This year at the Garlic and Arts Festival, North Quabbin Energy will be focusing on the theme “Go Solar,” with resources, games, and inspiration for bringing more solar power into your home and your life.
“Solar power” probably makes most people think of high-tech panels and technologies, and we’ll have information about those too, including incentives and strategies for installing photovoltaic (PV) panels on your own home or buying into shared generating projects. The tax and production incentives for home installations will be changing in March 2018, and we’ll be able to point you toward the latest info on what that will mean for homeowners.
But solar power can be the simplest and most low-tech, too! If the sun is out, we’ll demonstrate some techniques for solar cooking, as well as the “why” and “how” of letting the sun dry your laundry.
Make sure to visit our booth in the Portal to the Future area behind the main stage (you know you’re going to be coming back there anyway to get your Bart’s Ice Cream). While you’re there, test your knowledge about solar energy and make a flag to add to the beautiful installations at the new “Climate Action for All” section of the festival. There’s a presentation about electric bikes (rechargeable by the sun) at 2 pm on Saturday, and one at noon on Sunday on making New England’s power grid fully renewable and resilient. Click here for more about these and other great presentations at the Renewable Energy and Local Living tent.
Like the slow, damp 2017 spring, extending right into the summer season, this year’s local food brochure has been slow getting going. But it’s available at last, here on our website as well as in area farmstands, stores, libraries, and other venues.
This year’s edition features a sidebar on small local food stores, a crucial piece of our local foodscape.
There are also listings for food producers in the nine North Quabbin towns plus Barre and Hardwick, as well as information about farmers markets, food-related festivals, and resources relating to food, farming, and gardening.
What local, regional, and state projects can people work on now?
The climate crisis calls on us to continue our work in each community. There are many activities that individuals can do on their own or with groups in the area. Some of these include:
Speak up about climate change by writing a letter to the editor of local newspaper to talk about the need for energy conservation, efficiency and renewables. Talk with your local legislators about these same issues. For more information on Mass Power Forward Coalition and Clean Energy Legislative Priorities for 2017-18 go to http://mapowerforward.com/legislative-agenda-2017-2018
Get involved with the work of town energy committees in the North Quabbin region. To learn about the accomplishments of town energy committees see NQ Town Accomplishments GC… .
Contact Governor Baker to ask him to speak out against new gas pipelines and support more renewable energy projects in the state.
Attend a gathering of the MA Clean Energy Tour! — These are similar to Commonwealth Conversations – The Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change chaired by Sen. Pacheco is hosting hearings throughout the Commonwealth to get input from you on pressing issues in clean energy and climate. The hearing schedule for June includes: June 12th in Springfield at 6 p.m. at Western New England University’s School of Law. For complete information on all the hearings in June go to https://malegislature.gov/cleanenergyfuture.
Keene, NH – Climate March. Carpooling from Warwick — carpooling from Warwick to Keene (meet at 8:30 at Metcalf Chapel on Athol Road in Warwick, MA to carpool). The day begins at 9:30am with a meet up of all marchers with signs, costumes, puppets and noise makers in the parking lot behind Margarita’s restaurant. At 10:00 am the March commences up both sides of Main St and up to Central Square. Rally from 11:00am-1:00pm.
Springfield, MA — Climate March at 3 p.m. – March will begin at the Federal Courthouse on State Street in Springfield and proceed to Springfield City Hall where it will culminate in a rally featuring local speakers, artists, and musicians. For more information see
North Quabbin Energy Plans Follow-up Projects to March Event on “Local Action for the Climate”
Join Us on April 19th to Continue Work on Local and Regional Projects — NQE Gathering and Potluck starting at 6 p.m. at Millers River Environmental Center (100 Main St., Athol, MA). There will be a short film – The Economics ofHappiness(20 minute version) with discussion. Following this there will be discussion and planning which will include updates on town energy activities, the People’s Climate March (D.C., Boston, and Keene), banning plastic bags campaign, legislative up-dates on 100% Renewable Energy, funding questions, and beginning plans for Garlic and Arts Festival.
Local Action for the Climate — Many North Quabbin residents came out to hear Nathanael Fortune, a physics professor from Smith College and a member of the Whately Energy Committee, talk about the “Basics and Science of Climate Change” on a Sunday afternoon in late March, 2017.
People listened quietly as Professor Nathanael Fortune spoke and emphasized the need to cut our energy use in the United States. Fortune compared the Earth to a ship and pointed out that we are knocking more and more holes in the ship which means the ship is sinking if we do not plug the holes. Fortune pointed out that consumers control the demand for energy, and in the United States we use five times as much energy as people in other countries. In simple terms this means the United States needs to cut its energy use by 50%. We all have a responsibility to work on this now.
Local projects that help connect the dots regarding issues related to energy use were presented briefly. Highlights of regional efforts include switching to renewables and conserving energy, banning plastic bags, getting involved in strengthening the local food economy, conserving land and farms, getting involved with town energy activities and North Quabbin Energy projects. Along with talking to neighbors and legislators on all levels, these are projects we can all work on now.
Local Action for the Climate Sunday, March 26 – 4-6 p.m. at Millers River Environmental Center — 100 Main St., Athol, MA
Part I – Dr. Nathanael Fortune – Smith College Science Professor and Member of the Whately Energy Committee Speaking on – “The Science and Basics of Climate Change” Followed by Q&A
Part II – Highlights from No. Quabbin Projects on “What Can We Do Now in Our Region? Portal to the Future — Hear about Renewables, Plastic Bag Ban Campaign, Regional Food Systems, Land/Farm Projects, No. Quabbin Energy Work, and Town Energy Activities. Followed by Q&A with Discussion and time to talk with people working on projects.
Light Refreshments Served. Center is handicapped accessible with parking in rear. All are Welcome.
Sponsored by No. Quabbin Energy. Co-sponsors – Athol Bird and Nature Club, Earthlands, No. Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival, Orange Town Energy Committee (ad hoc), Quabbin Harvest, Seeds of Solidarity. and other groups. (Poster Mar 26 (1) C to share and post.) Questions: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org (978-575-1226)
From the Recorder — Dakota Access Pipeline protester: ‘It was a war zone’
By AMANDA DRANE
For The Recorder – 11/26/2016
Locals who lent a hand in the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline this month describe the experience as “life-changing” and the clashes with law enforcement “like being in a war zone.”
Amherst activist Jehann El-Bisi said the juxtaposition of peaceful, prayerful indigenous people with the omnipresent police force made for a lasting impression.
“To have this great beauty contrasted with being assaulted by these agencies — it’s jarring, to say the least, and disturbing,” she said, adding that tear gas burned her throat and she saw rubber bullets hurt fellow organizers. El-Bisi, 48, has traveled to North Dakota twice since September. And she’s not alone.
Simple Actions to take to help the Standing Rock Water Protectors and #NoDAPL — Make phone calls – North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, at 701-328-2200. The White House, at 202-456-1111.
Army Corps of Engineers, which issued the permit allowing construction of the pipeline, even though it would cross under the Missouri River within a half-mile of the Sioux reservation boundary, at 202-761-5903.