Sustainable Arlington - Jun 26th, 2019

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Planning Department Update. Kelly Lynema provides an update from the Department of Planning and Community Development. The Clean Energy Future Committee is starting to work on net-zero energy goals. They're currently working on an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, and that should be complete in a few months. The Net Zero Energy Plan will probably take a year. An internal group is meeting tomorrow to talk about hazard mitigation planning. The town just approved a Complete Count Working Group, to prepare for the 2020 census. Every person not counted costs local government about $2400/year. We're looking for people connected to hard-to-count populations. The planning department is about to start working on a sustainable mobility plan, which will examine all forms of transportation used in the town.


Art Can Save the World. Cecily Miller gives a presentation called "Can Art Save the World". The presentation focuses on what art can do, and ways art can be effective. These include:

  • Bringing compelling experiences of nature into our lives, especially urban areas.
  • Revealing the sacred in nature
  • Challenging current models, and expanding our ideas about what is possible.
  • Healing the earth
  • Diminishing fear, making things fun, and inspiring hope.
  • Making the ordinary important.
  • Celebrating sustainable alternatives
  • Bringing people together.

There's a new art exhibit called "Room to Grow", which is just off the bikeway, near Spy Pond Park. The artist built the installation out of salvaged furniture. She'd like people to think about what went into making the furniture, and what happens when it gets thrown out.

Ms. Miller thinks there's general interest in public art that the public can participate in.


Knitting the Alewife. The Knitting the Alewife project was recently awarded a grant. The goal is to bring municipalities around the Alewife corridor together. (The term "kitting" is a metaphor for bringing people together.)

Attendees had an informal discussion about education, outreach, climate change, and how art could be used to raise awareness and motivate people. For example, one might do an installation to showed projected floodwater heights for 2035, or some other point in the future.

I asked a question about home heating systems and carbon emissions. If our goal is to reduce carbon emissions, will we need to think about replacing gas and fuel oil heating with something else? Over the long term, the answer is yes. Electric induction systems should be replaced first, because they're very inefficient. Then fuel oil furnaces, and then natural gas furnaces. Electric heating systems are the preferred alternative; as power generation gets cleaner, these heating systems will get cleaner too.


Upcoming events. Upcoming events include

  • July 11th. Dare to repair with True Story Theatre.
  • July 14th. Fixit clinic at Thompson school
  • July 20th. Pot luck dinner, with rain date of July 21st. Event will be held at 107 Mary Street.
  • Town Day. Sustainable Arlington may share a booth with Envision Arlington. Or they may do a "beach party for the apocalypse"


New Business. The Massachusetts Climate Action network is advocating for a new stretch building code. They'd like a net zero stretch code, which would be more environmentally sustainable than the current stretch code. Stretch codes are enacted by the Board of Building Regulators and Standards (BBRS).