtual to ensure everyone’s safety.

Are you or a loved one a gardener who can’t wait for the ground to thaw? Prepare for Spring with our last two classes in our organic vegetable gardening series taught by Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk! All classes are virtual and take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

March 6: Seed Starting – Start your own seedlings! Learn about when to start indoor seedlings, watering, using lights, and dealing with common problems. We will also review which crops can be planted directly outdoors and when.

March 13: Weeds: the Good, the Bad, and the Tasty – Some “weeds” are actually native wildflowers benefitting your vegetable garden’s pollinators. Some are invasive horrors with plans to take over your garden. And some are edible, delicious little morsels that can be harvested and enjoyed.
For more information, please contact Kathy Fay, (203) 562-0598 ext. 225, kfay@nhsofnewhaven.org.

Support a Fossil Fuel Power Plant Moratorium to Protect Our Health and Climate

by Melinda Tuhus, climate justice activist

Climate activists around the state are prioritizing a bill (SB 718) in this year’s General Assembly session that would create a moratorium on fossil fuel power plant construction, with an eye specifically to stopping a fracked gas power plant to be built in Killingly, which is nearing final approval by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

In a conversation with climate activists on Feb. 17, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Christine Cohen, said she was frustrated that, despite a full-court press by those advocates to get a public hearing on the bill in the Energy & Technology Committee, that didn’t happen. She said it might still happen through another bill or possibly by creating some studies to enable the state to take action to stop Killingly, for which the owners of the plant, NTE, have signed a contract with ISO-New England, the regional grid operator. Gov. Ned Lamont says he doesn’t want the plant but that he is stuck with this agreement forged by his predecessor, Dannel Malloy, who was a huge proponent of gas. ISO-NE, on the other hand, says that states always have the final say on siting energy infrastructure.

There are many reasons why the plant shouldn’t be built. Connecticut’s Global Warming Solutions Act, in line with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change science, requires that greenhouse gas emissions in our state must be reduced below 2001 levels by 45% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. To achieve these mandated reductions, Connecticut must stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, including power plants and pipelines.

Connecticut doesn’t need more dirty energy. Analysis from EIA (US Energy Information Agency) shows Connecticut has been a net energy exporter for a decade.1 Analysis by Synapse Energy shows that a significant surplus of electric capacity exists, and is projected to exist, in New England.2 And DEEP’s Draft Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) says that “Connecticut now hosts a disproportionate share of the region’s fossil-fueled generation”3

To meet our climate goals, including Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 3 calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, we must build clean energy capacity while retiring dirty energy, not building more dirty power. Acadia Center calculated that by 2030 Connecticut and New England would experience a net gain in employment under a No New Gas scenario.4

Finally, fossil fuel generation causes poor air quality and inequitable health outcomes, as these facilities are most often placed in low-income and/or people of color neighborhoods. Killingly ranks well below the state average in income and already has an operating fracked gas power plant.

Take action! Contact the co-chairs of the Energy & Technology Committee and urge them to incorporate the basics of SB 718 in another bill so it has a chance to be voted on. That’s Sen. Norm Needleman (norm.needleman@cga.ct.gov) and Rep. David Arconti (david.arconti@cga.ct.gov).

Footnotes
1. https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=CT
2. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/CSC/1_Dockets-medialibrary/Docket_470B/Prefiled_exhibits/grouped/DO470B20190411NAPPSCTestimonyFaganGlickpdf.pdf
3. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/energy/IRP/2020-IRP/2020-CT-DEEP-Draft-Integrated-Resources-Plan-in-Accordance-with-CGS-16a-3a.pdf&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1612307098281000&usg=AOvVaw15H4cjW5Hp_vcg_qIRhWGz
4. https://362kp444oe5xj84kkwjq322g-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Acadia_Center_Decline_of_Gas_Brief.pdf

The Myopia of Medical Assisted Suicide

by Joan Cavanagh, member, Second Thoughts CT

“In Austin, Texas, at a ‘You Can’t Close America!’ rally, hundreds of demonstrators, nearly all-white, defied social-distancing guidelines by gathering on the steps of the Capitol…A woman wearing a Keep America Great cap waved a sign reading, ‘My Life, My Death, My Choice, Personal Responsibility…‘” [bold emphasis added.]

