May 14, 2008

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
Meeting Notes—May 14, 2008
El Mercado, Holyoke

Members Present: Erin Baker-Industrial Engineering UMASS; Lynn Benander-Co-op Power; Tom Benjamin-VHB Consulting; Jeff Brown-Ridebuzz; Marijoan Bull, Westfield State College; Patrick Dufour-South Hadley; Larry Ely-Pioneer Valley Relocalization Network; Ben Ewing-UMass, Amherst; Barbara Fingold-River Valley Market and Bart’s Homemade; Dan Finn-Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy (BALLE); Patty Gambarini-PVPC Environmental Planner; Nancy Hazard-Worldsustain and Greening Greenfield; Julie Johnson-Hitchcock Center for the Environment; Paul Lipke-Sustainable Step New England (SSNE); Craig Marden-HAP Green Affordable Housing Program; Jono Neiger-Permaculture Guild and Conway School of Landscape Design; Ethan Roland, Apple Seed Permaculture; Joanne Sunshower-Shutesbury Planning Board, Nonprofit Development Resources; Eduardo Suarez-Holyoke Planning Network; Kathleen Szegda-Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition; Rick Taupier-The Environmental Institute UMASS; Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative

Action Items

  • Work with Paul on shaping June 17th workshop with Roberto Cremonini. (Joanne Sunshower, Eric Weiss, Patrick Dufour, and Nancy Hazard)
  • E-mail art contest flyer to all members. (Patty)
  • Get the word out about the Network’s Art Contest on Sustainability.  Deadline is June 20th.  (All members)
  • Attend June 17th network building workshop with network expert Roberto Cremonini, scheduled tentatively for 10:15-1:15 p.m.  Location tbd, but we’re looking in the central valley, e.g. Hadley/Noho (All members)
  • Attend June 25th Sustainability Art Salon at the Academy of Music in Northampton, 6:30-9 pm (All members)
  • Attend next PV Sustainability Network meeting on Wednesday, July 30th,
  • 8 a.m. to be hosted by Lynn in Greenfield at 324 Wells Street  (All members)
  • Send out e-mail to all members that only has information on how to access indicator survey. (Catherine)
  • Set up series of network meetings for coming year and set agenda for September meeting. (Eric, Erin, Rick, and Catherine)

Summary of Discussion
Following the informal networking between members, network chair Eric called the meeting to order.  The meeting began with each member sharing a brief overview of their organization and their work on sustainability—see pvsustain website for background information.  If you have not yet submitted your information to the web developer, please email for a member input form.

Network Building Workshop—June 17th
On June 17 the PVSN will have a network building workshop with Roberto Cremonini of the Barr Foundation, who also has been working with Boston Green and Healthy Building Network, originally coordinated by Sustainable Step New England.  In shaping the June 17 workshop, Paul asked network members to think about what they’d like Roberto to address.  He said this will be a good opportunity to think about and talk about questions like those that Eduardo had asked during the informal networking: Who are you (the network); and why isn’t there more minority representation?  Paul asked for volunteers who might work to help shape the workshop with him.  Joanne, Eric, Patrick, Larry and Nancy (if she has time) agreed to work with Paul.  Paul then invited members to brainstorm about what issues Roberto might address.  Topics/questions that came up were:

  • What level of product do we want to produce or is the network just about connection?
  • What are decision making processes that go along with the workings of a network?
  • What things can we do to define ourselves?
  • How do we maximize successes of network members as we go forward?
  • What should the goals of a network be?
  • How do we make things easy?
  • In network development, do we expand first and try to be as inclusive as possible from the start or do we invite others once we have been able to deepen our development?  What are the upsides and downsides of these approaches?
  • How do we manage different interests and levels of knowledge within the network?
  • What are some best practices and pitfalls of networks?  Can he tell us some stories about this?
  • What type of participatory process is there, and what kind of weight and respect will our thoughts get?  Who gets to define importance?  Who gets listened to?
  • How do we develop benchmarks to sustain development?

