New Haven Climate Movement: Past Successes and New Projects

by Grace Laliberte, New Haven Climate Movement

The New Haven Climate Movement (NHCM) is a grass-roots collection of youth and individuals in the New Haven area pushing for action regarding the current climate emergency. The group has worked with New Haven officials to implement city-wide reform in the past year and has been successful in many ventures, such as the passing of the New Haven Climate and Sustainability Framework in 2018, which provided a specific framework for acting on the climate emergency, as well as passing the New Haven Climate Emergency Resolution in 2019, where the city agreed to reduce New Haven’s carbon emissions to zero by 2030 and to implement a Climate Mobilization Task Force.

This year, NHCM was able to compel New Haven to invest $560,000 in capital funding towards climate infrastructure projects through our 0.1% for the Future proposal, which requested that 0.1% of the city budget be set aside for climate action. Although these successes are monumental and praiseworthy, NHCM continues to mobilize to ensure New Haven follows through on these promises required to address the growing urgency of the climate crisis.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, NHCM is working on a set of inspiring initiatives, such as our Climate Justice Schools Proposal, to improve the implementation of quality climate-based education in New Haven Public Schools. Our Electric Future committee is also striving for electrification for all buildings, vehicles, and appliances in New Haven, which would allow the city economic gain, increased social equity, less air and noise pollution, and other benefits. NHCM is also working towards spreading awareness and educating those who reside on Connecticut’s shoreline about the threatening climate through a CT Green New Deal, which urges state representatives to address pressing issues like flooding, beach erosion, and future heightened natural disasters.

Overall, NHCM is committed to ensuring New Haven does its part in securing a just future while amplifying essential youth voices.

Join us this Saturday for our climate-themed virtual Trivia Night and Poster Making contest! Click the link in our bio to sign up and compete for the chance to win a $25 Patagonia gift card and $25 Artists and Craftsman gift card. More info on how everything works to come. We hope to see you there!!! #climatechange #globalwarming #climateeducation #climatecrisis #trivianight #trivia #quizlet #art #artcontest #patagonia #artisancrafts #newhaven #climatemovement #nhv #youth #connecticutevents

To stay updated on NHCM events such as the Sept. 25 official global climate change strike day and get more involved, you can check our website: www.newhavenclimatemovement.org, along with our Instagram and Facebook @newhavenclimatemovement.

C3M Calls for Car Caravan Rally Against Planned Fracked Gas Plant June 5

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Friday, June 5, will see sign-covered autos traveling to Hartford to circle the block upon which the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) building sits. It has been approving the permits needed by the NTE company to build another fracked “natural gas” plant in Killingly, in eastern CT. The CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) is sponsoring the car caravan.

Now when there is a glut of fossil fuels, when oil wells are being capped because there’s nowhere to store the unneeded petroleum pumped by oil producers, the idea that another natural gas (methane) burning plant will be built is ludicrous. Even before the pandemic Gov. Ned Lamont admit-ted CT didn’t need the energy from another gas burner. Supposedly it was needed by the New England region. So the project appears to be rolling on.

Of course, need is a flexible term. What the region desperately needs to do is to cut back on carbon emissions. Global warming gases can destroy civilization. Civilization will survive if there’s less electricity to power gadgets and air conditioners.

One permit that needs to be won by NTs to be won by NTE would allow it to discharge 90,000 gallons of toxic wastewater daily. The goop would include lead, ammonia, petroleum, phosphorous, copper and other metals. The town of Killingly would have to treat the polluted water to make it usable. A very fine article about this by UCONN law student Tennyson Benedict was published in the Courant. Search online for the article headlined: “Killingly gas plant wastewater discharges are another reason for worry.”

The time of the car caravan on June 5 is 3-4 p.m. To find out more information see @ctclimate on Twitter and the C3M website www.ctclimatecrisismobilization.org.

Food Assistance Resources During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coordinated Food Assistance Network has put together this online guide (English and Spanish).  It is updated very frequently: https://bit.ly/nhvfoodcovid.

CFAN has also developed a pantry delivery system for low-income folks who can’t get out during this crisis. It’s called Pantry to Pantry. If you know anyone in need, they can call the hotline: 888-910-2960.

The Dwight substation food pantry (142-158 Edgewood Avenue) will be open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays 9-11 a.m. Other New Haven food resources can be found here: https://covid-19-1-newhavenct.hub.arcgis.com/pages/food.

Urban Resource Initiative Honors Graduates with a Tree

by Anna Ruth Pickett, URI

Greetings!

URI is excited to help honor New Haven graduates by planting trees in front of their homes thanks to a partnership with the City of New Haven. Will you help us find graduates to celebrate? We will plant trees in front of their home, or the home of a family member or friend, school or a local business (as long as it is in New Haven and there is someone willing to water the tree). Adopt your Graduation Tree today!