See Linda Villarosa, “Who Lives? Who Dies? How COVID-19 has revealed the deadly realities of a racially polarized America,” New York Times Magazine, May 3, 2020, p. 50.

“My life, my death, my choice” is the slogan of Compassion and Choices, the national organization devoted to promoting Medical Assisted Suicide (MAS). That it found its way to a Trump-supporting super-spreader event is not surprising, since the implication is that individual behavior has no impact on the lives of others. One of many reasons to oppose MAS is because the premise of these bills is the same.

“Death with dignity” is a phrase often used by MAS proponents, suggesting that the level of care required by many who are disabled, elderly, or very ill somehow demeans them and is a burden on others and on society. This is a fundamental denial of our human connection and responsibility to and for one another.

Even more insidious, Medical Assisted Suicide can easily morph into treatment-rationing for patients whose health care is deemed too expensive for hospitals and insurance companies to sustain. The COVID crisis has dramatically revealed the ways in which poor, disabled, elderly, black and brown people are already discriminated against within the medical system.

Its advocates argue that MAS is intended only for those with a “terminal illness.” But definitions of what is “terminal” are fluid and subjective, life expectancy projections often mistaken. Treatment (or lack thereof) is too often determined by what a patient’s insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, will and will not cover. Many diseases are “terminal” if left untreated. Allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medication offers a cost-effective “out” for insurers.

While it may provide an individual “choice” for a select few, among its many evils the legalization of Medical Assisted Suicide also opens the door to increased limitations on health care, which is an existential threat to the many. Please tell your state representatives to vote “No” on HB 6425, now pending in the Public Health Committee.

Paid Internships for High School Students Interested in Journalism

Do you know any local high school students who might want to learn about journalism? Then please share this information about the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Youth Arts Journalism Initiative.

Students admitted to our program have a chance to participate in a virtual, after-school activity where they’ll get to learn about journalism and get paid $75 for every story they write for the Arts Council’s digital publication, The Arts Paper. They’ll also get a stipend of $250 for their participation in our roughly 9-week program.

Please share our application with all the high school students you know. Applications are due March 6. https://www.newhavenarts.org/yaji

Job Opening at Neighborhood Housing Services

Neighborhood Housing Services is looking for a Resource Development Specialist. In this position, the Specialist is responsible for identifying and securing new grant opportunities and maintaining existing partnerships, event sponsorships, individual donations, and in-kind donations to fund/support the programs and initiatives at Neighborhood Housing Services and the New Haven HomeOwnership Center.

NHSNH requires that the applicant has a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in English, Marketing, Public Relations, Communications, or a related field; plus two (2) or more years’ experience in grant writing and/or fundraising.

For additional details about skills requirements and how to apply for the position, see the job posting on Idealist: https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit-job/ec42ed20c56c49ed9ca4e3090a54f58a-resource-development-specialist-neighborworks-affiliates-new-haven.

New Haven Climate Movement Activities

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride 2021: We’re excited to share that Rock to Rock is moving ahead for this spring. We are already working with over 15 partner organizations to take real action in response to the climate emergency and raise critical support for local environmental organizations while respecting public health guidance. Register now at https://www.rocktorock.org.

Sign petition to support New Haven Climate Justice and Green Jobs Fund of $1.1 million that would go annually to staff and other expenses related to clean energy jobs creation, energy efficiency, outreach/education/programs (to save families money and create jobs), increased climate education, and transportation improvement (to reduce air pollution and help people get to work/school). https://www.newhavenclimatemovement.org/climate-justice-gj-fund.

Book Review: The United States of War

by Jeffry Larson, PAR reader

Highly commendable is a dense and well-researched history of “the American way of war”: The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. By David Vine, published by the University of California Press: 2020, in the California Series in Public Anthropology. Available in local libraries.

This admirable history could serve as a fitting documentation of the historical discussion at the beginning of the article from the New Haven Sunday vigilers on the recent attempted coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol that appeared in the February issue of the PAR Newsletter.  This comprehensive reference guide to the “American way of war” describes the aggressive, imperialistic wars that our country has waged since its foundation.