Paul asked for a show of hands of how many thought they would attend the June 17th workshop, including how many others folks they thought they might bring along: 30 total.
Lynn suggested that in advance of the workshop with Roberto she thought it important for the network to push further on the question of who we are.  Paul suggested that subcommittee meeting time could be used, perhaps by combining some of the subcommittees.  After some discussion, the network agreed to form two smaller groups, one group to discuss goals and intent of the network and the other group to discuss messaging (how to talk about sustainability with the larger public). 

Report of goals and intent group (see Appendix A for discussion notes)
Lynn reporting back to the larger network said that the goals and intent group came up with 5 operating assumptions that could serve the network:

1) We are broad network of organizations with many areas of focus related to a common vision.
2) Our network facilitates relationship building, and educates itself and others about what member organizations are doing in support of our vision and mission.
3) We are not aiming to operate by consensus – to all agree on things.
4) We work in self-selecting small groups on specific, concrete projects.
5) The network helps project groups form and function, and also supports and promotes the projects and programs of member organizations.

For a mission, Lynn reported the group had pulled together the following:
The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network’s mission is to be a broad-based Network that builds mutually beneficial partnerships to promote a sustainable, just, regenerative future for our region. We bring our vision into being through collaborative support and action on specific projects in service to our communities in response to their needs.

Regarding the definition of sustainability she said it had been suggested that rather than spend time coming up with a definition, we draw on existing definitions.  Sustainable Step and the McDonough principles had been suggested.  Ethan suggested including these in the meeting notes (see Appendix B). 
Lynn also reported that the group had brainstormed possible projects for the network to take on.  These entail:

1) Municipal Resources – provide support for municipalities on becoming more sustainable and helping the people in their town – form a group that can review new building/business proposals with the lens of sustainability
2) Support for individuals on becoming more sustainable – a trusted source of information on best practices, action steps, results
3) Policy advocacy – campaigns to adopt sustainable policies at state and local levels – campaign to bring information from people in our communities into the municipal planning process and into the planning commissions
4) Community voice – host conversations with people in our community
about what sustainability means here – educate people – build consensus

Additional things to think about she noted are:

  • Do we need a public persona? If so, what kind?
  • How often do we want to meet as a whole group?
  • How will we expand participation to include and listen to people of color, economically challenged, etc.

Report of messaging group
Reporting for the messaging group, Erin said they had defined three major questions that need to be answered:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What is the message?
  • How do we get the message out effectively?

She explained that the message could be based on what the network defines as values and indicators.  She reported that the group had settled on the idea of working with “economy” and “ecology” as the root derives from the Greek word for “house.”  It provides something good on which to build noted Erin.  The group agreed that the concept of sustainability is complex and that there is a need for something simple.  Ethan noted that they had also discussed the possibility of getting some traditional marketing help. 

Future meeting dates
Erin asked whether the same meeting schedule might work for the network in the coming year.  She explained that typically the group met quarterly on the 2nd Wednesday of the month in the morning.  That would mean a meeting in each September, November, February, and April.  Eric said he thought that as the grant moves on, he can see the need for meeting more frequently to ensure continuity.  He noted that the current challenge is that—aside from the June 17th workshop—there is not meeting until September.  Paul asked, How do we keep the interim conversations going.  Do we need to meet this summer?  Members agreed that a summer meeting would be worthwhile.  A meeting was set for Wednesday, July 30th, 8 a.m. to be hosted by Lynn in Greenfield. 

