Wakefield MA USA

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August 8, 2008 Meeting Report
As emailed to the WCAP BCC email list

Hi folks,

We had a great meeting on the evening of Thursday 8/7!  And, a number of you who could not attend that evening expressed interest in getting more involved - so, now it is time to get some Action Teams together for WCAP projects. 

But first, here is a report on the meeting. See later in this email for specific Action Teams and how to join a team.  Also, check out www.wakefieldcap.org later this week – the teams and contact links will be posted there.

During the first part of our meeting, we determined that WCAP’s current educational focus remains very important and that one of our Teams should focus on increasing our visibility and expanding the resources we make available via our website and other PR and activities.

With this in mind, we talked about groups such as We Can Solve It www.wecansolveit.org,  350.org www.350.org, and 1 Sky  www.1sky.org. All three groups provide great resources and action ideas that educate citizens about global warming and encourage our politicians to take serious steps to save our environment.

We would like to publicize these groups on the WCAP website, and seek a volunteer or a PR Action Team to publicize the recommendations of these and other climate action organizations via press releases, letters to the editor, and/or a monthly column in our local papers.

WCAP is planning to organize an event as part of 1 Sky’s National “Green Jobs Now: A Day to Build the New Economy on September 27, 2008.  See http://events.greenjobsnow.com/signup/1sky for more information. The idea of presenting a movie, such as “An Inconvenient Truth,” on the Common or other venue also came up.

Further expanding our website was also discussed, including sharing pages and cross linking with other local groups that address environmental issues.

The brainstorming section of the meeting resulted in the formation of 4 Action Teams with the following focuses:  Transportation, CFLs, Locally Grown (farmer’s market and community garden) and Education and PR. Each team has picked at least one specific project but welcome ideas from others who would like to join forces with any of the teams and take the lead on a project.

A number of recycling ideas, including composting, came up but, since the Creative Revenue Forum already has a team working on “green” ways to reduce expenses and create revenue for the Town of Wakefield, it makes sense for folks who want to work on that angle to join forces with the CFR Environmental Action Team. Note: If research shows that composting or other recycling projects won’t show an immediate enough financial benefit for the town to take it on directly, then WCAP can sponsor such projects.

We also talked about the pros and cons of incorporating and applying for 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status.  My take is that this would be worthwhile because we could then accept tax-deductible donations to offset basic expenses (many printing and fee expenses have already been donated) and we could apply for grants that can help the community.  In addition, having elected officers and a board of directors can ensure that the “many hands make lighter work” process happens!

Again, it was a great meeting.  And now…

Below are the WCAP Action Teams that have formed.  Note: As each team grows, we’ll get their project descriptions and individual contact links on the WCAP website. But, in the meantime, if you would like to join one or more of these teams, let me know by replying to this email and I’ll hook you up with that team. 

Also, if you have an idea for an additional team, let me know and I’ll send an email out about it to see it others are interested.

Here they are.  Sign up early and often!  J

The immediate focus is getting parents involved with walking and  biking to school with their children.  See http://www.iwalktoschool.org/  International Walk to School Month is October – so it is coming up soon!

Other areas of interest include the enforcement of Idling laws (Did you know that, in Massachusetts, idling any vehicle for more than 5 minutes is illegal except in a VERY few circumstances?) and finding out why Wakefield does not allow the sale of diesel fuel in light of the improvements in diesel engines and fuel as well as the possible availability of bio-diesel fuel from Irving.

CFLs – This team will focus on getting more folks to use energy-saving CFL bulbs in place of incandescent bulbs.  An immediate focus is getting a company or companies to donate CFL bulbs to be given out at our local food pantry, thus also helping folks in need to save on their electric bill.  A related item is ensuring that Wakefield has a year-round place to drop off used CFL and other fluorescent bulbs as well as other mercury-containing items.

NOTE: I just want to acknowledge that, because most, if not all CFLs are made in China or other offshore sources, (Can anyone find a USA source?  Lights of America recently changed to China bulbs), some folks have reservations about encouraging CFL use.  Others are concerned about ill effects on health caused by florescent lighting. However, it has been shown that increased CFL use will significantly reduce carbon emissions.  CFLs are obviously not a perfect solution, but they do provide an immediate benefit that will help reduce a long-term problem. Whether the benefit outweighs any negatives is a matter of personal opinion; therefore, WCAP will support a team and any projects that encourage the use of CFLs – while also publicizing any USA and full-spectrum sources of bulbs that use less energy than do incandescent bulbs.

Locally Grown – This group will explore the possibility of starting a Farmer’s Market and community gardening in Wakefield. 

The farmer’s market has been mentioned by the Creative Revenue “Fundraising and other” team, but I think that, since the direct/immediate financial benefit to the town may not be earth-shattering to those with only dollars on their minds, this might better be a WCAP project.  I will get in touch with the CRF folks and confirm that it makes sense to do this via WCAP.  It would free them up for projects that can raise more direct funds. If they want to own the project, then those of us interested can work with them.

Community gardening – maybe schools having gardens.  Finding and securing land that can be divided up into plots for interested community members – extra produce to the food pantry and or a farmer’s market.  See http://www.cityofwoburn.com/index.asp?NID=847   This would be great for building community and providing local activities, along with the environmental and health benefits.

Education and PR – An immediate focus of this team is to make sure that the website is expanded and redesigned to provide easy access to more information and, as appropriate, integrated with the CRF and Energy Conservation Committee Wiki sites. 

Other projects/tasks available to a team or one volunteer –

- Be the point person for a specific event such as the upcoming 9/27 Green Job Day http://events.greenjobsnow.com/signup/1sky,

- Track the action alerts and other suggestions from national global warming action websites such as those listed above and sending small PR articles or letters to the editor (and to the WCAP webmaster).

- Write a monthly column updating the community about WCAP projects, new global warming data, new ways to help, a new organization with great ideas, etc.

Okay – that’s it for now.

Thank you!