In his preface, Vine makes what may be a minor correction to the vigilers’ dating the U.S.’s regime-changing violence as starting in the 20th Century when he writes: “Some tend to think that this [present] period of forever war is exceptional. Some assume, as I did, that it’s unusual that most new U.S. recruits and new U.S. college students have no memory of a time when their country wasn’t at war. To the contrary, this state of war is the norm in U.S. history.  According to the …Congressional Research Service ,..  the U.S. military has waged war, engaged in combat, or otherwise engaged its forces aggressively in foreign lands in all but eleven years of its existence.” (p. xiv)

The “American way of war” was set forth in General George Washington’s orders to Maj. Gen. John Sullivan about what to do with indigenous tribes who sided with the British in the War of Independence: “Lay waste all the settlements around, that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed… (Chapter 3: Why Are So Many Places Named Fort? p. 50). Little wonder that this soon-to-be first U.S. president was dubbed “Destroyer of villages” by the indigenous inhabitants.

Vine traces the development of U.S.’s aggressive imperialist policy through the lens of forts constructed largely in foreign lands; he supplies informative maps, tables, and charts.  A companion book by Vine is his Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, also available in local libraries through the state’s collective online library catalog; this book serves as a catalog of the 800 foreign bases run by what Americans call their “Department of Defense,” Vine reaches out to families of US soldiers lost in our “forever wars;” he is admirable in his generous treatment of these indirect casualties of U.S. aggression.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

By now, we hope PAR readers know that residents 65 years of age and older can get the COVID-19 vaccine. As of this printing, eligibility will shortly be given to front-line workers and people with underlying health conditions. Please call 2-1-1 for updated COVID-19 information. As we said last month, we want all of our readers to continue to wear masks and observe the recommended 6-feet anti-social distance guidelines. It won’t be for too much longer. Remember, it’s better to be patient than to be a patient.

You can get an appointment online or by phone.

To register online, please visit the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) at https://dphsubmissions.ct.gov/OnlineVaccine. When accepted into the registration portal, you will receive emails detailing the next steps necessary in the scheduling process.

To register by phone, please call (877) 918-2224 during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can also call the City of New Haven Health Department at (203) 639-2245, and Yale New Haven Health at (833) ASK-YNHH [(833) 275-9644)].

For more information on Coronavirus and the vaccine, visit: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus. Or call the CT Virtual Assistant: (833) 250-7633. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, please use 7-1-1 for relay services.

URI Seeks Requests for Free Street Trees in New Haven

Now is the time to request a free street tree for your home!  Thanks to a partnership between the City of New Haven and the Urban Resources Initiative, you can request a tree to be planted for free, as long as you commit to watering the tree to ensure it survives. Planting a tree not only helps to shade, beautify, and add value to your home and the street, but it also provides paid work experience to adults with barriers to employment. URI’s tree experts will work with you to plant a tree that thrives at your location and fits your interests.

The spring planting season is only a few weeks away, so request your tree today! New Haven properties only. To make a request, visit https://uri.yale.edu/get-involved/request-free-tree. For more information, contact: uri@yale.edu or (203) 432-6189.

“Unapologetically Radical”

The New Haven Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Music Haven presented the virtual event “Unapologetically Radical” on Feb. 20 to promote anti-racism through arts and culture.

From the press release: “Unapologetically Radical is a one-day virtual event created to address, amplify, and activate anti-racism in arts and culture. This is a safe space for truth-telling and ground-breaking conversations around dismantling systems of racial injustice and applying immediate and direct change.

“….two unique tracks will explore themes around hip-hop & culture as a tool for activism and social change, preservation of black and brown culture, truth and reconciliation and busting the myths around what allyship looks like, just to name a few. This day is designed for Black, indigenous and people of color, community activists, community artists, and arts and cultural organizations doing anti-racism work.”

At this time, we do not know if any of the virtual event will be available on YouTube or Facebook. The website is https://unapologeticallyradical.splashthat.com. For more information, e-mail info@unapologeticallyradical.com to find out about availability of viewing this event “after the fact.”