EPA Grant Effort Updates
Ben Ewing, UMass Masters Student—Decision Support Tools
Ben walked members through a powerpoint showing a decision support tool that is being developed for the Hitchcock Center.  Called the Alternative Combustion Comparison, the tool includes the annualized costs of installation and operation, total costs that factor in environmental damage and educational value, and CO2 emissions.  The Hitchcock Center is planning a new building.
Members had some suggestions.  Paul suggested looking at EPA’s clean air interstate rule for stationery power plants.  He also noted that RS Means is a good source of information for construction cost estimation.  Lynn said that waste is important to consider. Jeff said transportation is another important consideration.  Daniel said that information from the Cambridge Energy Alliance could be very helpful.  Rick asked whether Erin and Ben are trying to determine specific applicability of decision support tools.  Erin said this is a mini-preliminary application of what the larger decision support tool might look like.  It will be important to add uncertainty about carbon prices to this tool as well. 
Ben noted that Carnegie Mellon has a Building Investment Decision Support Tool, which is intended for companies thinking about renovating or purchasing an existing building.  He noted that the CM tool is much more driven by financial considerations such as staff turnover, salary retention costs, etc.  In contrast, he noted, the network’s tool will look more at fuel costs, electrical use, carbon footprint, environmental impact, depending on what indicators are chosen. 
Erin suggested that rather than use “return on investment,” they are using “net present value.”  Eduardo noted that the UN uses “human development index,” a powerful indicator.  Paul said he thought it would be useful to have comparisons between conventional v. net present.  Avoided health care costs would be huge.  Ethan asked if there are any other decision making support tools that are close to what Erin and Ben are producing.  Ben did not know.

Rick Taupier—Sustainability indicators
Rick handed out a list of the indicators that had been selected through the on-line voting (See Appendix D).  Out of the 98 indicators, he explained, these are the 20 that received one-third of the votes.  People were instructed to vote for not more than 18 indicators.  To date, only 14 people have voted.  There was discussion among members that they had missed the opportunity to vote.  A request was made that the information on how to access the survey be resent in an e-mail to all members.  E-MAIL SHOULD INCLUDE ONLY THIS INFORMATION. 
Rick said it will be up to a smaller group to figure out measurability of these indicators.  Biological diversity for example…how will this be measured?  Members suggested that the Fish and Wildlife Service has some good indicators.  Eduardo noted that the list does not include indicators related to poorer, more urban communities such as gentrification, occupational health, workforce development.  Paul noted that the plan for progress has a set of metrics and maybe these ought to be augmented.  Rick noted that the plan for progress has economic indicators, but that it does not address equity.  Rick explained that the list of indicators ought to be regarded as a continual iteration.  As others join the dialogue these indicators could change.  We want these to be equally applicable to urban, suburban, and rural contexts.  Eduardo noted that occupation health relates to all contexts.  In the rural context, for example, there will be agricultural workers who are exposed to the harms of pesticides, fertilizers.  In the urban context, you have 4 blocks from here the demolition of a building where they are not following any OSHA protocols.  Rick said he likes occupational safety.  It’s very powerful, he noted.
Joanne said the voting in the survey seems to contradict what happened at the meeting where we were thinking expansively.  This seems to be a contraction.  Rick said that 20 indicators/data points presents a certain practicality that we can’t have with 98 indicators.  Joanne and Jeff both suggested that the network have all 98 indicators available to them as they talk to their communities to see how they respond.  Lynn noted that the idea is to keep voting in the first round to a limited group and then do a weighting, and perhaps intelligent selection (including urban indicators if they are eliminated), then send the list out to a larger audience. 
Rick noted that in July he will be in Mongolia with herders learning what they think about sustainability.  He offered to present a slideshow to the group when he returns.  Eric said they would add to possible agenda items.

Patty Gambarini—Sustainability Arts/Invention Contest
Patty encouraged members to get the word out about the contest.  She distributed flyers for their use and promised to e-mail flyers to members.  She also asked that all members mark their calendars to attend the contest event on June 25th at the Academy of Music in Northampton. 

Event Announcements

  • Balle (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) Conference in Boston, June 5-7, 2008.  (Daniel Finn)
  • Sustainable Investment Summit, June 11, 2008.  For invited foundations, nonprofits, bankers, investors.  Subscribed with 60 attendees.  (Joanne Sunshower)
  • 2008 Regional Sustainable Energy Summit, June 20-21, UMass Campus Center.  See: for more info. (Lynn Benander)
  • Western Mass Permaculture Guild annual regional gathering on July 4th, 2008, at Tierra de Opportunidades, Holyoke. (Jono Neiger)
  • Ridebuzz looking for office space, preferably in Northampton, Hadley area. (Jeff Brown)

