Rip Road Neighbors Gather on Earth Day
It felt really great to invite neighbors to our house, to have people actually show up, and to have thoughtful conversations about issues in our neighborhood and town. April Salas, a member of Hanover's Planning Board and a member of Sustainable Hanover, joined us with her daughter. My father, an octogenarian and lifelong student, was thrilled to get a chance to talk with her. It was a wonderfully multi-generational gathering!
Our neighbor Len Cadwallader, a lifelong activist and former head of Vital Communities, invited us to help him maintain trails on Balch Hill, a local landmark and treasure. I was so caught up in the energy, I forgot to take pictures of neighborhood kids playing in the treehouse!
Although we have had many neighborhood parties over the past decade, this one felt different. In addition to being part of our new Hanover Neighborhood Action Group, this gathering was also part of my own 'coming out' as a community leader. It's been five years since I've risked being in the public eye - - After trying various avenues for involvement (schools, non-profits, etc.), I've found where I'm meant to be - - Not just at home doing my photography, but with my neighbors, truly trying to figure out what it takes to walk this walk we are on.
Five years ago, a contemporary at my 25th Harvard Reunion suggested that what rich people in New Hampshire do doesn't matter. What really matters is what's happening in China. At that same reunion, I spoke with my classmate Melissa Lane, a philosophy professor at Princeton, who had recently published a book called EcoRepublic: What Can the Ancients Teach us about Ethics, Virtue and Sustainable Living in which she states:
Lane's ultimate argument is that republics necessitate participation. Thus, if we believe in the idea of our democracy, then we have to have confidence in the power of our individual actions.
Just as every emission matters, so too does every choice we make. For me, that choice is about building community in my neighborhood to see what living in a democratic society feels like at the most local level. I mean, if we can't do it, who can? So I transcended my fears of conflict and rejection and had a party. Last Sunday's gathering was a great place to begin and I look forward to more. Thank you to all those neighbors and friends who celebrated Earth Day with me.
March 28, 2018 Town of Hanover, NH Energy Forum
It's been a year since Hanover became the first community in the country to vote to adopt the Sierra Club's Ready for 100% Renewables goals of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and 100% renewable heating and transportation by 2050. What's happened since we made this commitment in May 2017?
We were honored to support the Energy Sub-committee of Hanover's Sustainability Committee at the March 2018 Achieving 100% Renewables Forum at the Richard Black Center. The evening began with an inspiring presentation by Dan Kalafatas, Chairman and Co-Founder of 3Degrees, a California-based business that offers comprehensive clean energy services that enable organizations, utilities and individuals to transition towards a low-carbon economy. A Dartmouth Alum, Mr. Kalafatas has been hired by Hanover to help the town's leadership make good and efficient decisions as we proceed.
Our Town Manager, Julia Griffin, followed with a review of all that the town has done to weatherize its buildings, improve energy efficiency, and install renewables. Check out this impressive visual summary!
Yolanda Baumgartner, Co-Chair of the Sustainable Hanover Committee, gave additional details about Sustainable Hanover's Energy-Subcommittee. We are inspired by the clarity of their vision and the specificity of what each sector can do. As a Neighborhood Action group, we are particular excited to help residents at the ground level as they explore community solar, solar at their homes, and other ways to shift away from fossil fuel dependence.
The evening concluded with a panel discussion and Q & A. There was interest in getting additional support for residents as they weigh different decisions and try to make informed and financially viable choices for transitioning to renewables. The big message: Weatherize and work on efficiency first, then purchase the systems you need when what you have is ready to be replaced.
As neighborhood leaders, were were inspired by the data the town has gathered on our current solar penetration. The Dogford/Hanover Center community has 17 solar installations and The Carriage Lane/Lindy/Orchard neighborhood has 7 installations generating a combined total of 158.16Kwh of power per year. Etna Village, Greensboro Road and North Hanover with a combined total of 26 installations generating 183.89Kwh. In town, the Mink Brook, South Street and Hovey Lane neighborhood has 11 solar installations generating 67.65 Kwh of power. What can we achieve between now and next year?
We know there are numerous constraints that limit homeowners in their options for renewable power. We hope that through ongoing neighborhood level conversations we can brainstorm strategies for getting to 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030.
If Hanover can't do it, who can?
Here's what some businesses in town have accomplished
Evelyn R. Swett
reframing the narrative in community and with myself, finding transformation and joy in the mess of it all
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