Tag Archives: Climate Change

Gas Leaks Presentation

Gas Leaks in Belmont: A Presentation with Belmont Chapter of Mothers Out Front and Sustainable Belmont

Wednesday, April 27
7 PM
Assembly Room, Belmont Public Library

Did you know that within its 4.6 square miles Belmont has 80 gas leaks, with the oldest dating back to 1996? Of these, only 7 are scheduled to be fixed within the next 12 months. Gas leaks are coordinated with road repairs as much as possible, but still, every year the numbers increase. Here is a link to a map showing Belmont’s gas leaks as of December 2015, when there were 90 leaks.

Why should we be concerned about gas leaks? Public health and climate change. Gas leaks are a threat to health – they exacerbate asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Methane – the gas leaked – is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Who pays for the leaked gas? We do. The costs for lost gas are passed on in billing and the gas company has little financial incentive to fix all but the worst leaks. Learn about efforts to hold gas companies accountable for fixing leaks and what you can do to help.

Free and open to the public.

Climate Action Plan – 2016 Updates

Sustainable Belmont Meeting: Climate Action Plan Updated

Wednesday, April 6
7 PM
Assembly Room, Belmont Public Library

Join us for an overview of the recent updates to the Climate Action Plan based on the previous year’s work of the Town Energy Committee. Presenters include Energy Committee members, Ian Todreas, James Booth and Jan Kruse.

Free and open to the public.

Belmont Climate Action Plan

The Belmont Climate Action Plan – Finalized Version of 2009:

Read more discussion in the community on the Climate Action Plan:
Blogging Belmont
itizens Herald
The Belmont Patch


Belmont Uplands

The Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands and Winn Brook Neighbrhood, Inc. is a non-profit corporation. More than a dozen Coalition volunteers are supported by hundreds of area residents. They are currently seeking funds for future legal and expert fees related to the permitting process in support of its mission, among other efforts.

At a recent presentation hosted by Sustainable Belmont on April 2, 2014, Anne-Marie Lambert presented a brief history of the Belmont Uplands as well as a Belmont perspective on the risks to wildlife and flooding from development in this area. You can walk with Anne-Marie on one of her educational, family-friendly tours by writing to her at the Belmont Citizens Forum for more information.

Idith Haber of the Coalition presented the history of the Coalition’s efforts to preserve the Uplands, the status of the building permit application, and Belmont’s new stormwater by-law and its applicability to the project.

Solar for Your Home

Solar, Please?

Solar for residents of Belmont is possible. Join us for a panel presentation and discussion with industry representatives and homeowners.

Wednesday, November 6th, 7-9 PM
Belmont Public Library Assembly Room

INDUSTRY REPRESENTATIVES: Bruce Hiles from New England Solar Hot Water and Corey Bullock from Solar City will discuss the principles and the benefits of solar energy in residences and both purchasing and leasing options for members of the community.

LOCAL HOMEOWNERS: Darrell King will share his experience with converting his home to solar energy and Rebecca McNeill will share her experience converting to solar hot water. Each has had their systems for several years and can relay pros and cons in their decision-making.

Can’t fit it in? Or, just want to make sure your questions is covered? Send us your questions by email in advance: sustainablebelmont@gmail.com

We will post a brief summary of the event on our website after the event.

Not sure about solar, here are more resources for energy efficiency in Belmont.


Climate Change and Public Health

Climate Change and Public Health
Presentation by Dr. Richard Clapp

October 2nd, 7 – 9 PM at the Belmont Library Assembly Room

Dr. Clapp will describe the major effects of climate change on public health, including the health effects of extreme weather events such as heat waves, the spread of vector-borne diseases, disruption of food supplies, worsened air pollution and respiratory disease, and the stress of population displacement. He will describe the public health impacts of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy as recent examples from the U.S. Finally, he will present some of the policy options at local, regional and national levels that can reduce future public health impacts of climate change.

We will also have the good fortune to receive Dan Ferber as a guest this night. Attendees will be able to purchase his recent book, Changing Planet, Changing Health. Looking forward to a rich discussion!

Download the Poster for Climate Change and Public Health

Special Thanks to Dr. Richard Clapp for his presentation and Author/Journalist, Dan Ferber for his guest appearance!

If you missed the talk, you can see our re-cap here.

