December 2023

Thank you!

Thank You!

2023 has been a successful year for TownGreen thanks in large part to your support of and attendance at TownGreen webinars, field trips, and in-person events. We are grateful for your donations to the 2023 TownGreen Annual Appeal and to the many sponsors who came onboard this year, including Common Crow Natural Market, Neptune’s Harvest, BOMCO, Cape Ann Savings Bank, Babson Law Office, Black Earth Compost, Ruth Pino/REMAX, and Resonant Energy.

We had several major accomplishments this year that include producing Planning For Reality Series webinars focused on locations in Gloucester, Rockport, and Essex that highlighted the specific impacts of sea level rise around the Big Storm scenario detailed by the Harvard Graduate School of Design's Office for Urbanization research. We updated and completed a new TownGreen Strategic Plan with the help of TownGreen’s Advisory Council and Board of Directors with experienced facilitation by our colleague, Larry Childs. This new strategic plan and our growing budget will allow TownGreen to increase the number and frequency of online and in-person climate awareness workshops. TownGreen also launched its Nature Wins Podcast to tell the story of Cape Ann’s climate adaptation journey.

Locally, Cape Ann experienced climate impacts this year including extreme rain events plus episodes of extreme cold and a late spring freeze that affected local farmers. On the state level, Massachusetts is ramping up on climate through its Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience led by Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer. Cape Ann will be included in the recent announcement of a ResilientCoasts Initiative that will be led by a new Chief Coastal Resilience Officer who will coordinate 78 coastal communities in newly established Coastal Resilience Districts based on communities’ unique climate impacts. TownGreen looks forward to engaging with Chief Hoffer and the ResilientCoasts Initiative in 2024. Globally, the COP28 meeting closed this month with an agreement among the nearly 200 countries to transition away from fossil fuels. Much more remains to be done on the international level, but it is a significant step. Link to more information on COP28 below.

Looking ahead to 2024, we hope to forge and deepen partnerships and collaborations with community groups on Cape Ann. For example, TownGreen is a member of the Cape Ann Climate Coalition’s Organizing Committee, and we will be working with this group to strengthen our long-standing close relationship and collaboration.

Finally, many thanks to the capable leadership of Maureen Aylward, TownGreen’s executive director. We are confident that her communication and leadership skills will continue to deepen as she orchestrates our strategic plan and leads us in 2024.

With gratitude and strong hope for a successful 2024 for TownGreen and for all of you,

Dick Prouty
TownGreen Board Chair

TownGreen Launches Youth Climate Leadership Program in January 2024

Cape Ann High School Students Should Register Now

TownGreen Launches Youth Climate Leadership Program in January 2024

TownGreen is partnering with The Climate Initiative, a global youth climate education program, to provide Cape Ann high school students with an empowering youth climate leadership program. The four-part virtual workshopteaches youth the basics of climate action, how to effectively communicate, what to consider when building teams, and how to create and manage projects and teams. After completing the four-part online workshop, participants are ready to carry out environmental action projects within their schools or communities by identifying an issue, creating a team, and executing a team-led solution.

The program is open to any high school student who lives on Cape Ann, including public, private, or home school students (grades 9-12) from Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Essex.
Registration link

The Climate Initiative's John Mathers Climate Action Leadership Program is youth-focused with an aim to teach young people how to identify and create solutions for climate-related impacts that affect the environment, biodiversity, and communities. There is a special emphasis on examining the lens in which we view and talk about the climate crisis while learning how to use more precise language when talking about climate issues and solutions. By focusing on differences and relationships, it is our goal to teach young people about the positive and negative effects that exist with climate issues.

The Climate Initiative provides young climate champions education and engagement tools to steward our planet and catalyze the transition to climate-resilient communities. Through community-based education and empowerment initiatives, youth learn about local climate problems and possible solutions, giving them hope and the inspiration to become change agents in their communities and beyond.

What Happened at COP28?