Appendix A
Discussion of Goals and Intent Group
Lynn’s report came out of a discussion that Paul kicked off by saying that the network ought really to be about the coalescing of groups. 
Jeff asked what is it as a group that would be of value, what is the output?  Is it working on projects and attracting outside interests as a group?  Eric said that he thought that the network helps to provide an identity from which to work, but that the network is about the information that we all know about and can get out to the public.  Jeff suggested then that the network is an aggregation of information and support for events. 
Larry indicated that he thought the network should not be about sustainable economics, but rather peak oil and global warming and helping to make the transition.  He noted that sustainability has that mixed connotation between economics and peak oil. 
Lynn proposed an agenda for the discussion.  She suggested that if we define our assumptions, then we could proceed with a definition of sustainability, come up with possible outputs, and then identify communication networking tools.  Paul suggested that working out a definition of sustainability could take up tremendous time.  Instead, he proposed, the network could work from the two major existing definitions, perhaps the Brundtland Commission and Natural Step. 
Paul said that discussion about the network begs the question: how public are we?  What kind of persona do we need?  There may be no reason to have a public presence.  The work to support a presence implies an infrastructure that I don’t think we want to create.  It may be better to support and promote the existing organizations rather than create a new one. 
Joanne noted that the network is already in the process of evolving and that perhaps at the beginning now it is more introverted so that it can go deep and then later it can broaden and not be exclusive.  Eduardo suggested slashing the idea of exclusivity.  Paul said it is worth thinking about how we manage the process of engaging more people.  What are the obstacles?  Is geography an obstacle?  Lynn noted that founding members tend to shape membership.  She and Catherine, with the meeting being held in Holyoke, did some additional outreach.  But it is difficult for people to make room in their schedules to participate.  Lynn noted that it really is about the personal invitations that people get.  She suggested the network put together an outreach subcommittee to work on this.  Eric followed by saying that he sees outreach and education as two different things, and that he senses some hedging about the mission.
Eduardo said he thought the network need not differentiate between economic, social, etc.  Paul agreed and said that to survive he thought the network ought to be loose and organic enough to let people come in and out over time.  He noted the broad label of sustainability does not do enough to bring people in.  It has more to do with working with folks on issues and projects that address their needs.  He explained that his mantra has been, “non champion, no progress.”  You need a champion for anything to get legs, and you need critical mass for anything to get done.  Jono added, so sustainability will be defined by what we do.  Eric agreed, but said it would be good to work from the existing definitions as suggested by Paul.  Paul said he has a disposition toward the Natural Step definition and the McDonough principle. 
Lynn said a proposed a mission might go as follows:
The Pioneer Valley Network is a broad coalition of organizations that works to promote sustainability.  Others suggested that the network promote sustainable development; or a sustainable and just future.  Lynn noted that there are three possible options now.  Jono added that he thought the word regenerative might be used instead of sustainable.  Looking back to meeting notes from November 14, 2007, Lynn said possible outputs for the network might involve:

  • support for municipalities to make decisions about sustainable development (this would include coming up with sustainability reviews for development proposals—along the same lines as wetlands review);
  • serve as a resource for homeowners/residential decision makers;
  • advocate for sustainable policy.
  • Looking back to those same notes, Paul said that the mission might include something about, “collaborative support and action on specific projects in service to our communities in response to their needs.”

Eric suggested sharing these lists with the rest of the group, but then circulating it to the coordinating committee to further refine before using it with Roberto.  I think keeping it small at first with the steering committee and then putting it out for broader comment will work best.
Eduardo noted that he thought there is a political difficulty and weakness in working through PVPC.  How can our communities bring these issues up to PVPC when it is an agency that has an interest in the continuation of the same, the status quo.  Jono noted that maybe the question has to do with “poor leverage points.”  Where can we get the most change for our effort? he asked.  Eric noted that PVPC’s involvement has been supported by the EPA grant and that the grant will end.  It will be up to the members to keep the network going.  Patty noted that she understood Eduardo to be talking about communities in the sense of interests and endeavors throughout the Valley, not municipal governments.  She noted that PVPC’s clients are typically the municipalities themselves and that the work might need to come from two directions.  From the communities to the municipalities and from PVPC to the municipalities. 

