Thursday, July 7, 2016

BU professor exposes ties between pipeline company, federal regulators

Itai Vardi, who teaches sociology at Boston University, has been writing about the conflicts of interest in the relationship between natural gas pipeline company Spectra Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is tasked with regulating the company’s activities. Spectra is building the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline that many of our friends and neighbors have been protesting.

More than 100 protesters, including more than a dozen clergy and Al Gore’s daughter Karenna Gore Schiff, have been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience against the pipeline construction.

Here are Vardi’s recent posts about Spectra:

Former FERC Official Hired By Company With $1.8 Million Stake In Spectra Energy Pipeline Project He Had Reviewed

Revealed: Contractors Hired by FERC to Review a New Spectra Energy Pipeline Work for Spectra on a Related Project

Exposed: Spectra-Funded Group Lobbied for FERC Commissioner's Reappointment, Then FERC Approved Spectra’s Gas Pipelines

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Stopping a Pipeline - Update from the Spectra Pipeline M&R Station Gate In West Roxbury

That's Jeff Gang and me in the green slickers holding the banner. Greg Tobin is offering support to our left. Five of my affinity group attended including three of us "riskers". - Photo by Laura Gang
By Steve Gag

WEST ROXBURY, Mass., Tuesday, July 5th - Four of us risked getting arrested in front of the metering and regulation station gate in West Roxbury earlier this morning. The metering and regulation station sits directly across the street from an active quarry that frequently uses dynamite. The gas line and station are within 50 yards of the quarry. The high pressure gas line isn't needed. It will be used to bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania to ports for export to other countries.

Jeff Gang and I holding one of the banners. The person in the car taking a picture of Laura Gang taking a picture is a guard for the Spectra Pipeline company. - Photo by Laura Gang
We sat down in front of the gate to prevent vehicles from entering and leaving. The four of us, along with 20+ supporters, shut the gate down twice before we were dragged away by several police officers.

No one was hurt and no one was arrested. The latest police tactic is to push and carry people out the construction areas rather than arrest protesters. Even going limp, which all four of us did twice, did not lead to arrest. We did disrupt things and we did slow construction down for a period of time which was the objective.

Shutting down an active construction site is not easy. Societal forces are aligned against us. 150+ folks have been arrested over the past 8 weeks and several hundred people have attended countless actions, vigils and demonstrations.

But as we have seen with the Keystone Pipeline and most recently with the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, when enough people get involved things do change. Let me know if you you are interested in participating. Go to resistthepipeline.org for more info.

Being dragged away from the gate by BPD officers. That's Tom from my affinity group next to me. Our two female "riskers" were dragged off to the other side of the gate. Average age of the group is 65+. - Photo by Laura Gang

Monday, June 20, 2016

Reimagining Scott’s Yard

Photo by Alice Apley

By Alice Apley

Know you want to make changes in your yard, but you’re not sure where to start? Tend to buy plants on a whim or overplant an area and only realize afterwards that you could have planned things a bit better? Not sure what makes sense for your space and for you and anyone else who uses your yard? Paralyzed by what to do first?

Whatever your goals – support pollinators, invite wildlife into your backyard, grow pick-and-eat fruit, improve your neighborhood’s streetscape, or simply make your yard a more comfortable place to spend time – planning is essential. GreeningRozzie’s Garden Design Maker Mob met on June 12th for the first of three sessions to learn a hands-on, step-by-step process for making your garden dreams reality.

Photo by Alice Apley
Using Scott’s yard a couple blocks south of Roslindale Village, landscape designer Laura Smeaton walked the group through the first stages in a design process: Goal Setting and Gathering Data & Observation. Scott had already identified his priority areas as well as his goals. For the unsightly border in the back yard he wants to hide the unattractive rocks, break up the right angles of the yard and create a pollinator and bird-friendly environment. For the narrow, shady side yard that previously was covered with asphalt, his goal is to liven up the dead zone and create a space that invites visitors into the back yard.

As part of the Gathering Data and Observation component we discussed sun, wind, rain, soil, elevation, stakeholders (children, neighbors, or others who might also use or shape the yard), existing hardscape (fences, paths, building structures) and existing plantings.

And then we got our hands dirty, measuring the spaces, and mapping the different components on separate base maps. By the end of the session we had created a complete set of base maps showing: 1) terrain, landscape and soil; 2) sun; 3) wind; 4) hardscape; 5) wildlife and animals; and 6) existing plantings. And in doing so, we realized that Scott was already on his way to meeting his goal of a wildlife-friendly yard. Throughout the session, the small birdbath in the yard was visited by thirsty honeybees from a neighbor’s hive.

Photo by Alice Apley
The biggest take-away for the participants was the importance of mapping each of these factors on its own map. We only realized the importance of this in the doing, because simply describing existing fences, walls and rocks was a challenge to organize in a clear way. Also, by creating separate maps, when something changes, you don’t have to start from scratch. For instance, if that big tree in the corner of your yard comes down, you only need to redo the existing plantings and sun maps, but hardscape, soil types and other features won’t change.

And while the focus was on Scott’s yard, each of us could relate to his challenges and the process was easily transferable to our own spaces. So while we were helping him block out and map his space, I couldn’t help but start to imagine the goals for my side yard (part composting work area and part zen garden?).

The next session will be Turn Imagination into Plans: Learn to Make Scale Drawings! Hope to see you there. If you’re interested in joining us for this session, sign up on this form.

Photo by Alice Apley

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Honoring my father’s memory in a green way


By Eric Smalley

My father passed away last fall and since then I’ve been doing my best to honor his memory. I’ve shared old photos on social media and delivered a eulogy at his memorial service. GreeningRozzie’s Memory Tree Project has been a wonderful part of this process.

I’ve claimed a street tree in his name. It’s a public remembrance of my father, a living thing to care for in his memory, and it contributes to the city’s vital effort to maintain our street trees.

If you’d like to care for a street tree in honor of a loved one, sign up on the Memory Tree Project page.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Drink responsibly

reusable cups
Heading to Green T Coffee House or any of the other fine beverage-serving establishments in Roslindale? Think green and bring a reusable cup!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Court puts state’s feet to the fire on carbon emissions

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that the state is not doing enough to comply with the Massachusetts' Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires the state to make meaningful and measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The ruling, in response to a suit brought by the Conservation Law Foundation and the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, could result in stricter emissions controls for vehicles and power plants.

Links:

State not doing enough to curb greenhouse gas emissions, court rules

Global Warming Solutions Act Background

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

West Roxbury pipeline battle heats up

Construction has resumed on the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. Find out about the latest developments in the ongoing efforts to stop the pipeline.

The urgency of stopping the pipeline was underscored last week by an explosion of another Spectra pipeline:
Company promising safe gas pipeline in West Roxbury has Pennsylvania pipeline explode; house destroyed, resident burned

Here’s how some people are stepping up:
Four more arrested in West Roxbury as pipeline work resumes