Media Coverage for BEAT’s new Resilience Hub!

BEAT‘s new Resilience Hub (Resilience Hub? see below!) got some great media coverage recently. It’s exciting to get the word out about this new initiative I’m involved with!

The first was this article by the Berkshire Eagle’s Matt Martinez, who came to BEAT’s recent educational potluck (or “climate social”) and wrote a really informative and positive article about it:

PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire Environmental Action Team’s headquarters at 20 Chapel St. in Pittsfield was packed with environmentally conscious Berkshire County residents on Sunday afternoon, for an inaugural “climate social,” before the building undergoes a series of renovations that will make it a Resilience Hub — a place where people will be able to go for reliable power in the event of a climate emergency.

The climate social was an informal event meant to bring together activists — and attract newcomers — hosted by the 350MA Berkshire node, a chapter of 350 Mass, a group that advocates for environmental policy.

What’s a Resilience Hub, you ask? From the website of CREW (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather):

Climate Resilience Hubs are community institutions — libraries, churches, schools, nonprofits, local businesses and others — that help educate residents about extreme weather preparedness and other impacts of climate change. If they choose, hubs can also help residents respond to extreme weather events through material assistance. For instance, hubs can provide phone charging during a power outage, provide air conditioning during a heatwave, organize welfare checks on vulnerable neighbors, or deliver other services.

More from the Eagle article:

“We would be able to provide heating, cooling and electricity even if the grid goes down,” said BEAT Executive Director Jane Winn.

It will join the Universalist Unitarian Meeting of Southern Berkshire in Housatonic, which is another Resilience Hub, although Al Blake, a co-founder of the 350MA Berkshire node, said the church was still under renovation. Blake said an effort in Windsor could bring another Resilience Hub to the county, too.

CREW and 350 Mass were both started by Better Future Project, a Massachusetts non-profit in Cambridge, MA. Al, Jane and I have been members of 350MA Berkshire since it started in 2014. Other founding members were also in attendance at the social, and I am so grateful for their commitment to the environment, and their friendship!

It’s so exciting (and essential) that these projects are becoming a reality after so much time and effort! Jane and I have been preparing for Phase 1 of BEAT’s renovations for about three years, and construction kicked off the day after our climate social. The first efforts will mostly be about making the building more accessible, with a new bathroom and entrances. We’re also removing the pulpit platform and adding a balcony that will overlook the river (Jane’s favorite part!)

And while I definitely don’t do this for the publicity, it was still nice to be mentioned in the story as well. Even though my one quote happens to be not so cheery. :-/ This is serious stuff, after all!

Wendy Brown, a member of the 350MA Berkshire node and an architect, provided information about environmentally friendly building materials and insulation. Brown advises facilities that want to become Resilience Hubs in Berkshire County, which she is doing for BEAT.

Brown said her contributions to the effort were galvanized by learning more about carbon emissions and the construction industry’s contributions toward them. She wanted to be part of the solution, she said.

“It’s really scary,” Brown said. “And it’s an emergency.”

Thanks to Matt Martinez and The Berkshire Eagle for their help in spreading the word about this vital new trend in community resilience in Berkshire County!