Tag Archives: climate champion

Kevin Izzo Selfie

December Climate Champions Update

Climate Champions is a Mass Audubon grassroots volunteer program to advocate for policies that advance nature-based climate solutions. With training from policy experts, Climate Champions advocate for local and state policies that help achieve the state’s goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and reverse negative health impacts of climate change for Environmental Justice communities.    

Meet a Champion, find out how it’s going and what’s next, and learn how you can get involved.

Climate Champion Spotlight: Kevin Izzo 

“As I became more climate aware, I realized that reducing my individual impact wasn’t enough and that I needed to do more. Not having previous advocacy experience I wasn’t sure where to start. Climate Champions has provided me a way to educate myself and become more active. It is a thoughtful group with wide-ranging concerns. Since joining, I’ve: 

  • Researched local adoption of three climate initiatives, 
  • Written letters to influence building code design, 
  • Phone banked with the Environmental Voter Project, 
  • Participated in a Massachusetts solar siting survey, 
  • Helped to recruit new members, and 
  • Weighed in on legislative priorities.” 

How It’s Going 

Climate Champions celebrated the passage of a major Economic Development bill that included $540 million to support nature-based climate solutions, clean energy, and climate resiliency. Climate Champions pushed for these investments at our Beacon Hill Lobby Day in June, and the House and Senate responded. We hope this success inspires you as it has us!   

Champions were also briefed on the Community Preservation Act (CPA) that helps to preserve open space and cheered the passage of CPA in five towns at the mid-term election.  

As a way to grow the program, champions participated in recruitment workshops, where they learned about the variety of program recruitment materials available and brainstormed their own outreach to recruit more Climate Champions. 

In addition, champions had the opportunity to: 

  • Complete the MA Department of Energy Resources’ Solar Siting Survey to advocate for solar projects that protect our natural and working lands 
  • Submit comments on proposed changes to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) regulations to advocate for the reduction the time and costs involved with restoring wetlands 

What’s Next 

Climate Champions will be trained by Mass Audubon’s policy experts about local town government, how to take local climate action, and the resources available to facilitate that action. Champions will begin researching their local legislators, learning about their influences and interests, in preparation for future advocacy engagement. 

Mass Audubon’s Policy and Advocacy staff will be finalizing the Legislative Agenda for the 2023-2024 legislative session after reviewing insightful feedback from both Climate Champions and Youth Climate Leadership Program (YCLP) volunteers. 

Get Involved

Become a Climate Champion, no matter your time constraints or experience level! 

Find out more and sign up > 

Powering up Climate Action

Since moving to the Connecticut River Valley in 1981, Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton and Northampton has helped grow our dedication to the environment.

We’ve hiked Arcadia’s trails, canoed the marsh, sent our kids to summer camp, volunteered, and donated money. Perhaps most important, Arcadia has been playing a major role in our climate change advocacy, education, and action.

We view climate change as an existential threat to the planet. The severe disruption to the environment has us freaking out and desperate for action.

We are Morey Phippen and Brian Adams, and we’re fighting for climate justice.

Morey Phippen and Brian Adams, Climate Champions.

Married 40 years this summer and retired from our jobs as a family planning counselor and community college professor, we have channeled much of our time and energy into fighting for our planet at a local level. What we have been able to accomplish we credit to our parents, who left us an inheritance when they passed that has provided for us, our children, and the thrilling opportunity to contribute to charitable causes.

We decided to use some of this money to help nonprofits install photovoltaics (or solar panels).  Given the up-front costs that a solar system demands, we knew that nonprofits often have difficulty coming up with those financial resources. Solar energy’s cost has also dropped significantly, making it an affordable alternative to fossil fuel powered energy.

Our plan was to install solar panels at no cost to organizations, and negotiate a six-year purchase power agreement with them at a much-reduced electric rate. After six years we’d donate the systems in their entirety to the organizations.

Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary was one of the first organizations we approached. With over 700 acres of forest, meadows, grasslands, marsh, and wetlands, their mission to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife was one we were totally committed to. It would be hard to find a better fit for our project!

In October 2017, we “flipped the switch” on a 5.6 kW photovoltaic system at the sanctuary.

Like other solar panels, it generates clean, renewable electricity from sunlight, about 8,000 kilowatt hours per year. But unlike other arrays, this panel uses a tracker that follows the sun across the sky. It adjusts to the height of the sun above the horizon as it changes during the day and throughout the seasons, which makes it a terrific teaching tool for the thousands of visitors who seek solace at Arcadia’s sanctuary every year.

To date we’ve installed over 550 kilowatts of solar at 34 locations including Arcadia, our local food pantries, homeless shelters, farms, environmental organizations, and social service agencies.  We’re hoping for a dozen more installations this year.

We are grateful to have such a wonderful sanctuary such a short distance from where we live, and to have the resources to help Arcadia and Mass Audubon in their quest to be carbon neutral and practice the urgent climate solutions that our planet needs.

Morey Phippen and Brian Adams, Mass Audubon Members, Donors, and Volunteers