Graduation Trees were the idea of Metropolitan Business Academy student Adrian Huq. Adrian says, “As a current high school senior, I understand the letdown the Class of 2020 feels in not being able to spend their last months with their teachers and classmates, enjoy senior activities, and of course, have a graduation. Graduating marks a new chapter and our transition into adulthood and further independence. What better way to honor this accomplishment and mark this new beginning than to plant a tree? No matter how far from home you go after high school, this tree will remain grounded, waiting upon your return. It will grow and thrive for years to come – just like you! – and stand as a reminder to this important milestone.”

Help us announce this opportunity by forwarding this email or sharing our posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) using the hashtag #GraduationTree and providing the link: yalef.es/treerequest.

Take care and be well, Anna

Call to adopt a tree: (203) 432-6189 Email: uri@yale.edu Or sign up online: yalef.es/treerequest

Earth Day Rally Connects Coronavirus To Climate Change

Emily Hays, New Haven Independent, Apr 23, 2020

Pollution can lead to respiratory illness, which leads to a higher chance of dying from COVID-19. Earth Day turned 50 in New Haven on Wednesday with that connection in mind.

Sunrise New Haven held an Earth Day rally as a livestream to comply with local and state orders to avoid spreading COVID-19. The crisis was on the organizers’ minds; each of the dozen speakers described the parallels between the virus shutting down workplaces throughout the region and the discriminatory effects of climate change.

“I would like to recognize that we are currently living through two crises,” said emcee Adrian Huq.
Huq is a senior at Metropolitan Business Academy and a leader in youth-led New Haven Climate Movement.

Yale graduate union member and East Rock Alder Charles Decker walked the roughly 150 attendees through a series of similar maps of New Haven. The first was a redlining map of neighborhoods where banks restricted homeownership opportunities. He then cycled through neighborhood rates of unemployment and asthma. The last image was of the neighborhoods COVID-19 has hit hardest.

“What you’re seeing is that these maps time and time again look the same,” Decker said.
“The map of areas devastated by climate change is going to look exactly the same unless we act now,” said Hill Alder and New Haven Rising organizer Ron Hurt.

For more on this story visit: https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/COVID_earth_day_rally

Contact Sunrise New Haven, sunrisenewhavenct@gmail.com

Job Opening at CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

CRCJ’s Board of Directors is launching the search for a new Executive Director/Lead Organizer, and we ask that you help us spread the word to your colleagues and networks to ensure that we get a strong and diverse pool of candidates, who will be excited about this opportunity to lead the organization and carry the work forward.

The next Executive Director and Lead Organizer of CRCJ will guide a statewide organization committed to protecting the climate while creating good local jobs and working for justice. The new leader will replace the founding Executive Director who has guided the organization since 2012.

A short summary of the organization and position is located below. The complete position description and contact information for interested candidates may be found at: CTClimateandJobs.org/exec_search
We encourage you to send questions or suggestions of potential candidates or sources to John Harrity, Board Chair at exec.search@ctclimateandjobs.org. The search will remain open and active until filled, but initial interviews are anticipated to begin in early May. Thank you.

The Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs seeks a dynamic and passionate Executive Director and Lead Organizer who will take this innovative nonprofit to its next level. The new leader will replace the founding Executive Director, who has successfully led the organization since 2012.

Overview of the Organization: The Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs (CRCJ) builds alliances among diverse constituencies to combat climate change, create jobs and promote racial, economic and environmental justice. CRCJ embraces diversity as a source of power and engages in collective action to ensure that Connecticut provides leadership in creating a clean energy future.

CRCJ believes the climate crisis presents an opportunity to build thriving local economies that are not only more sustainable but also more just and equitable.

ctclimateandjobs.org/wpcontent/uploads/2020/04/CRCJ-Position-Description-FINAL2-Apr-2020.pdf

Speak up for local land conservation

You can help protect 70+ acres of open space land in Greenwich!

by Laura McMillan, CFE/Save the Sound

For several months, CFE/Save the Sound has been working closely with the Greenwich Land Trust and the Town of Greenwich on an agreement to protect 72.27 acres of forest and wetland currently owned by the Aquarion Water Company. Without the intervention of these local partners, the land would have been incredibly vulnerable to development and Greenwich would have lost a beautiful landscape and all the ecological and human benefits it gives.
But there are a few more steps before the protection deal is complete. You can help!

