WHO WE ARE

Climate Advocates Bennington

is working for

A Sustainable Future: Working together as a community to build community.

A Livable Planet: Ecological soundness based on the realities of climate change.

Climate Justice: Compassion and justice related to issues of climate change.

Bennington Climate Advocates

Retrospective on 2021


Looking back through all my notes, agenda, and minutes from the year I am reminded of how much Covid effected us. Never the less we continued our work to respond to climate change.


We began the year with an investigation into the tankard trains that were parked in every winter in North Bennington. David Bond and his students from Bennington College had conducted some research and he contacted us. The project was picked up by a committee of Naomi, Reg and myself. We were contacted by Hayley Jones of the Community Action Network to work on banishing these dangerous trains. Our work eventually ended when the group decided that this was not the kind of project we were interested in developing.


Cindy and Marsh championed the idea of Lawns into Meadows that some of us had been reading about. We read the Wormser book that detailed the idea and suggested approaches. They decided to test the idea at their home in the spring.


Our reforestation project was stalled by Covid but we did, personally, plant five trees at the Veterans Home in the spring which was fun. We donated $6,000 to the Bennington County Conservation District and they used $2,772.97 to plant 303 trees in various locations. We also donated money to the North Bennington tree fund and to the 350VT rewilding project.


In June we held an in-person retreat at Marsh and Cindy’s camp and came away filling energized and with some new ideas and directions. We also met for an open air, in person, potluck at Willow Park which was also a joyful event.


We decided to protest against TD Banks participation in financing fossil fuel infrastructure. Naomi agreed to head up this project. We decided we would meet on the sidewalk in front of the bank on Fridays for three months. Reg and Marsh agreed to produce new flyers and others made new signs and posters. The demonstration was a superb opportunity for educating the public.


Mike took on the responsibility for developing and maintain our website. The website can be found at climateadvocatesbennington.org.


Mike participated in the WindowDressers project which we promoted at the Farmers Market. The project was a success and we intend to help with publicity for next year's program, perhaps by giving an “Environmental Excellence” award to Bruce Lierman and Jeanne Jenkins.


We had two Saturday mornings at the Farmers Market where we talked to many people about our work and passed out flyers as well as demonstrated the inserts of the Window Dressers project.


Marsh and Dick have been dedicated in participating with the Bennington Energy Committee and instrumental in advancing their work. Marsh pressed the

Police Department to purchase hybrid police cruisers. We gave the police department an environmental award for their effort to reduce carbon emissions.


Late in the winter, spilling over into the new year, we engaged a Bennington College field work term student to work at MAUHS in order to form a student led group focused on climate. This was a result of Dick Dundas commitment and work. The student is Tomas Arrigata.


The Cassandra group got organized and we had our first meeting with six people participating.


I am grateful for all the work and thoughtfulness that has gone into the events and activities of 2021. The work is always in front of us and I’m looking forward to doing it with you - the CAB team.


At Farmer's Market promoting Window Dresser inserts for winterization, petition signatures for Climate Action in Vermont, and protesting TD Bank investment in fossil fuel industry.

CAB members planting Trees at Bennington Veterans Home.

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CURRENT INITIATIVES:

Reforestation

WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO... we will kick off our Reforestation Initiative, which aims to plant a thousand trees in the Bennington area. Based on a ground-breaking study published in the journal Science which surprised even the scientists who completed it, the potential for significant carbon sequestration is vast through tree-planting around the gobe . We are joining the world-wide movement to plant 1 trillion trees. Currently, we are in the initial stages of the project: learning which trees are most important to plant in this geographical area and engaging with community partners to find locations for the planting that will not only sequester carbon, but build community -- and community resiliency.


Bennington Energy Committee:

The Bennington Select Board "tasked" CAB with keeping track of the newly re-constituted Energy Committee. We have committed to having at least one member of our group present at each Energy Committee meeting.


PAST INITIATIVES:

TD Bank: In one of our first long-term actions, members of CAB picketed TD Bank in Bennington every week as part of a national effort to pressure TD to divest from fracked gas drilling and infrastructure.

Re-constitute the Bennington Energy Committee: CAB worked for over three years with the Bennington Select Board to re-constitute the town’s Energy Committee. In November, 2019, this committee began work on its first task: figuring out how to implement the Town Energy Plan.

Ban the Bag – Bennington: CAB organized a local campaign, did preliminary work with local businesses, and secured the initial endorsement of the Bennington Select Board about adopting a Resolution banning single-use plastic bags in Bennington. In a matter of months, this initiative became part of the successful state-wide movement for the Vermont legislation that bans the use of many single-use plastic items.

Global Climate Strike – Bennington: In September, 2019, CAB worked with students at Bennington College to organize a rally, march and demonstration in downtown Bennington and a week-long series of events at Bennington College. This made Bennington one of the thousands of cities around the world to join the first Global Climate Strike.

Declaration of Climate Emergency: CAB successfully encouraged the Bennington Select Board to adopt a Declaration of Climate Emergency. This declaration, adopted in November, 2019, enumerates ways in which the town pledges to work to significantly reduce carbon emissions, and makes Bennington one of only two Vermont towns (so far!) to adopt such a Declaration.