Click the image to go to the United Nations COP28 website

Listen: Nature Wins Podcast

Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

Episode 2 with Eric Hutchins
It's one of the largest Department of Justice settlements for ecological restoration. Host Maureen Aylward interviews Eric Hutchins, NOAA Fisheries Habitat Restoration Biologist, about the $5.8 million National Grid consent decree for ecological restoration announced in July 2023. In the second segment, Eric talks about beech leaf disease on Cape Ann.

Episode 3 Climate and the Arts
with JoeAnn Hart and Kim Radochia

In this episode of Nature Wins, host Maureen Aylward speaks to two Cape Ann-based artists, JoeAnn Hart and Kim Radochia, to discuss how climate change has influenced them and made its way into their artistic process. As winter arrives and the solstice draws near, Nature Wins focuses on climate and its intersection with the arts.

Book Review:The Ministry for the Future

Book Review:The Ministry for the Future

By Dick Prouty

Noted science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson chose to imagine how world leaders might address the climate crisis over the next 25 years. In the book The Ministry for the Future, the United Nations develops a division to take over the role of the annual Council of the Parties (COP) and to implement or coordinate workable solutions.

The novel opens in 2027 in northern India as an American aid worker, Frank May, is frantically trying to save lives in the midst of a heat wave. As the heat wave rolls on mercilessly, the electric grid gives out. Desperate to survive, Frank, and the people in the village where he is stationed, rush to a lake to cool off, but the lake is scorching too; the tactic does not work. Eventually, over 20 million people die, and Frank barely survives.

Another main character is Mary Murphy, the head of the Ministry for the Future (note: ministry is a British word for a division of an organization). Mary is an experienced and tough Irish diplomat. The mission of the Ministry for the Future is “to advocate for the world’s future generations of citizens, whose rights, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are as valid as our own.” Mary takes this mission seriously and ultimately finds some success in convincing, after a few tries, the heads of the five largest central banks (US, UK, France, Germany, and China) to agree on a plan to set a price on carbon and enforce it. By 2045 it begins to work, and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere begins to come down. By mid-century there is a genuine feeling of relief.

The 106 short chapters do a great job of both advancing the plot, educating the reader about the interesting details of climate change issues (such as soil sequestration of carbon), and elaborating on some surprising technological and engineering solutions.

A heat wave, such as depicted in the book, is not predicted as soon as 2027, but the severe heat waves during 2022’s summer in the southern US and in Europe were not predicted either. Thousands died as a result of severe heat in the world in 2023.

The Ministry for the Future offers memorable characters and a plot that unfolds over more than a decade, presenting plausible scenarios about how humanity collaborates to beat the odds and survive. I recommend this well-crafted book for anyone looking for avenues of hope in the face of climate disasters.

TownGreen is planning to have book reviews as part of this newsletter. A book club can also add to the climate awareness work that the organization is doing to get people talking about and engaging in climate issues. If you have suggestions for books to read or would like to write a review of a climate-related or environment or nature book, email with your suggestions.

Watch: Future of Climate Change: Gloucester

G400 | The Future of Gloucester: The Future of Climate Change

It was a full house at MAGMA in November to attend the Future of Gloucester: Climate Change panel presented by TownGreen and Gloucester 400+. The panel included Dr. Jayne Knott, president of HydroPredictions; Eric Hutchins, NOAA biologist; Tucker Smith from

Cedar Rock Gardens; Veila Wrinn, a sophomore at Gloucester High School; and Evan Lawler, Cazeault Solar senior consultant. Five large flood maps showing five feet of sea level rise were previewed before the panel and provided as an interactive activity afterwards. The areas shown on the maps were Gloucester Harbor, Annisquam, Back Shore, and Essex. Many thanks to Isabel Pett and Elsje Zwart from Gloucester 400+ and 1623 Studios for recording the event.

TownGreen’s Annual Appeal: Going Strong!