You can send official comments to the Public Utility Regulatory Authority from home:
1. Email your comments to PURA.ExecutiveSecretary@ct.gov by March 24.
2. Put “Docket 20-01-58” in the subject line.
3. Tell PURA you support Aquarion’s application to dispose of 80 acres of land, including 72.27 acres to the Greenwich Land Trust, and why preserving open space in Greenwich is important to you.
There is a public hearing scheduled Tuesday, March 24 at 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., in the Cone Meeting Room, Greenwich Town Hall, 101 Field Point Road. Given the current public health situation with COVID-19, the hearing is subject to change. Please check Town of Greenwich’s website and PURA Docket 20-01-58 for updates and be mindful of minimizing transmission risk.

CT Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound
www.ctenvironment.org | www.savethesound.org
900 Chapel Street, Upper Mezzanine, New Haven, CT 06510

Speak Out Against Environmental Injustice | Save the Sound (formerly CT Fund for the Environment)

Environmental injustices are a national problem, and our state is no exception. Connecticut’s less prosperous neighborhoods face unfair pollution and public health threats.

For example, the combined asthma hospitalization rate for Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, and Waterbury is 3.4 times greater than for the rest of the state.

In 2008, Connecticut passed its first environmental justice legislation into law. It recognized the unjustly frequent placement of power plants, sewage treatment plants, waste incinerators, and landfills near low-income communities and communities of color. These toxic sites spew pollution into over-burdened neighborhoods and cause disproportionately high rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
The proposed bill strengthens this existing legislation by:

  1. Changing existing law from a voluntary to a mandatory requirement for polluting facility developers to conduct public engagement like notifying neighborhood and environmental groups of their plans in writing.
  2. Adding a new clause to invalidate any application for a new power plant, etc. if the applicant does not abide by the rules of public participation.
  3. Proposing the creation of a wellness clinic, and ongoing asthma screening, air monitoring, an ongoing traffic study, and watercourse monitoring to track impacts.

Let the Environment Committee hear your thoughts on this proposed bill! You can call (860) 240‑0440, e-mail https://www.cga.ct.gov/env/ or write the Environment Committee, Legislative Office Building, Room 3200, Hartford, CT 06106. Also, contact your local representative and senator to let them know you think this is important.

Net Zero Energy Schools in CT: Major Retrofits and New Construction

by CT Energy Network & People’s Action for Clean Energy

We are excited to invite you to a special gathering of the Connecticut Energy Network (CTEN). This event is on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Rockfall Foundation, 27 Washington St. in Middletown. The program will focus on what we can all do in our towns to transition our schools to zero energy.

Topics include:
How holistic energy efficiencies – the first consideration!
– strengthen the benefits of solar and other renewables/
local clean energy generation;
How demand reduction and building science relate to
state energy goals and to school districts’ bottom lines;
What financial and planning resources exist today in CT
to help school districts minimize energy costs while
improving student performance and well-being.
All-electric HVAC technologies for schools.
Our keynote speaker is John Balfe, Buildings and Community Solutions Expert at Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP). Lunch is provided. Seating is limited and registration is required. Please attend with a school representative. To register and for more information, contact Patrice Gillespie at patricegillespie@mac.com.

Book Review-Transitioning to a Vegan Diet by B.W. Leete

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace, and community activist

There is a new book out from local author Brad Leete, an animal rights and vegan activist who hails from Guilford. Transitioning to a Vegan Diet is his first published book, available at Amazon. It offers practical information and advice to new vegans and those thinking of transitioning to a plant-based diet. As he states in cover notes, “Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan!”

After 35 years of being a vegetarian, I made the transition to veganism about 4 years ago, and have read a number of vegan books and seen all the great videos and documentaries, so my initial reaction was “Been there, done that.” But in addition to a lot of helpful guidance on the hows and whats of making the change to veganism, surprisingly Leete brings forth numerous examples of challenges that may confront even the most well-seasoned vegans… such as little-known non-vegan ingredients to watch out for on labels, common household products tested on animals (and alter-native brands), and issues with certain beers and wines. So, while I purchased several books to give to friends and family, I made damn sure to read it through myself and take some notes!

The book will especially hold appeal for young people, those on a budget, and the health-conscious, because while he offers a variety of information about ingredients, foods, commercial products and experiences in making the transition to veganism, he keeps a constant focus on how to make your new vegan diet affordable and healthy while not losing any of the fun. While largely practical, the book also has some humorous touches… and I may just take him up on his challenge to come up with a “vegan Ratburger.”

As the author notes, “I’m in a lot of beginner vegan groups and see the same basic questions asked over and over. I decided to write a book to help ANYONE transition to a vegan diet/lifestyle while making it fun, easy and affordable.” Old or new vegan, this is a worthwhile read!

And for his next book, Leete has just published this month his second book–The Newbie Vegan Survival Guide: Answers to 151 Common Questions.

Other vegan news:

The CT Shoreline Vegans hold monthly potlucks every first Sunday of the month, 5 p.m., at Shoreline UU Society, 297 Boston Post Rd., Madison. In summer the potlucks are held at the Surf Club in Madison.

