On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans – 10 percent of the United States’ population – demonstrated to raise awareness of air, water, and soil pollution and to support federal and state environmental protection mandates. This remains the largest single day of protest in U.S. history.
Many point to this day – Earth Day – as the beginning of the modern environmental movement. For the past 51 years, advocates, governments, and citizens have celebrated Earth Day by focusing on environmental issues; whether that means advocating for monumental climate legislation or planting trees to beautify and clean the air in their neighborhoods. On Earth Day 2016, the Paris Agreement was opened for signatures: over the next year, over 190 countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change.
Events across the world this week will help bring attention to the issues of pollution, climate change, health, and habitat loss and extinctions.
Of course, these aren’t problems confined to a single week: MAPC staff work every day to find solutions to these issues like these and make our region and planet a healthier place.
Earth Day Every Day at MAPC
Our Clean Energy department provides a range of services to communities, including comprehensive local energy and climate planning, energy-related technical assistance, and collective clean energy services and product procurements.
MAPC is helping cities and towns plan for net zero by 2050 - most recently we supported the development of Natick and Arlington’s Net Zero Action Plans. Municipalities can use MAPC’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory tool to inventory emissions produced within their communities and the Municipal Net Zero Playbook to create their own plans to get to net zero.
Our Environment department provides technical assistance and policy guidance to municipalities on issues ranging from climate preparedness and vulnerability assessments to natural hazard mitigation and sustainable water management.
Accelerating Climate Resiliency Grants – MAPC, in partnership with the Barr Foundation, offers funding to cities and towns to advance strategies that protect people, places, and communities from the impacts of climate change.
Our public health and clean energy teams are working together to educate communities about climate change-related extreme heat; provide resources to stay safe and healthy in high temperatures; and fund programs and interventions that provide cooling structures, opportunities, and education.
Events This Week
This week, we’re participating in or leading multiple events celebrating our natural world and the opportunities we have to protect it:
Sunday, April 18: Deputy Director Rebecca Davis Pens Op-Ed
On April, an op-ed by MAPC Deputy Director Rebecca Davis appeared in the Daily Item of Lynn: “Making Equity the Key for State Climate and Energy Plans.” In it, she proposes that the Baker-Polito administration make equity and environmental justice central to the state’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030. “The state cannot, in fact, achieve its climate goals without a robust strategy centered around smart land use policies and investment in public transportation, nor without dedicated funding sources to pay for new climate-friendly programs and initiatives,” she writes.
Wednesday, April 21: Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool Launch
The RMAT Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool is an interactive, web-based platform that provides a preliminary climate change risk screening and recommended resilience design standards for projects. The RMAT will be piloting the beta tool with state agencies, state-funded grant programs, and through a series of stakeholder focus groups. Deputy Director Rebecca Davis will join Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and EEA Secretary Kathleen Theoharides at the tool’s launch at 9 a.m. Click here to register and stream.
Wednesday, April 21: Climate Forward Pandemic Recovery
At a Massachusetts Senate Special Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts’ Post-Pandemic Resiliency, Deputy Director Rebecca Davis will join Metro North and North Shore mayors to testify about how the state can plan and undertake an equitable and climate-forward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in at 3:15 p.m. here.
Thursday, April 22: Earth Day and LED Streetlight Celebration
MAPC celebrates the conclusion of the Rapid LED Streetlight Conversation Program, which awarded 77 cities and towns over $5 million in grants to install LED streetlights. The new lights will avoid over 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. MAPC administered the program on behalf of the Department of Energy Resources. At 10:30 a.m., MAPC will celebrate the program’s successes with state and local officials at the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. Click here for more event information.