New Bedford Success Stories
Enviro-Action Block Party and Weatherization Barn-Raising
October 10, 2010
10:00am - 6:00pm
New Bedford, MA
Community Weatherization Barn-Raising, 10am - 3pm on the corner of Mill St. and Chancery St. Enviro-Action Block Party, 3pm - 6pm at 459 Kempton St, New Bedford
Enviro-Action Block Party, 3pm - 6pm at 459 Kempton St, New Bedford
New Bedford Awarded Green Jobs Training Grant
from US Conference of Mayors!
On June 10, 2010 I took a trip with Mayor Scott Lang and Gloria William, Executive Director of P.A.C.E. YouthBuild, to Oklahoma City. We made the journey West to accept a prestigious $300,000 award – the U.S. Conference of Mayors selected the City of New Bedford’s partnership with P.A.C.E. YouthBuild to receive a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to support and expand training programs for Green Jobs. New Bedford was the only small city in the country to receive this award. For medium and large cities Durham, NC and Philadelphia, PA were selected.
P.A.C.E. Youth Build’s Green Energy Solutions aims to address gaps in the Energy Efficiency training landscape in the region and work in collaboration with other training efforts in the region. The program will provide energy efficiency training in both residential and commercial techniques including certifications and training for entry and advanced levels. Green Energy Solutions will train local contractors, experienced construction workers, and inexperienced residents interested in entering the energy efficiency sector by providing basic energy efficiency training to newcomers, and more advanced levels of training and support for entrepreneurs that is affordable to low- and moderate-income residents.
Arriving in Oklahoma between an unprecedented series of 32 tornadoes in one month and an epic flood emphasized the ever-increasing importance of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Green Energy Solutions was designed specifically to meet the workforce needs of the Community Retrofit Program a City Program that will work to improve the energy efficiency of 5000 units of housing and small businesses over the next 5 years. This program will need a well-trained workforce to meet its goals. The training that will be provided through the US Conference of Mayors Grant will play an important role in making sure this workforce is available.
In the same week, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was also notified that their grant application to DOE to establish a regional Green Jobs training center had been awarded. The collective impact of this influx of resources into the City will have a significant positive impact on the community and enable the success of the City’s many sustainability goals.
Effective workforce development strategies are a key component to building a sustainable and inclusive Green Economy. The goal of the Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative is to align this training with real job opportunities by raising awareness about energy efficiency and other elements of sustainability and connecting residents with resources to participate in the Green Economy.
If you’d like to help contribute to this exciting positive momentum, contact Kalia to find out about volunteer and other opportunities to support these efforts.
Thank you to everyone who came to last month's Weatherization Barn-raising Party on February 20 - it was a huge success!
We had over 20 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds and it could not have been a more beautiful, sunny day. PACE youthBuild brilliantly led the teams of volunteers in weather stripping, caulking windows, installing fiberglass insulation in the basement, and a host of other tasks throughout the day. Everyone worked together to seal up air leaks and make the home more energy efficient. When the work was finished, we all gathered around a pot of warm cachupa and got to know each other.
A huge thank you to Maria Robinson and Lawrence Tobey, the homeowners, for opening their home to us, and to New Bedford Village for helping to get the word out to local residents about this opportunity. Thank you also to SEEAL for making these events possible through their Southcoast Climate Change Challenge Mini-Grant.
The Marion Institute, in collaboration with local organizations, the New Bedford Economic Development Council and the New Bedford Mayor's Office, presents a new program: the Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative.
The objective of the initiative is two-fold:1. to ensure that New Bedford accesses American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, which will support green business and green job development and2. to ensure that the city's initiatives specifically benefit and are accessible to low income communities and communities of color in the city.The overarching goal is to help New Bedford become a national leader in the green jobs and sustainability movement.
Funding opportunities through ARRA are abundant, with over $60 billion allotted specifically to green jobs initiatives nationally and hundreds of millions of dollars coming to Massachusetts alone. The opportunity is enormous. New Bedford is particularly well positioned to participate in, and benefit from, this movement to build an equitable green economy that will restore communities and the environment.
However, there's a lot of work to be done to access this funding and not much time to do it. Most of the ARRA money will be designated by June and must be used by September of 2010. Many of the grant applications are due in late spring. What's more, ARRA has a strict "Use it or Lose it" policy if the money is not used effectively and efficiently, it will be reallocated to other states and cities.
