56 results found
Baseline Findings from the Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessments of Barr Foundation Climate Program GranteesSeptember 30, 2022
In 2021, the Barr Climate Program partnered with Community Centered Evaluation and Research (Community CER) to design and implement a Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessment. The goals of the self-assessment were to provide Climate grantees with an organizational profile that allowed them to review their organization's progress in adopting and implementing racial equity practices and to help the Climate Program better understand organizations' efforts and how to target resources. This report is a summary of the findings of the Climate grantees as a group. The appendix includes the full survey used in the self-assessment.Access the full report by clicking the cover below
This report reviews existing literature and compiles equity metrics for the implementation of 100% renewable energy policy. Initiative for Energy Justice created this literature review for energy regulators and communities engaged in energy rulemaking proceedings in particular. The content may also be adapted to address equity initiatives within utilities, and used by advocates in independent efforts to hold utilities accountable to equity standards. The resources provided are meant to provide a flexible basis from which to expand systems of accountability regarding equity goals in the implementation of 100% renewable energy (or 100% clean energy) policy.
As COVID-19 restrictions and public safety concerns limit indoor activities for restaurants, entertainment, public events and social gatherings, communities have adapted by expanding into the outdoors. This lifeline, perfect during the warmer spring and summer months, becomes more challenging during the impending colder, darker winter months… But it's time to change our relationship with winter outdoors!Winter Places, a design challenge for winter placemaking, sought ideas and designs for innovative, quickly implementable, low cost interventions to drive visitors back to Main Streets to support area restaurants and small businesses. This program and its success wouldn't have been possible without the support of our partners in what has become an international collaboration to bring new life to our main streets and downtowns.Since July, our team has worked together to compile this resource and develop this guide. Thank you to every single student, team, architect, landscape architect, designer and artist who submitted a concept to Winter Places. We received submissions from 65 individuals or teams from 6 countries and couldn't be more thrilled to see this cross border and cross continent collaboration to help extend a lifeline to our main streets and commercial centers during these extraordinary times.The information contained in the guide is designed to support cities, towns, main streets, BIDS/ BIAS, non-profit organizations, community groups, businesses and others in reimagining what's possible this winter on their main streets and commercial districts. We encourage all communities to employ strategies to change mentalities around how we approach winter. Encourage personal warmth as a policy… wear layers to spend time outdoors and bring a blanket for extra warmth (wool is best)! Look to implement projects in areas that get as much sun as possible during the day time and try to also factor in typical wind directions and wind tunnels in the area when choosing installation locations. Together, let's make this our first winter of many where we approach the winter with a positive attitude instead of hibernating indoors, welcoming the 4th season as one to enjoy and look forward to. One where we embrace the outdoors, embrace our communities and reconnect with our small businesses and neighbors again.
Significant growth in clean energy jobs is expected from the energy transition, especially given recent climate-centered federal policies. Meeting this job demand will require a strong, strategic, well-resourced workforce development ecosystem and a focus on creating equitable, high-road job opportunities that people of color and women can plentifully access. To better understand these needs, Barr's Climate Program commissioned an analysis from Emerald City Collaborative—with partners Browning the Green Space, nomada Consulting, and Ponder Analytics—and BW Research.Through this research, Barr seeks to provide data to inform a field-wide conversation and to engage other foundations on this topic. We hope that the resulting report helps foster constructive dialogue between clean energy and workforce leaders, and that it inspires additional philanthropy in our region. For additional supporting materials from the research project, please visit: barrfoundation.org/ceworkforcedev
Resurging Regional Ridership: An analysis of mobility flows, riders, and ridership in the WRTA regionApril 21, 2023
This report is the second in the Worcester Regional Research Bureau's 2023 analysis of the WRTA and fare-free service, beginning with All Aboard: Financing a Fare-Free WRTA. To gain a comprehensive perspective of the WRTA, this analysis focuses not only on the profiles of the WRTA's riders and its ridership recovery, but also on regional mobility, key to understanding the context within which the WRTA's riders choose to use its service. This report ultimately finds that the WRTA experienced rapid ridership monthly-recovery since March 2020, and by December 2022 it exceeded pre-pandemic levels; in FY23, the WRTA is projected to have a total of 3,913,772 total UPT across all modes, the highest since its historic peak in 2016. Fare-free service undoubtedly played a role in that recovery.
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board has suspended fares at the agency since March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent emergency. It has been extended several times, and the latest extension is set to end at the end of June 2023 unless the Advisory Board adopts a budget that will extend fare-free for a longer period of time. The Worcester Regional Research Bureau previously released two reports: In May 2019, The Implications of a Fare-Free WRTA and in November 2020, Bureau Brief—Addendum to "The Implications of a Fare-Free WRTA." Both reports analyses found a strong argument in favor of a fare-free program at the WRTA. This report on finances serves as an update to those reports after three years of fare-free service.The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is consistently the largest source of revenues used for operating expenses, followed by, in FY22, the Federal Government, and then WRTA member community assessments.According to a 2018 survey of riders, 65% of riders had an income of less than $24,999.Collecting fares, whether fixed or variable, will entail costs of its own that may mitigate the revenues collected by restarting fares.A thought experiment of what different fare collection revenues could look like, including the possibility of discounting fares by income.The Massachusetts' Legislature and the new gubernatorial administration have expressed interest in increasing transportation funding across the state. Moreover, the Regional Transit Authority Caucus in the legislature has begun to put forward bills to raise statewide RTA funding to $150 million a year, nearly $55 million more than funding for FY23. Governor Healey's initial FY24 budget includes $96.8 million for RTAs, in addition to $6 million for operating expenses from a new $25 million grant.The Federal Government will be increasing its transportation funding until 2026.The WRTA experienced a rapid ridership recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and FY23 ridership is expected to increase. While this report reviews WRTA finances relative to sustaining a fare-free policy, please look forward to a forthcoming report on WRTA ridership from The Research Bureau. It is evident that a fare-free policy at the WRTA has had significant impact, particularly on ridership.
