Outreach/Climate Day of Action 2009

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International Day of Climate Action, October 24, 2009

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After a send-off at First Parish Unitarian Universalist church, teams of 4-5 people from houses of worship and community organizations performed a carbon-reducing project in Needham, such as installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, helping to weatherize a house, or preparing a backyard vegetable garden, etc. The Needham event was part of an international effort, which included 5,200 events in 181 countries.

Why 350? The idea of the October 24 events is to draw attention to the number 350, which represents 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere – the level many scientists believe we must get back to in order to sustain life on Earth as we know it. Initiated by acclaimed environmentalist Bill McKibben, the 350.org campaign has engaged people across the globe. www.350.org

mTPUKO5ysys|300}} Details of the teams' work are posted below. You can also see the news feature from The Needham Channel that aired on October 29th.

Green Needham - North Hill

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This project's goal was to raise awareness about energy efficiency within the North Hill community, and to assist individuals to save energy in the particular environment of their apartment. The project consisted of two parts. First, we spoke to a group of about 30 North Hill residents about Green Needham, the International Day of Climate Action, and common energy saving tips and ideas which can be used in everyday life. Secondly, we split into teams, with a resident volunteer accompanying each team, and participated in pre-scheduled visits to certain residents' apartments. There, we went through a checklist developed by Rebecca Donato of North Hill and Jim Glickman of Green Needham, which covered several topics, such as CFL needs, hot water use, thermostat settings, and more, and documented the results of the interview. A number of CFLs were even distributed during these visits.

The residents enjoyed meeting members of Green Needham and our student partners from Olin and Babson, while we got a real flavor for the richness of life experience among the North Hill population. It was a very successful project.

(L-R: Jane van Benten, Team Leader Jim Glickman, Tess Edmonds, Erika Boeing, Michael Greis, Elinor Scholl (North Hill Team Leader), Maureen Commane, Karan Kanodia)

Christ Church

A team of eight parishoners of Christ Church worked on weatherizing the house next door to Christ Church on Rosemary Street. The building, owned by the parish, is the home of the Circle of Hope ministry.

The Christ Church team

  • replaced light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • installed foam backing on electric outlets (to reduce air leakage)
  • installed door sweeps
  • insulated parts of the basement
  • caulked and plastic-sheeted the basement windows
  • caulked and plastic-sheet attic windows

They are confident these steps will make a real difference in energy use and comfort. As a result of what they saw while working in the house, the team will be looking into getting insulation into the attic.

Congregational Church

The Congregational Church of Needham winterized their building by sealing windows and storm windows. The Guatemala Partnership collected over 80 used bicycles to be refurbished and shipped to Guatemala, where they'll be used for transportation as well as energy generation (e.g. pumping water or grinding grain). On Sunday church members walked or biked to church in record numbers.

First Parish Unitarian Universalist

The First Parish team spent the afternoon weatherizing the home of one of its congregants. Their note of thanks:

"Every possible crevice and cranny of our 100-year old home has been caulked and weatherstripped by a very dedicated "Green Team" from First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Needham. The rattly windows and doors have been v-sealed and the attic weatherized so that warm air no longer escapes while the frigid outside air no long invades. In three hours of intense labor, rigid foam insulation was installed on doors and in the chimney which will prevent drafts. The 75-watt incandescent light bulbs have been replaced by 19-watt compact fluorescent bulbs as well. Knowing that our home now conforms to standards established by those involved in this movement to reduce CO2 in our world is a wonderful gift to us and to the future."

The team will weatherize a second house at a later date.

Grace Lutheran Church

For the team at Grace Lutheran, weatherstripping of outside doors was the project for the day.

Temple Aliyah

The Temple Aliyah team installed compact fluorescents throughout their building.

Temple Beth Shalom

Temple Beth Shalom visited the homes of 10 senior citizens, donating and installing a dozen CFL lightbulbs in each house or apartment. We also assisted the Needham Community Farm by harvesting kale and planting garlic.

League of Women Voters of Needham

The League team helped 3 members put in "no-dig" vegetable gardens by layering newspaper, compost, and mulch over the grass.