May 2, 2007

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network        May 2 2007        Meeting #1 Notes

Project Staff: Erin Baker-Industrial Engineering UMASS, Sarah Dorner-Water Resources Institute UMASS, Catherine Miller-Sustainability Planner PVPC, Rick Taupier-The Environmental Institute UMASS

Members Present: Paul Lipke-Sustainable Step New England (SSNE), Judy Eiseman-Kestrel Trust, Dan Finn-Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy (BALLE), Julie Johnson-Hitchcock Center for the Environment, Andrea Donlon-CT River Watershed Council, Lynn Benander-Co-op Power, Maya Winfrey-Co-op Power, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative, Nancy Hazard-World Sustain, Annie Cheatam-Communities Involved Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), Tim Brennan-Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), Jocelyn Forbush-Trustees of Reservations, Jono Neiger-Regenerative Design, Charles Rucks-Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services

Members Anticipated: Peggy MacLeod-Center for Ecological Technology (CET), Scott Reed-Riverland Farm, David Panagore-City of Springfield Planning and Economic Development, James Lowenthal-MassBike, Doug McDonald-City Northampton Water Division, Tina Clarke-Clean Water Action, Eric Hove and Kurt Gaertner- Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), Stuart Beckley-Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee (BAPAC), Dwayne Breger-MA Division of Energy Resources, Daniel Ross-Nuestras Raices, Bonnie Parsons-PVPC Historic Preservation

Members Invited but not yet Committed: Cris Coffin-American Farmland Trust, Claire D’amour-Daley-Big Y, Sandy Thomas, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), John Walsh-Western MA Electric Company (WMECO), Will Bundy-Eastworks, David Rosenmiller-Solidago Foundation, Christian Lagier-Smith College, Tom Rossmassler-HAP Inc., Joanne Campbell-Valley Community Development Council, Brad Campbell-Homebuilders Assoc of Western MA, Jay Brienes/Judy Sopenski-Holyoke Health Center, Penny Burke-Northampton Center for the Arts, Springfield Museums Representative, Allan Blair-Western MA Economic Development Council, Russ Denver-Affiliated Chambers of Greater Springfield, Jeff Hayden-Holyoke Community College, Mayor Clare Higgins-City Northampton, David Kielson-MA Municipal Association, Mary MacInnes-Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

Recommendations of additional People to Invite: Rochelle Prunty-River Valley Market, Jon Weissman-Jobs for Justice, Julie Graham-Popular Economics UMASS, Sharon Genslar-Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Gary Schaefer or Barbara Fingold-Bart’s Ice Cream, John Laux-Greendustry Park, Francesca Maltese-O’Connell Development Group Holyoke, Erica Gees-Kuhn-Riddle Architects


Networking with Coffee and Treats
Project Overview
Values Hierarchy
Schedule Guest Lecturers
Plan future meetings

Introduction/Project Overview
We opened the meeting with a slideshow of participants (attached at end) and a brief project overview. Tim Brennan of PVPC explained that organization’s commitment to the project and to sustainability. Planners are professional worriers and we have shifted out focus from working to create a “better future” to working to assure a future for all. He reinforced the need to have an agreed upon notion of sustainability and to build a network which can change both attitudes and behavior. Attitudes are changing, but behavior change is harder and slower. He believes that we are creating an all volunteer sustainability army!

-we seem to be very light on the social side of sustainability.
-we should invite the folks from Greendustry, a green industrial park in Holyoke
-we should invite Francesca Maltese of O’Connell Industries in Holyoke
-people are both frustrated and intrigued by the lack of a definition of sustainability and by the project team’s desire to use that word. Everyone around the table has grappled with the power of language and with the decision to use (or not) words that may be “over-used” in popular culture and/or mis-used.

Overview of Values Hierarchy
— Erin Baker will help us structure a framework for making sustainable decisions. We need to understand our fundamental values before we can define sustainability. It’s important to distinguish between values and alternatives and outcomes. Once we understand our values-what we care about—then we can consider alternatives. We will move from values to metrics.

-we need a definition of sustainability or else this is a useless exercise!
-shouldn’t the land-use piece be the foundation?
-there are different categories of sustainability—what is sustainable?
-we need to define each element of sustainability: equity, environment and economy
-don’t use the word sustainable!
-don’t shy away from the word sustainable!
-PVPC has made a start on benchmarks
-Americans demand hot TV dinners and cold beer 24 hours/day –Amory Lovins
-The Natural Step process is one that people have used successfully

Many indicator projects have been completed by similar groups of talented people around the country and the world. And many groups have defined sustainability. The members present want the project team to share their research on different approaches and model projects so they do not feel like they are re-inventing the wheel. NOTE: we will add summaries of our research on sustainability metrics, definitions and indicators to a project web-site as soon as we have a contract—anticipated by beginning of June.

Future Meetings: 2.5 hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

September 12 2007
November 14 2007
February 13 2008
May 14 2008

Values Hierarchy working group meeting is scheduled for June 13th 8:30-11:00 at a location to be determined in Northampton or Amherst. Please r.s.v.p. for the June 13th mtg to Catherine Miller (413) 781-6045 or we will have call in capacity for details, see invitation enclosed.

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