Watertown Group Hosts Forum Titled “Make Polluters Pay”

The following announcement was provided by Progressive Watertown and Watertown Faces Climate Change:

Are you interested in how we as a community can respond to climate challenges? Please join us for a Forum on Make Polluters Pay at the Watertown Public Library on Sunday, October 22 at 2 p.m.

Representative Steve Owens; Laurel Schwab, Watertown Senior Environmental Planner; and Dan Zackin, 350 MASS Legislative Coordinator will discuss how An Act Establishing a ClimateChange Superfund Promoting Polluter Responsibility will help Watertown and other communities across the state to adapt to climate change. Following the discussion, additional activities will be available and light refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by Progressive Watertown and Watertown Faces Climate Change.

Trees for Watertown Annual Meeting Features Talk by City’s Senior Environmental Planner

The following announcement was provided by Trees for Watertown:

In the coming decades, our New England region will be at the heart of climate change impacts. According to a 2022 University of Massachusetts report, at current CO2 emission levels, the number of 90-degree days our city sees will increase to 80 per year by the end of the century, vector-borne diseases will increase, and animal and plant species will be lost. 

Of particular importance to Watertown, precipitation rates and river resulting stormwater flooding are set to rise substantially.  Storms will be more intense, leading to costly home flooding and personal property loss.  

In January 2020 the World Economic Forum launched the One Trillion Tree initiative. In July 2022 the Biden Administration announced the US government aims to plant over a billion trees.  Along with restoring forests, a healthy established population of urban shade trees is internationally recognized as one of the most powerfully effective means for protecting us from the most punishing effects of climate change. Cities across the world are planting thousands of trees to increase their tree canopy. However, the success of tree-planting efforts world-wide and here in Watertown depends on proper planning for the long term. Trees provide exponentially more protective ecological services when they are mature. This means it’s important to take good care of existing healthy trees, and to select, site, plant and maintain new trees carefully so that they can have long healthy lifetimes.

State Climate Bill to “Make the Polluters Pay” Kicked Off in Watertown

Charlie BreitroseEnvironmental activists from around Massachusetts gathered at the Commander’s Mansion to celebrate the filing of the Polluters Pay Bill in the State Legislature on Friday. Environmental advocates gathered in Watertown to celebrate the filing of a new bill in the Massachusetts State House that would make the companies that produced the oil that created greenhouse gases pay for the impact on the climate. The event took place at the Commander’s Mansion, which is located in a former Federal Superfund Site — the U.S. Army’s Watertown Arsenal — because co-sponsors liken the legislation to a Climate Change Superfund. The bill is known as the Polluters Pay Bill, said Watertown State Rep. Steve Owens, who is a co-sponsor along with State Sen. Jamie Eldridge. “The principle of the Polluters Pay Bill is very simple: those who made the mess should be the ones to clean it up,” Owens said.

Filmmaker Appearing at Watertown Group’s Meeting to Speak About Climate Feedback Loops

The following information was provided by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice & the Environment:

Climate Feedback Loops — What they are and what we can do about them

In the award winning film Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops, climate scientists explain how warming caused by human activity is setting in motion Earth’s own natural warming mechanisms, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and further warming the planet in dangerous, amplifying cycles. These feedback loops are not generally understood by the public – or many policymakers. After watching a short film section on melting permafrost, we’ll speak with the film’s creator, Bonnie Waltch, Brian Hebeisan (a WE3C member) and Representative Steve Owens, focusing on the urgent question: what can we do at the local, state, and national level to ensure we stop these cycles and let natural systems do their job of removing carbon, preserving the delicate balance necessary to maintain Earth’s temperature. WCPJE Meeting, Wednesday, March 16th at 7 pm. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89579464101?pwd=NXB3S2d6bldidVVjVFlYVmpwallBZz09#success

Watertown Teens Take to Streets on Earth Day to Call Attention to Climate Change

Sunrise WatertownSunrise Watertown marched on the streets of Watertown on Earth Day to bring attention to climate change. The following piece was provided by Sunrise Watertown:

Fifteen months ago, Sunrise Watertown convened with the intention of hosting a 2020 Earth Day event for the community. Little did we, or anyone, expect, our plans would come to a screaming halt at the hands of the pandemic. Nevertheless, we reworked our ideas by hosting a virtual Earth Day event; We invited community members to make signs to post pictures with, sign our petition to enact a Massachusetts Green New Deal, and watch some of the videos we had created through Zoom. Since then, we have gone on to meet with Massachusetts Senators, town councillors, and a whole host of other people willing to help us fight for a livable future.

Resolution to Declare a Climate Emergency to be Examined by 2 Council Subcommittees

The Town Council postponed a vote on a resolution that would declare a climate emergency, instead sending it to a pair of subcommittees to study it more closely and come back with a revised version. At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilors said that they supported taking action against climate change, but members of the Council said they did not believe enough discussion had been allowed on the resolution. Some pointed to the fact that it would change the Town’s deadline for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in Watertown from 2050 to 2035. “This is a difficult decision for me because I believe climate change represents a real and dangerous threat to life on our planet and it is an emergency we must address,” said Council Vice President Vincent Piccirilli. “However, this resolution was placed on agenda for vote with a lack of transparency, and circumventing our commitment for engagement on matters of great importance.

Charles River Group Discussing How Towns are Preparing for Extreme Weather

The Watertown Dam on the Charles River. The Charles River Watershed Association and Communities Responding to Extreme Weather will host a virtual event focused on building resilience across the Charles River Watershed. The groups included the following description:

Adapting to the impacts of climate change is a daunting task but many local cities and towns are facing this challenge head on. Having the best possible information on the impacts of climate change locally can help guide effective local investment and appropriate regulatory changes. The fifteen communities that are part of the Charles River Climate Compact (CRCC) have teamed up to develop a Charles River watershed flood model.