Recognizing the urgency of this opportunity, the Marion Institute specifically sought out funds from outside the city of New Bedford to create this Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative. "This initiative is a natural outgrowth of the Marion Institute's Annual Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change Conference," said the Marion Institute's Executive Director, Desa VanLaarhoven. "The Marion Institute and our board, led by Michael and Margie Baldwin, are responding to the consistent requests to support and serve the community of New Bedford not for just one weekend a year but throughout the year. We felt that this was the best way to lend a hand."
Kalia Lydgate, center, with youth from Bioneers
Kalia Lydgate, formerly the Youth Coordinator for the Marion Institute and the Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change Conference, is the Director of the Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative. In addition to her work at the Marion Institute, Lydgate co-founded the Massachusetts Green Jobs Coalition (MAGJC), a statewide organization that played a crucial role in ensuring that Pathways out of Poverty language was included in the Massachusetts Green Jobs Act (H4844), and has been working on Green Jobs initiatives locally and at the state level for the past two years. The majority of her time will be spent in New Bedford but she will also continue her work at the state- and national-levels, working to put New Bedford in the National spotlight.
A large percentage of ARRA funds will go towards projects that improve the energy efficiency of buildings, which are responsible for upwards of 40% of carbon emissions. New Bedford, with a 15.2% unemployment rate and seemingly endless inventory of old buildings and homes, is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the ARRA. Energy efficiency work creates both business opportunities and jobs, while lowering energy bills for consumers and reducing fossil fuel emissions.
Temistocles Blessed, Community Service and Green Solutions Coordinator of P.A.C.E. YouthBuild, sees firsthand the value in this opportunity, "the youth of the city of New Bedford need real hope and real opportunity. The Sustainability Movement and Green Jobs provide them with a way to achieve equitable employment, creatively help the environment, and become leaders of today's green economy."
The idea of building a green economy is not new to New Bedford. The city has deep roots in the Environmental Justice movement and a strong grassroots green jobs movement. Moreover, Mayor Lang and the New Bedford Economic Development Council have made renewable energy a priority for the city. Van Jones to the BBB video from his 2006 BBB presentation, the founder of Green for All and now Special Advisor on Green Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation in the Obama White House, has made several visits to speak at Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change Conference in the last three years, including in New Bedford. He specifically praised New Bedford's efforts in his speech at the National Powershift09 Conference in Washington DC in March.
"We will have succeeded if we eliminate the need to talk about the green economy, because the green economy simply is the economy. This issue is bigger than just weatherization jobs, it's about making our systems more sustainable."
Collaboration between different sectors, industry, community based organizations, labor, education and elected officials, will be essential in creating entrepreneurial and employment opportunities. Kalia will act as a connector in New Bedford, MA and nationally. We are hopeful that we can bring together the right people and add some energy to the great ideas and projects that already exist. This is an open-source movement. We need to pool resources, share ideas and act quickly. We may not get another chance like this.
Youth from 3rd EyE Unlimited at wind
The way ARRA is set up, much of the responsibility for accessing these funds falls on Municipalities, and to a lesser extent, non-profit organizations. However, many of the important stakeholders are already stretched too thin. Without adequate time and energy dedicated to identifying and planning for these funds, New Bedford could miss its opportunity. "In her two and a half years of working with the New Bedford community, Kalia has been a solid force in building sustainable bridges among a broad base of organizations, and involving the youth in that process," says Ben Gilbarg, Executive Director of 3rd EyE Unlimited. "Now more than ever, her collaborative spirit is needed to assure that New Bedford is a leader of the Green-Collar Economy and that those opportunities reach the people who need them."
We are facing extreme crises environmentally, socially and economically. Building an equitable green economy could solve all three problems at once. By building an economy that reduces our impact on the environment and puts people back to work, there is an opportunity to strengthen our economy, our communities and to restore the earth all at the same time. At the heart of this movement is the need to rebuild community. Changing our energy sources isn't enough. We need to change the way our systems work and the way we relate to each other and to the earth.
The Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative works closely with the Massachusetts Green Jobs Coalition to stay connected and share best practices with efforts in other communities statewide. To find out what is happening across the state, visit: www.magjc.org.
If you would like to help support the goals of the Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative, please donate here.
Donate by mail
Please make checks made payable to the "Marion Institute" with "Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative" noted in the memo line and send to:
Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative
c/o Marion Institute
202 Spring St.
Marion, MA 02738
Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative Director
Please join us for a special screening of “Coal Country” in New Bedford!