Cities and towns across Massachusetts are implementing innovations on their streets. Quick and creative projects that prioritize people are having big impacts.These changes are mostly simple: making space for chairs and tables for neighbors to sit and chat, slowing down traffic via cones so kids can play and bike to school, and painting bus lanes for people to travel faster.This toolkit provides practitioners and partners with guidance on carrying forward the important work of measuring projects using low-cost and repeatable evaluation methods. The report includes links to sample templates and surveys to support these efforts.
Home is Where the Pipeline Ends: Characterization of Volatile Organic Compounds Present in Natural Gas at the Point of the Residential End UserOctober 26, 2022
Barr supported a study from Harvard University which examined the extent of leakage from gas stoves and ovens across Massachusetts. The study, Home is Where the Pipeline Is, was published in Environmental Science and Technology and received attention from many regional and national news outlets. The study's lead researcher, Dr. Drew Michanowicz, found that gas used in homes throughout the greater Boston area contains at least 21 different hazardous air pollutants that may impact air quality and health, wherever natural gas is leaked. Researchers collected over 200 unburned natural gas samples from 69 unique kitchen stoves and building pipelines across Greater Boston between December 2019 and May 2021.
The MassINC Polling Group is proud to present Drowned Out: Massachusetts Residents' Views on Climate Change. This is our fourth in a series of major reports on climate change opinion in Massachusetts, going back to 2011. All of these reports were made possible with the generous support of the Barr Foundation. These results were first reported on by The Boston Globe's Climate Desk in April 2022. The Globe team did a fantastic job summarizing the findings, digging into the data, making a series of graphics, and interviewing poll respondents. The poll was also the subject of an Earth Week event featuring reaction and commentary from the Massachusetts State Senate, the Conservation Law Foundation, and others. As excellent as the Globe coverage was, there was still much more to unpack in this survey, including trend data going back to our earliest climate change polling. We hope that readers find this in-depth reporting interesting and useful as Massachusetts continues to grapple with the causes and effects of climate change. About the poll These results are based on a survey of 1,890 Massachusetts residents. Live telephone interviews and online interviewing were conducted in English and Spanish between March 23 and April 5, 2022. Telephone respondents were reached by both landline and cell phone. Oversamples were conducted to obtain a total at least 250 Black, 250 Latino, and 200 Asian residents. Results within race and ethnicity were weighted by age, gender, and education level. These were then combined and weighted by race, age, gender, education, geography, and party to reflect known and estimated population parameters for the adult population of Massachusetts. The credibility interval for this survey is +/- 2.6 percentage points for the entire sample, including the design effect. This poll was sponsored by The Barr Foundation.
A replicable strategy for mapping air pollution's community-level health impacts and catalyzing preventionJuly 18, 2022
Barr supported a study from Boston University examining the health impacts of air pollution from fossil fuel combustion. The study was led by Dr. Phil Landrigan. The research found that disease, death and IQ loss occur at air pollution exposure levels below current EPA standards in all Massachusetts cities and towns. To prevent these impacts requires that the Environmental Protection Agency reexamine air quality standards. The study was published In the Journal of Environmental Health and has a companion website, MassCleanAir, that allows residents of Massachusetts to look up health impacts in their city or town. The website is available at: https://www.bc.edu/bc-web/centers/schiller institute/sites/masscleanair.html
This report chronicles the impact of green municipal aggregation programs in Massachusetts. This program allows cities and towns in Massachusetts to procure energy for their residents and businesses at prices competitive with utility-provided electricity. In many cases, cities have been able to procure cleaner electricity than utilities at a cheaper rate. The Green Energy Consumer Alliance's report chronicles the progress of these programs.
In May 2022, over 600 registered Massachusetts voters participated in a new survey. This survey showed Massachusetts voters remain concerned about climate change and optimistic about renewable energy. This survey was conducted in May 2022 by Global Strategies Group.Consistent with our findings from previous polls, Massachusetts voters remain concerned about climate change. Since the 2020 poll, there was a 5% decrease in the number of voters who were unsure if climate change was a problem or thought it was not a problem.As we observed in our Connecticut poll, Massachusetts voters of color also support the renewable energy transition at a higher rate than the general population. These findings reemphasize the importance of centering communities of color and their perspectives in regional energy transition dialogues and policymaking.Two-thirds of voters (68%) believe that a transition to renewable energy is realistic, an increase of more than 10 points since the 2020 poll.Solar and wind are extremely popular, and voters overwhelming want to see more solar and wind in the electricity mix. A majority of voters (53%)also consider renewable energy to be either more reliable or as reliable as fossil fuels like natural gas.Voters have limited awareness of key actors in energy regulations and the power the influence they have over the clean energy transition. Only 8% of voters surveyed have heard of ISO-New England and even fewer could correctly identify their role in energy regulation.
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