Wikinews attends a 'Dialogue with Decision Makers'
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Two weeks ago, on February 1st, it was the second day of the national environmental Focus the Nation teach-in. One of these events, which took place at the same time at other educational institutions across the country, took place in the city of Lynn at the campus of North Shore Community College.
Wikinews accredited reporter Patrick Mannion was there in attendance along with Congressman John F. Tierney of Massachusetts's 6th congressional district and Lynn's State Senator Thomas McGee. One of Lynn's two representatives, Robert Fennell, also attended; the other representative Steven Walsh sent an aide. The representatives for the nearby cities of Salem and Beverly, John Keenan and Mary Grant along with various local area mayors and city councilors also attended the event.
John F. Kerry, the senator for Massachusetts was supposed to attend but could not due to voting on the economic stimulus package in Washington D.C.. However, Senator Kerry did record a video statement DVD for the event in which he addressed the gathered crowd. North Shore's president, Wayne M. Burton, hosted the event.
Senator McGee started things off by talking about the need to recreate the North Shore Technical High School to include a focus on environmental jobs and the need to improve the Essex Agricultural and Technical High School which is deteriorating, but is known for it's agricultural teaching which would help to save the dwindling farming areas north of Boston.
McGee urged people that should get more involved with their local farming co-ops and that farmland needs to be recognized and redeveloped. He noted that obesity in young people is a problem and that schools are developing partnerships with local farms to provide more healthy meals and to show students whats going on at their local farm.
Representative Keenan commended the college for holding this dialogue and Al Gore along with his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Keenan noted the need for Salem's coal-fired power station for the need to switch to clean coal.
Walsh aide's brought up the fact he is committed to ending paper waste at the Massachusetts State House.
|Global warming does not recognize boundaries.|
—Roseann Bongiovanni, Chelsea city council president
The city council president from Chelsea, Roseann Bongiovanni, who is also the associate executive director of the local community organization, the Chelsea Collaborative, asked the various reasons for the crowd in why they became concerned about global warming. The audience noted the melting of ice sheets, air quality, Hurricane Katrina and Al Gore.
Bongiovanni then noted that Chelsea and neighboring East Boston have no green space or waterfront due the industrialization of both areas, noting that 100% of the jet fuel for planes at Logan Airport, 70% to 80% of heating oil and that the trucks delivering the oil are spewing diesel. She also noted the large salt pile in Chelsea used for the deicing of highways in the Commonwealth and said that it is located there "illegally."
She further noted the company, Energy Management Inc., behind the controversial Cape Wind project, proposed building a diesel power plant across the street from a Chelsea elementary school and that air quality in Chelsea is bad. She closed her dialogue by noting that "Global warming does not recognize boundaries."
Mary Grant said she was interested in hearing ideas and noted the redeveloping of Beverly's high school to include more solar panels and a new wind turbine and that the school would be powered by 50% of it.
One person asked the need to lower the level of bureaucracy in government as she was "running around city government" in order to have a bee farm in her backyard.
Robert Fenell, the owner of Lynn's Capitol Diner who is notable for keeping chickens at the establishment located in downtown Lynn just two blocks away from the college noted that people should start going organic and going back to nature, that people should switch to more energy efficient lighting and grow gardens in their backyard.
After Fennell spoke it was time for questions and answers, and questions were given by various audiences members including Mannion himself, who asked about the MBTA's Blue Line and rapid transit and others asking various questions such wither or not to include a green curriculum in state education or asking for the politicians to talk more on some of their positions.
After questions and answers finished, the video statement from John Kerry began to play. Kerry noted that there are still skeptics of global warming and climate change in Congress who "test the science" despite the efforts and research of Al Gore and the United Nations and noting that "the White House is the last place for change."
He then went on to say that the world needed a new international treaty on climate change and noted that America is horrendous when it comes to energy efficiency. Kerry also noted that the Bush administration resisted the change and the points of the climate conference in Bail; "Luckily, time is almost up," added Kerry.
Kerry went on to mention the need for massive new research on new energy and capturing carbon and noted he was working with Alaska's senator, Ted Stevens on pushing for sequestering plants.
Kerry continued the theme of environmental conservation and change by topping off his statement by reminding the crowd of first Earth Day and how it lead to the creation of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Agency and it noted it happened because of people's actions.
Tierney finished off the speech by noting the need for high risk energy research in the style of DARPA so we can better compete against the "Chinas and Japans." He also called for more green-collar jobs and noted his work on last year's Green Jobs Act.
- Dan Baer. "Wide variety of local, national issues at global warming talk" — , February 2, 2008
- Ethan Forman. "North Shore Community College goes green" — , January 28, 2008