Appendix B

Definitions of Sustainability are:

  • The McDonough Principles:
  • Waste Equals Food: make certain the “leftovers” become food for other processes
  • Rely on Current Solar Income: reduce use of hydrocarbons; sip rather than gulp energy
  • Respect Diversity: design for impact on all life forms and parts of the earth, i.e. what will the birds think of this building?
  • Care for All the Children: act as a steward for those of every generation, place and culture.

-William McDonough, Univ. of Virginia School of Architecture

More technically, the Natural Step Framework states:

  • In a sustainable society, nature’s functions and diversity are not subject to systematically increasing:
  • Concentrations of substances extracted from the earth’s crust, e.g. fuels, metals and minerals,
  • Concentrations of toxic and/or persistent substances produced by society,
  • Degradation by over-harvesting or other physical means,
  • And in that society, basic human needs are met equitably worldwide.

Authentic human needs are: physical needs, protection/security, affection, participation, identity/meaning, leisure, creativity, understanding, freedom and transcendence. These are true across culture, time and are non-substitutable: i.e. we cannot substitute leisure for participation.

Karl Henrik Robert and John Holmberg, The Natural Step, based on the work of Manfred Max-Neef

Appendix C

Notes from message group discussion?

Appendix D

List of Indicators—coming soon.

Meeting agenda: July 15, 2007

The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network has been meeting since 2007. We usually meet bimonthly on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

The next Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network meeting will be held on July 15th at Franklin County Community Development Corporation, 324 Wells Street, Greenfield, MA 01301.

Please R.S.V.P by Monday July 13th so we can plan properly for food.

Tentative Agenda

**Please Note the late start time and early ending**

8:30  Breakfast and networking 
9:00  More networking and group discussion of Fall Retreat
10:30  End- Have a nice relaxing Summer!!

Thank you very much for your willingness to participate actively in the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network. We are extremely grateful for your time and energy.
Please contact Catherine Miller for more information 413-781-6045 or

Be sustainable! Use Ridebuzz to rideshare to our meetings.

February 27, 2008

PioneerValley Sustainability Network February 27 2008 Meeting #4 Notes

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

Members Present: Paul Lipke-Sustainable Step New England (SSNE), Dan Finn-Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy (BALLE), Lynn Benander-Co-op Power, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative (HRMC), Craig Marden-HAP Green Affordable Housing Prog, Tina Clarke-Clean Water Action, Doug McDonald, City of Northampton Stormwater program, Jono Neiger-Permaculture Guild and Conway School of Landscape Design, Tom Benjamin-VHB Consulting, Larry Ely-Pioneer Valley Relocalization Network, Jeff Brown-Ridebuzz, Karen Riberio-Bank of Western MA and Sustainable investment summit, Pam Cargill-Solarwrights, Nancy Hazard-Worldsustain and Greening Greenfield, Hugh Harwell-Five Rivers Council, Joanne Sunshower

Each member present shared a brief overview of their organization and work on sustainability—see pvsustain website for background information. If you have not yet submitted your information to the web developer, please email for a member input form

Initial meeting and discussion by the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Committee (PVSC)

Newly chosen Network Chair, Eric Weiss called the meeting to order and explained that he had revised the agenda that was originally mailed out to make sure the Network had ample time to discuss what it wants to do with itself aside from assisting UMASS and PVPC to fulfill the obligations of their contract with EPA. Catherine clarified that part of the work EPA is funding is to create and staff the Network and that the hope is that the Network will define its own role and persist long after the project is over, i.e. that it will be sustainable…

Eric Weiss explained that he can’t “do this alone as Chair” and asked for volunteers for an Executive Committee—or Coordinating Committee as it has come to be called.

Lynn Benander summarized the notes from the previous meeting—explaining that this had been the decision previously and that a few people had volunteered to serve in that capacity.

She clarified that there had been a robust conversation about the network with the conclusion that the network should be project based, using CISA as a model.

Tina Clarke suggested the network should focus on public consciousness raising and public policy.

Others suggested a sustainability clearinghouse—to comment on proposed projects in the region.

Others suggested sponsorship of educational workshops-on energy conservation etc.