Saturday, Jan. 4, 6 p.m. is the 1st Annual Vegan Mac & Cheese Cook-Off, sponsored by Compassionfest. UU Society, 608 Whitney Ave. https://www.facebook.com/events/2498756383726550.

Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Winter Garden Workshop

by Tebben Lopez, NHS

The snow doesn’t have to keep you down. You’d be surprised with how soon in the year you can get started in your garden!

By January, most gardeners start to get an itch to throw their gardening gloves back on. But what they may not know is they can start much sooner than they think!

Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven organizes an opportunity for everyone – gardener and hopeful alike – to get a jump-start on the growing season. NHS helps to increase access to fresh, healthy food by offering the classes for a low-cost and free rate to community gardeners.

Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk teaches six classes that are as accessible as they are informative. A seasoned teacher, who has worked with the UConn master gardening program & Yale University among others, Rachel specializes in organic vegetable gardening.

More information and tickets are available at NHSWinterWorkshops2020.EventBrite.com. NHS wants everyone to have access to these classes and encourages those with means to consider taking them at a help-a-neighbor rate.

The first workshop on soil and composting will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m.-noon at NHS, Building 3, 333 Sherman Ave. (203) 562-0598, Ext. 226.

Update on Green Fund Grants

by Lynne Bonnett, GNHGF

Are you interested in applying for a small grant?  The Greater New Haven Green Fund seeks innovative proposals from committed organizations and individuals for activities that advance our mission to promote environmental quality, public health  and equity in our community by providing grants and other incentives to support initiatives that contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future and reduce air, water and land pollution.

We will have an informational outreach session about the grant application process on Jan. 11 at 10 a.m.  Some members of our Board of Directors will help answer questions about our application process and also talk about possible measurement tools that you can incorporate into your project proposal. It will be held at the Whitneyville Cultural Commons, 1253 Whitney Ave., Hamden.  The session will end by noon.

Please RSVP or contact us if you have any questions at  info@gnhgreenfund.org.

We strongly recommend that you complete the paper version of your application prior to coming to the outreach session if you plan to apply for a grant in 2020.  If you are just curious for future reference, you are also welcome to come and please RSVP.

Applications are due by Jan. 24 at 5 p.m.

Football Versus Survival

by Melinda Tuhus, environmental activist

On Nov. 23 about 130 students from Yale and Harvard ran onto the field after the half-time show at the annual playing of a rivalry so iconic it’s simply called The Game. They unfurled banners calling on the two prestigious, almost unbelievably wealthy universities to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies and Puerto Rican debt. I was one of a handful of baby boomers who joined them.

Divestment would help de-legitimize the fossil fuel industry, which is doing everything in its power to obstruct the transition to renewable energy that is so desperately needed to prevent climate disaster. Puerto Rico, still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, urgently needs debt relief. Thus, the overall theme was “climate justice.”

To me this action was right in line with my involvement over the past five years with Beyond Extreme Energy, which has been fighting to stop the expansion of fossil fuels, especially fracked “natural” gas, which the Federal Energy Commission (FERC) routinely approves, and to call for FERC’s conversion to FREC – the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Gas leaks methane at every stage of production and use, which makes it not a “bridge fuel” to a clean energy future as industry and politicians have touted for years, but actually a dirty fuel than can be worse for the climate than coal.

Since becoming active in the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, I have participated in an untold number of protests, but this was perhaps one of the most impactful. Time will tell if the global media coverage will help move Harvard and Yale to divest these holdings from their endowments ($39 billion for Harvard, $29 billion for Yale). But the action has already had an impact on me.

After we sat down in mid-field and prevented the second half of the game from starting, hundreds more students (and some others) flooded onto the field to join us. It was a beautiful sight. We chanted ’til we were hoarse: “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it, shut it down!” The game announcer pleaded, “Out of courtesy to the players and the fans, please leave the field. The game must go on.” The absurdity of prioritizing a football game over the survival of life on earth as we know it was not lost on us. I wonder how many people in the stands noticed.

Climate scientists say we have until 2030 to reduce the emission of global warming gases enough to prevent irreversible climate chaos. The students know they are facing a changed, diminished and very scary world. Despite the exuberance and joy we all felt in accomplishing our goal of reaching the field and unfurling our banners, the overall feeling is one of trepidation. But also a fierce resolve.

I love these young people with all my heart. I love their commitment, their love for each other, their welcoming elders like me into their bold, creative actions. I love that one of the organizers said we might have to run onto the field and asked me if I could run. You betcha I could.

After 45 minutes, police threatened to arrest those who didn’t leave the field, and most did. Fifty of us stayed and were detained, charged with disorderly conduct. Our court appearance was the morning of Dec. 6 – the same day as another round of powerful and well-attended youth-led climate strikes. How fitting.

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