Sustainable Arlington - May 27th, 2020

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Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Warrant Article. Our spring town meeting will have a limited warrant; mostly budgetary articles that the town needs to pass in order to operate for the coming year. The attorney general should conclude their review of Brookline's bylaw before our proposal goes to town meeting. That will give us time to make revisions, if necessary.

Indoor (gas) cooking has been linked to asthma and other health effects. In the future, we might consider doing outreach on the benefits of induction stoves. Arlington Continuing Education might be an appropriate venue.

True Story Theater. The True Story Theater event had numerous attendees, even some from other countries. One young boy had a beehive and told a story about bees. Brucie and Louisa are encouraging the town to experiment with no-mow strips.

Steve points out that 85% of Arlington is residentially zoned. We may be able to get some mileage by encouraging home owners to establish their own no-mow zones, or to replace grass with other plantings.

Sustainable Transportation Plan. Amos gives a short demonstration of the sustainable transportation plan's mapping survey.

Representative Dave Rogers says that COVID is taking up most of the legislature's time right now. He's looking forward to working on climate and education policy, once the health emergency is under control.

Tom Starr Presentation. Mr. Starr is an artist who's been doing work related to climate change.

One of his past projects was an exhibit to draw attention to the high rate of youth violence in three of Boston's thirteen neighborhoods. They did a mobile memorial on a city bus, replacing advertising displays with art.

Another project tried to change the dialog around climate change, by approaching it with religious and patriotic language. This was done on highway billboards.

His current project is called Remembrance of Climate Future. Climate change is a bigger problem than COVID-19, and it's often discussed as something that take place decades in the future, or in other parts of the globe. Many municipalities are taking on climate change at a very local level. Mr. Starr worked with Essex, Massachusetts to develop a series of markers. They say things like "2070: flood waters first arrived here". They're like commemorative markers, but with a date in the future. The goal is to highlight risks and achievements.

The Essex installation was done by affixing markers to existing sign posts. The dates and events were taken from existing reports and studies. Each plaque has a QR code, which can be scanned to obtain more information. The project got local press coverage, and was the subject of an associated press article.

Steve asks what we'd want to show in Arlington. Mr. Starr believes this is a question for the town. The plaques could show areas of flooding, adaptation, or mitigation.

Cecily thinks part of the project would involve identifying groups to work with. That could include Sustainable Arlington, the Planning department, and the MWRA. Brucie suggests the Tree Committee and the Clean Energy Futures Committee. Cecily suggests adding groups working on sustainable planting, invasive species control, and bird watching communities.

(had to leave the meeting at this point)