Jono Neiger threw out a different frame—pointing out that the group is full of organizations—and that we are not so much an umbrella—as a basket. Jono pointed out that in his permaculture and Conway school “world” he has a whole network of individuals and organizations—and that he can take whatever messages the pvsustain network comes up with and get them to his network, and vice versa. He sees the pvsustain network as a support for him in his work.

Paul Lipke offered a slightly different notion of a network-based on his experience with the Green hospitals work he is doing in Boston—he offered to bring a speaker on networks to the next meeting to help the group understand and determine how it wants to grow. Paul will recruit his colleague, Roberto to do a “Networking 201” training at the next meeting. He will also ask Roberto for some basic reading material that all members can read before the meeting.

Members reiterated their desire to “break the tofu curtain” and asked that we hold the next meeting at El Mercado in Holyoke.

Members asked staff to create a monthly calendar of events that will be emailed to all members. People should submit events to Catherine.

Lynn explained the Google groups initiative she tried to create following the last meeting. Members explained their difficulties in signing on, and pointed out that there is a local web-hosting collective in Shutesbury that is an alternative to Google groups. It is called Gaiahost. Members chose to NOT switch to Gaiahost because of the limited functionality v. Googlegroups.

Lynn, Larry, Paul, Jeff, Jono, and Catherine volunteered to serve on the Coordinating Committee.

Tina suggested the need for a sub-group working on what is meant by sustainability. Hugh pointed out that the group has a definition—but Pam noted that the group needs one “that my mother can understand”. Is it “local first”, carrying capacity, …

And so a working group on “Messaging” was formed—members include Dan, Craig, Tina, Larry, Tim, Karen, Eric, Catherine and Pam will chair.

An IT group was also formed including Lynn, Jeff, Pam, Eric and Catherine.

And an ad-hoc committee to organize sessions or tracks for sessions for the Co-op Power Sustainable Energy Summit occurring on June 20-21 2008 at UMASS was also formed including: Larry, Karen, Tina, Joanne, Lynn and Catherine.

EPA Grant Effort Updates

Erin Baker—on decision support tools.

Erin walked through the powerpoints explaining the web-based decision support tool she and her students are developing as one of the deliverables for this project. Powerpoints are posted on the pvsustain website. The first decision support tool will look at green building and energy technology—to help individual decision-makers, in households and at the municipal level. Erin sought advice from the group and Eric, Lynn, Craig, Jono, Tina, and Paul agreed to serve as her ad hoc advisory group. Paul suggested she look at the Building Investment Decision Support (BIDS) tool that already exists to make sure she is not re-inventing the wheel. (article about ) Others suggested that Erin make sure to look at all “footprint” tools as part of her research in addition to the Global Health Safety Initiatives project . Generally members were pleased with the decision support tool so far.

Rick Taupier—on indicators.

Rick presented a powerpoint of the indicators identified by the UMASS Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) studio last semester—see

Then the group reviewed each list and added, commented etc. Project staff will prepare a surveymoney survey to administer to all PVsustain members to rank indicators.

Key criteria used in selection of these indicators over others are:

1) keep list short—because it’s expensive to collect data

2) have to be able to collect the information relatively easily

3) have to be relevant

NEW Indicators—old ones are in PowerPoint
–Maximize Human Health and Safety
drug abuse, car crash injuries/deaths,seatbelt use, DWI, Toxic waste generation, Body burden,Elderly care,Asthma rates, Obesity,TV hours kids watch/week,Life expectancy
Death rate, Suicide rate,Cancer rates,Local proximity to pollution, Recreational participation
Organic farms
-Maximize Ecological health
air quality, toxic energy production, Nox, Sox, Mercury emissions, CO2, VMT/Household, Foods—organic percentages available, How much food is provided within communities?
Food miles, % of economy that is ag, water quality, level of persistent biocumulative toxins in water system, invasive species, major sources of air and water pollution, water balance-stream levels and ground water levels, health of rivers and streams, surface water quality, density of compost toilets/area
-Maximize Cultural Vitality

#times individuals attend a cultural event/year, # of events happening, # of groups people belong to ethnicity in marriages, daily interaction—do people meet and interact with strangers? Degrees of separation, Cultural competence, Isolation along class, race lines—how to measure? Existence of cultural societies, How much do people know their neighbors?