Mapping Inequality Project: EPA Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Speaker Series

EPA is launching the Environmental Justice (EJ) and Systemic Racism Speaker Series. The first session March 4, 12 – 1 p.m., will highlight The Mapping Inequality Project, a unique collaboration on redlining and current environmental challenges that provides publicly-accessible digitized versions of redlining maps for about 200 cities. This project has generated trailblazing work in the area of EJ and systemic racism. Two of its founders discuss the genesis, philosophy, methodology, and impact of this game-changing project.

Speakers will be Dr. Robert Nelson, Director, Digital Scholarship Laboratory, University of Richmond and Dr. LaDale Winling, Associate Professor of History, Virginia Tech. Moderator is Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor for Environmental Justice, EPA.

Register Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-mapping-inequality-project-tickets-136940963107

The Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Speaker Series will illustrate how addressing systemic racism is highly relevant to EPA’s mission. This series explores how understanding and addressing systemic racism and the roots of disproportionate environmental and public health impacts is key to integrating EJ in the policies and programs of EPA and other environmental agencies to achieve environmental protection for all people.

The first five sessions will focus on redlining and current environmental challenges. Future topics will include Title VI and civil rights program, EJ research and analysis, rural inequities, and others. Suggestions are welcomed. Registration information for each session forthcoming.

For more information, please contact Charles Lee (lee.charles@epa.gov) or Sabrina Johnson (johnson.sabrina@epa.gov).
For up-to-date information about Environmental Justice funding opportunities, events, and webinars, subscribe to EPA’s Environmental Justice listserv by sending a blank email to: join-epa-ej@lists.epa.gov.

Scholarships Available for New Haven High School Seniors

New Haven high school seniors going on to college or technical school are invited to apply for financial help through the New Haven Scholarship Fund. The Fund, which has been around more than 60 years, has begun taking applications for this year’s batch of scholarships.

To see if you qualify and to apply, go to www.newhavenscholarshipfund.org. On the Subscription Information tab, click on “How to Apply.”

Connecticut Green Energy News No. 206, Feb. 19, 2012

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action (ECGA). To subscribe, contact Peter Millman at peter.millman7@gmail.com.

More information is at https://www.pacecleanenergy.org

Five takeaways from Connecticut’s new residential solar program changes

Energy News Network. “After years of debate over reforming the state’s solar program, stakeholders widely praised the new rules released last week. Connecticut utility regulators have reconfigured the state’s residential solar program in an effort to ensure its growth and drive innovation.” Plus: PURA Establishes New Residential Renewable Energy Program (FAQs from PURA)

Could rolling blackouts happen in New England?

NHPR. “I think the biggest single issue is that winter is normal in New Hampshire and across the Northeast. We are used to seeing these types of intense winter storms and multiple low-degree days. The problem in Texas is, that’s not normal there. This is a once-in-fifty, one-in-one-hundred-years type of event. And given that, the overall energy infrastructure system has not been developed and constructed with this type of severe weather in mind.”

Amid unprecedented storm damage, Eversource’s 2020 profits rise to $1.21B

Hartford Business Journal. “Eversource said a lower effec-tive tax rate also benefited its fourth-quarter bottom line.”

Lamont defends environmental, transportation agenda

CT News Junkie. “Lamont dismissed as “nonsense” the idea that drivers and truckers may avoid Connecticut roadways in an effort to avoid new user fees or high gas prices. He said drivers would need to travel through states with even higher fees to avoid Connecticut. You’re paying for that the whole way up the East Coast, it’s only when you get to Connecticut that everybody gets a free ride except for the poor taxpayers of our state,” he said.” Plus: Connecticut Gov. Lamont unveils environmental priorities amid dispute over impact on gasoline prices

As Boston gets on board, community power compacts gain steam

22 News WWLP.com. “…the program is part of the city’s commitment to environmental justice and one of its goals is to make renewable energy more accessible to residents who are socially vulnerable and have likely been disproportionately impacted by climate change…With a lot of aggregation programs we’re seeing them go five percentage points, 10 percentage points, much higher beyond that standard to procure more green electricity for their consumers. And that’s, from a local level, probably one of the most if not the most impactful ways to reduce emissions if you’re trying to meet climate goals.”

1 2