On May 23rd the Carbon Busters (Carbon Net Neutral Committee) facilitated a forum to explore the committee’s progress four months in, and offer ideas and food for thought.

We spoke about the potential value of several ideas:

  • Mowing less area or less frequently, while turning our thoughts to how we might nurture carbon-absorbing native flora. Climate impacts of mowing are direct (fuel for mowing) and indirect (as native plants help to sequester carbon).
  • Shifting to plant milks and vegan baking for Fellowship, in the spirit of celebrating harmony with our environment, other living beings, and our health. An avid baker requested vegan baking tips. Lee (climatelaw[at]me.com) sent resources and is always available for support and resources.
  • Offering a continued Zoom option for Meeting. Optional attendance by Zoom is one way to limit gasoline emissions. The hybrid meeting, with some attending physically and others through Zoom, cuts greenhouse gas emissions and also provides a way to expand connections and include family and friends from other states and internationally. A round of thanks was given to David C. for making it happen!
  • Having committee meetings on Zoom as far as practicable. The benefits include less driving and the way Zoom supports the goal-oriented purposes of committees. Some noted that in-person committee meetings have social value; each committee will have its own perspective.
  • Other ways we can we cut driving emissions. Carpooling has the benefit of cutting per-person emissions, and also of increasing the time members and attendees spend together.
  • Weatherproofing the building and considering geothermal heat pump options. Further discussion involved the potential of the First Day school building’s south-facing roofs to collect solar power for the heat pump and use the energy for charging EVs in a few years’ time.
  • Switch to renewable electricity. Individual homes can stay with PECO yet switch easily and seamlessly to renewably sourced electricity. An example option is Green Mountain Energy. You can see options and compare costs at www.papowerswitch.com or call PECO.

We enjoyed some discussion time together. We found that some of these ideas are immediately practical, and others have good potential over the longer term, as we learn more.

The Clerk of Finance requested that the committee put together detailed proposals with cost estimates and work with the appropriate committees to budget the expenses over the next couple of years. The resulting plan should be presented to the Meeting for approval.

Collectively, we know the challenge presented to us by climate disruption is urgent and must be addressed. A recurring theme of our conversation was the importance of decisive action in our community, individually and together, if we expect our greater society to act. We reaffirmed this at the conclusion of the forum, and then enjoyed the rest of a gorgeous May Sunday.