-Maximize Social Equity

access to transportation/mobility, barter economy, gift economy, generosity index, lifestyle indicators, quality of life indicators, cost of living, livable wage-% of population below, pay gap/income gap, happiness index, homeownership rate, house affordability
access to open space—show distribution on map,
show all information on maps.

Flaws of indices—we have objective but not subjective
-Social Connectivity and Stability

town meeting attendance, vacationing—how many people stay in place v. travel outside of region?
Singing groups per capita, Dancing groups per capita,

-Maximize Resource Efficiency

BTU/sq. foot built space, BTUs/person, Ridesharing, Access to clean energy, Carbon footprint/person/household, #of gallons of gasoline purchased, cost of energy, foodshed measurement, impervious surface/population, energy conservation efficiency improvements over time, # of fuel imports—oil, natural gas, coal, etc amount of energy coming from outside, efficiency in technology, # of communities in Energy Star, ICLEI, etc other programs for action

Resource: Jim Merkel Radical Simplicity

Art/Invention Contest

There were no comments on the draft call for submissions. Attached on homepage.

NEXT MeetingMay 14, 2008 El Mercado on Main street in Holyoke

8-8:30 am—informal networking with food and drink.

8:30-9-formal networking

9-11 meeting


November 14, 2007 Meeting Agenda

Energy, Water, and Land Use: A Framework for Incorporating Scientific Information into Sustainability Planning             

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
Meeting #3
Wednesday, November 14th 2007
Location to be finalized in a day or two
Amherst MA


8:00    Networking with Coffee and Treats    All
8:30    Network Mapping–survey        Interactive
9:00    Project Overview-timeline        Professor Rick Taupier, The Environmental Institute
9:15    Long-term role of Network        All
9:45    Working Groups                All
10:30    Research on Indicators            UMASS LARP Studio
10:50    Plan for next meeting            All
11:00    ADJOURN

Thank you very much for your willingness to participate actively in the formation of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network. We are extremely grateful for your time and energy.

Please contact Catherine Miller at  HYPERLINK “” or 413/781-6045 if you have any questions about the project, the meeting or anything else.

September 12, 2007

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network        September 12 2007        Meeting #2 Notes

Project Staff:    Erin Baker-Industrial Engineering UMASS, Patty Gambarini-Environmental Planner PVPC, 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, Barbara Fingold Bart’s Homemade, Lynn Benander-Co-op Power, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative, Nancy Hazard-World Sustain, Stuart Beckley-Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee (BAPAC), Brad Campbell-Homebuilders Assoc of W. MA, Maya Winfrey-Co-op Power, Craig ___-HAP Green Affordable Housing Prog, Erica Gees-American Institute of Architects (AIA),

Members Excused: Tina Clarke-Clean Water Action, Kurt Gaertner- Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), Dwayne Breger-MA Division of Energy Resources, Bonnie Parsons-PVPC Historic Preservation, Judy Sopenski-Holyoke Health Center, John Laux-Greendustry Park

UMASS Studio members: Megan Mc Donough, Margaret Leonard, Kathleen Cahill, Christine Gale, Stella Lensing, Jayne,

Guests: David Caputo-web designer, Robert Rocheleau-UMASS Research Assistant—working on mapping network

Members who want to stay on mailing list but probably will not come to meetings: Peggy MacLeod-Center for Ecological Technology (CET), David Panagore-City of Springfield Planning and Economic Development, Joanne Campbell-Valley Community Development Council

Members Invited from whom we’ve never heard: Cris Coffin-American Farmland Trust, Claire D’amour-Daley-Big Y, Will Bundy-Eastworks, David Rosenmiller-Solidago Foundation, Penny Burke-Northampton Center for the Arts,  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, Rochelle Prunty-River Valley Market, Jon Weissman-Jobs for Justice, Julie Graham-Popular Economics UMASS, Sharon Genslar-Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Francesca Maltese-O’Connell Development Group Holyoke

People we invited but who choose not to participate: Sandy Thomas, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), John Walsh-Western MA Electric Company (WMECO), Christian Lagier-Smith College

Networking with Coffee and Treats
Project Overview
Overview of website  HYPERLINK “”
Values Hierarchy
Inflow mapping the network
Schedule Guest Lecturers
Plan future meetings

Introduction/Project Overview
Rick Taupier provided a brief overview of the project. This is the second meeting of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network (pvsustain). We had a meeting of an adhoc committee that looked at values hierarchy over the summer.