Thanks for coming out to the post-presentation “Walk and Talk”!
We look forward to another follow-up event in November.

Presentation Recap: Climate Change & Public Health 2013

If you didn’t make it to last night’s event…

Dr. Clapp, Professor Emeritus Boston University School of Public Health and member of National Physicians for Social Responsibility among other accolades, reminded us of the realities of global temperature rise and its direct impacts on the environment and health. While this post will not be an exact replica of his talk, it will serve to highlight a few valuable points.

Global temperature rise is expected to be at least 1.5 degrees CELSIUS by the year 2100. We can expect more extreme weather events, a reduction in albedo and sea level rises between 6 and 38 inches. (See IPCC 5th Assessment) For demonstrable evidence of the melting Alaskan tundra, he pointed to the sinking oil pipeline and ensuing damage from such shifts. By way of ice core analysis, we know that 200,000 years ago, global temperatures were 5ºC LESS than now.

The areas of climate change – temperature increases, precipitation change and sea level rise – impact several health related areas: altered food andcrop production will lead to some regions experiencing malnutrition and hunger; extreme weather will lead to a related increase in deaths, injuries and psychological disorders; thermal extremes will also lead to an increase in heat and cold related illnesses and deaths; worsened air pollution will exacerbate acute and chronic respiratory conditions; and finally, an increase in vectors and infectious parasites will yield greater outbreaks of infectious and waterborne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

Dan Ferber, a freelance journalist who covers science, technology, health and the environment was also present and he illuminated on the conditions of Mt. Kenya in Nairobi, Kenya, where the temperature increase has led to the population of malaria-carrying mosquitoes to inhabit higher altitudes. This has led to severe impact on the highland population that has not developed the defenses that the neighboring people of the lower lands have developed. He articulated that this and other stories can be read in his recent publication, Changing Planet, Changing Health, co-authored with the late Dr. Paul Epstein, dear colleague of our guest speaker.

We were also reminded that Hurricane Sandy was a year ago, come October 30th – a hurricane whose diameter spread 1,100 miles and whose cost came second only to Katrina, at $71 billion dollars. 285 people in 7 different countries died. Anecdotally, Al Gore is no longer criticized for exaggerating storm surge flooding of the NYC transit system.

And lest we forget, the 3 sisters – Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, along with 23 other storms and 12 hurricanes all occurred in 2005. In Louisiana and Missouri, deaths reached 1300 and costs reached nearly $100 billion in property damage alone. Emergency responders learned many lessons from that event – many that we too could learn from, including such seemingly innocuous things as having battery operated walkie talkies so communication can persist in the absence of electricity and cell towers.

First responders continue to learn by testing desktop scenarios, creating and implementing emergency shelters for heat and cold temperatures, and bettering their response capabilities.

We are still left to address reductions in carbon emissions. Let it be said, Bavaria, a mere region in Germany, outnumbers the entire United States in solar energy implementation. We are encouraged to look at policy choices, cap and trade options, carbon taxes, becoming a green community, smart grids and net metering, enabling bike transportation and overall energy conservation.

Many questions were asked and it was underscored the interest re-insurers have in addressing climate change and policy, lest they are bankrupted in due course of business. Yes, we can expect increases in disparities between haves and have-nots regarding health and nutrition. And while the U.S. has not seen food price related riots, other regions have. Food costs will go up. Investing in your CSA and local suppliers will not only cut down on fossil fuel consumption related to transport, it will support local biodiversity which in turn leads to more resilient strains and more resilient (and hopefully abundant!) food supplies.

We are reminded that the majority of antibiotics go to livestock, who are raised in such close quarters that disease and infection spreads quickly and pervasively. Such excessive use is leading to greater resistant strains of bugs and having a serious negative health impact on the ability to treat humans with antibiotics.

The health effects of fracking are being closely followed and we were advised that it’s not looking good for water – the water table is being contaminated and the diversion and purification is costly and challenging.

Finally, there is transportation. And though some cities in the midwest might debate the cost viability of a bus transportation system for…ever (yes, you, Indianapolis), thankfully others have embraced clean bus technology and are making it work. We are fortunate to have an incredible transit system, and I look forward to the day (dare I say it) when the Trapelo Rd. buses will get their wires back and we can all breathe a little easier again.

–Kate Bowen, 10/2013