On Wednesday, September 8th, the Green Jobs Green Economy Initiative will host a special screening of the stunning documentary “Coal Country,” a dramatic and informative look at coal mining. This will be a great opportunity to meet face-to-face to learn about Mountaintop Removal and how we can come together to support and join the thousands of individuals who will descend upon DC on September 27th to demand a just transition for coalfield residents (Appalachia Rising, http://appalachiarising.org).
What: Community gathering and screening of “Coal Country”
When: Wednesday, Sept. 8th, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Where: The Garage, 79 N. Water Street New Bedford, MA
Why: To learn about Mountaintop Removal coal mining, how we are connected to it, and how we can work together to bring justice to the coalfields.
Cost: We are asking for donations to support the Southcoast Mobilization Crew on their trip to DC for Appalachia Rising, sliding scale $5-20. No one turned away for lack of funds!
You can watch the trailer for this superb documentary HERE.
We will also have artwork from the Beehive Design Collective on display and for sale. Their new epic illustration “The True Cost of Coal” tells the story of mountaintop removal and coal in Appalachia in a stunning, engaging, and incredibly detailed way.
Please help spread the word on Facebook by joining and sharing the event
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=154511191232397. Many Thanks!
About the Venue: The Garage, located at 79 N. Water Street, is Downtown New Bedford's newest art and performance space. It features a music space that opens out onto a quaint cobblestone street, as well as two sizable gallery spaces within. The Garage is a subsidiary of mediumstudio. Many thanks to The Garage for graciously offering to host this important community event.
Appalachia Rising - Mass Mobilization in DC!
Due to an ever-growing national grassroots movement, more and more people have been made aware of the the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining which is sacrificing the natural diversity, peoples and cultures of Southern Appalachia. Here in Massachusetts, more than 50% of our electricity still comes from dirty coal; some of that coal comes from mountaintop removal sites in southern West Virginia and other parts of Appalachia. No matter what kind of “clean” technologies are touted by talking heads to address overconsumption of fossil fuels, coal extraction will always be dirty and destructive.
Fortunately, there is a new culture emerging in Appalachia and the nation, one focused on restoring connections between production and consumption and on creating economies that heal the Earth and its inhabitants. Together, we can help to build this new culture. We must demand the support of our nation’s leaders in this effort to bring sustainable and regenerative jobs to Appalachia.
On September 27th, 2010, thousands of activists from all over the nation will converge in Washington, DC to mass mobilize and demand that our federal representatives immediately move to abolish mountaintop removal and begin work to build a new Appalachia with new jobs and a just transition to renewable energy. This historic event will be called Appalachia Rising.
Vision Statement, Appalachia Rising:
“We will not stand idly by as we see mountaintop removal blast our mountain heritage to rubble, eliminate our communities and mountains, and poison our neighbors, as coal executives and their shareholders grow rich. Appalachians are not, and never will be, collateral damage for our nation's energy consumption!”
This cry is echoing from every corner of Appalachia – will you respond?
Will you join us?
Appalachia Rising takes place from September 25-27 in Washington DC. It is a weekend of movement-gathering and day of action-calling for the abolition of mountaintop removal and strip mining in Appalachia. Communities across Appalachia and America [are mobilizing for Appalachia Rising,] including the Southcoast area of Massachusetts. The Green Jobs Green Economy Initiative is bringing together a group of conscious world-changers from the Southcoast who wish to join this movement and make their voices heard in a very important way. Stand with us on Monday, September 27, 2010 in our nation’s capital for an end to mountaintop removal and for a renewed vision of Appalachia. Visit http://appalachiarising.org to learn more details about the weekend and the day of action.
If you are interested in joining the Green Jobs Green Economy Initiative on this historic trip, please fill out this INTEREST FORM. We will send you more details and information on the event and logistics of getting there. The costs for the trip will be minimal and housing and food are being arranged by the event organizers. We are raising funds to defer the costs of travel and registration for our group.
To join the Southcoast Mobilization Crew, please fill out THIS INTEREST FORM.
You can also register now by visiting www.appalachiarising.org/registration/reg1.php
We need your support!
Even if you can’t make it down to DC, you can help others get there! Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Green Jobs Green Economy Initiative, a program of the Marion Institute. A donation of $50 will pay for food, housing and registration for one person. You can make a secure donation now via Paypal by clicking this link. Ge sure to write “Appalachia Rising” in the “Add special instructions to the seller”. Thank you so much for your support!
For the Mountains, Miners and Families!