Overview of website
David Caputo of Positronic Design in Holyoke received the contract to develop the pvsustain website.
Some members expressed concern about being involved with website development and especially content. Catherine committed to email website contents to members prior to posting whenever possible. Members want everything to be very visual—a la Tufte.

Overview of Values Hierarchy—(attached) Erin explained the results of the ad hoc working group on values hierarchy—and members added to the handout.
Comments on handout from 9/12 mtg of pvsustain
Population control (needs to be discussed in way that addresses class and culture-some concerned about this)
Human (why human) connection to nature
Biodiversity—remove invasives
Economy, equity, move up
Ethical consumption
Health prevention more than min
Economic development-provide benchmark
Health care costs-more Honda than Ferrari
Provide baselines overall for many where have data
TINA-there is no alternative
Waste management, links to health etc

Efficiency in processes
Enviro health resource extension preserving resource
Ecological health
Education as means, not FO
Safety from violence
Other fundamental human rights (educ)
Economy-full cost accounting
Human legacy-private land ownership
And use rather than protection
How reconcile with other objectives?

Interdependency of all these elements
Interdependency of all these elements
Switch again!

Max Neef
Human Needs
Looking for best practices (always ask what is missing)
How to bring all together?

Access to transportation mobility
Natural Step-ecological footprint

0 waste, 0 emissions, 0 footprint
Perhaps we need goals, in addition to metrics—so we have a way of describing sustainability in the Pioneer Valley that is more detailed than the Bruntland definition, and yet not so complicated as metrics???
We need to acknowledge inter-dependency among and between all of these issues, i.e. why do people sell land—because they can’t afford their health insurance???
To be sustainable, we have to CHANGE behavior
We want safety from violence
We have to somehow address the issue of private land ownership and American’s notion that they can pass their land on to future generations.
We have to change the way we think and not think in silos
We need a multi-facted approach
We should research best practices from around the world—(people are starting to think of implementation…)
Look at Robert Reich’s book and Max Neef
We are missing government and democracy in the network
Paul Lipke will send information from SSNE to Catherine for distribution to network

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

November 14 2007
February 13 2008
May 14 2008

 the UMASS Landscape architecture and regional planning (LARP) studio students will be holding focus groups in November—if you have suggestions for people they should invite in the areas of: land use/farming, business/local enterprise, housing/transportation, or energy/water/waste, please contact me and I will pass your ideas on to them — Catherine Miller 413/781-6045 or  HYPERLINK “”

September 12, 2007 Meeting Agenda

Energy, Water, and Land Use: A Framework for Incorporating Scientific Information into Sustainability Planning             

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
Meeting #2
Wednesday, September 12th 2007
Amherst Town Hall
2nd Floor Town Room


8:00    Networking with Coffee and Treats    All
8:30    Introductions/Formal Networking        All
9:00    Project Update                Professor Rick Taupier, The Environmental Institute
9:15    Guest Speaker Program Update         Catherine Miller, PVPC
9:30    Values Hierarchy-toward metrics        Professor Erin Baker, Industrial Engineering
10:30    PVsustain website            David Caputo, Positronic Design
10:40    Sustainability Art Contest        Patty Gambarini, PVPC
10:50    Network Mapping            Robert Rocheleau, PVPC/UMASS LARP
11:00    ADJOURN

Thank you very much for your willingness to participate actively in the formation of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network. We are extremely grateful for your time and energy.

Please contact Catherine Miller at  HYPERLINK “” or 413/781-6045 if you have any questions about the project, the meeting or anything else.