Art of Sustainability

Theme: Sustainability in the Pioneer Valley—what is it?  what does it look like? sound like? etc…what are the causes of unsustainable behavior? What are the benefits of sustainable living? The scope of this contest is deliberately broad–we want your ideas…

Description and Background: Artists and inventors throughout the Pioneer Valley (Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties), Massachusetts, are invited to submit their ideas and concepts for a project that will result in a representation of sustainability.  Ideas can be described visually (through sketches, models, sculpture, video etc.) and verbally.  This first stage of the contest involves only concepts; not finished artwork or productions.

Purpose: The goal of this contest is to stimulate thought and action on sustainability in the Pioneer Valley. The idea of sustainability dates back more than 35 years.  It was a key theme of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972.  The concept was coined explicitly to suggest that it was possible to achieve economic growth and industrialization without environmental damage.  In the ensuing decades, the concept of sustainability was progressively developed through the World Conservation Strategy (1980), the Brundtland Report (1987), and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio (1992).

Sustainability is both a goal and a concept.  As a goal, sustainability is an idea of a world where people care for and nurture the environment and one another as they carry out their day-to-day activities.  As a concept, sustainability calls for probing about limits on natural resources, capacities of ecosystems, and interactions among social, economic, political and environmental systems.  The central theme underlying this concept is working toward a sustainable quality of life, now and in the future.

Perhaps the most widely accepted definition of sustainability comes from the Brundtland Commission.  The Commission was convened by the United Nations in 1983 to address growing concern about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development.  The Commission defined “sustainability” as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”   Enough for all forever.

The concept of sustainability presents us with exciting challenges.  It inspires all of us to work creatively toward moderating and changing our practices and behavior.  It feeds new ideas and passions about technological, economic, and social growth that are ecologically viable. 

Embracing all of this, what does sustainability in the Pioneer Valley look like, sound like, feel like? How can it be represented? Is it best articulated through a device, or through dance, music, film, sculpture, or two-dimensional design?  We invite you to show and tell us.

Funding: $1,000 for winning concept submission and significant exposure and recognition for ALL finalists.  Contest winner must agree to execute his/her winning idea and produce the final work with a $5,000 budget by September 30, 2008.

Criteria: The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network is looking for project ideas that demonstrate the following: 

  1. effective communication about the concept of sustainability;
  2. creative use of materials (recycled, locally based, or sustainable in other ways);
  3. how the final work can be produced within the $5,000 award budget (include a budget) plus any other funding you have to realize your idea;
  4. how the final work will reach a large public audience here in the Pioneer Valley (include a plan);
  5. a spirit and intent that is positive;
  6. an artistic imagination;
  7. inspiration to thought and action on the part of the audience who experiences your art/invention.
  8. You must also be available to present your idea to the Judges on June 25, 2008 6:30-9 pm at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton


Judges for the contest will use the above criteria to evaluate all submissions. 

Judges: (click here to see bios)

ART: Hilary Price, Josh Simpson, Gina Beavers,

Media/outreach: Chris (Monty) Belmonte, Rus Peotter, Kristen Beam

Sustainability: Daniel Ross, David Starr, John Majercek,

Eligibility:  In the spirit of sustainability, this contest will be locally based in the Pioneer Valley.  Artists and inventors of all ages, backgrounds, training are encouraged to submit ideas—you must all live, work, or go to school in one of the cities or towns located in Hampden, Hampshire, or Franklin County.


Call for Submissions–IDEAS first

winner will receive up to $5,000 to create her/his idea

Sustainability—Enough for All Forever

Art/Invention Contest

Sponsored by

The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network


Generously Supported by WGBY
Click here to View Submissions


The contest is over. Thank you for your interest–

Founding of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network

The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network was founded as a collaboration of the University of Massachusetts–Environmental Institute and Department of Industrial Engineering, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

ABSTRACT of proposal submitted to EPA that was awarded funding for this project:
Continue reading “Founding of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network”

July 30, 2008 Meeting Agenda

Energy, Water, and Land Use: A Framework for Incorporating Scientific Information into Sustainability Planning

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
Meeting #6
Wednesday, July 30th 2008
Co-op Power offices 324 Wells Street
Carpool using RIDEbuzz


8:00 – 8:30 Informal Networking / Breakfast
8:30 – 9:00 Formal Networking/Breakfast – Members converse and share information on local efforts (EG- ” Pioneer Valley Summit on Sustainable Investment-follow up).
9:00 – 9:45 briefing on networking training
9:45 – 10:30 discussion of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network’s role in the region
10:30 – 10:55 EPA Grant Effort Updates
– Support Tool for local officials concerning energy related decisions.
– Sustainability Indicators
-Sustainability Art Contest-winner Jane Beatrice Wegscheider
10:55-11:00 plan next meeting

Thank you very much for your willingness to participate actively in the formation of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network. We are extremely grateful for your time and energy.

Please contact Catherine Miller at or 413/781-6045 if you have any questions about the project, the meeting or anything else.

Also–the latest iteration of the decision support tool is on the pvsustain website-please check it out! The specific page is:

Catherine M. Miller
Principal Planner-Sustainability
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

May 2, 2007

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network        May 2 2007        Meeting #1 Notes

Project Staff: Erin Baker-Industrial Engineering UMASS, Sarah Dorner-Water Resources Institute UMASS, Catherine Miller-Sustainability Planner PVPC, Rick Taupier-The Environmental Institute UMASS

Members Present: Paul Lipke-Sustainable Step New England (SSNE), Judy Eiseman-Kestrel Trust, Dan Finn-Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy (BALLE), Julie Johnson-Hitchcock Center for the Environment, Andrea Donlon-CT River Watershed Council, Lynn Benander-Co-op Power, Maya Winfrey-Co-op Power, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative, Nancy Hazard-World Sustain, Annie Cheatam-Communities Involved Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), Tim Brennan-Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), Jocelyn Forbush-Trustees of Reservations, Jono Neiger-Regenerative Design, Charles Rucks-Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services

Members Anticipated: Peggy MacLeod-Center for Ecological Technology (CET), Scott Reed-Riverland Farm, David Panagore-City of Springfield Planning and Economic Development, James Lowenthal-MassBike, Doug McDonald-City Northampton Water Division, Tina Clarke-Clean Water Action, Eric Hove and Kurt Gaertner- Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), Stuart Beckley-Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee (BAPAC), Dwayne Breger-MA Division of Energy Resources, Daniel Ross-Nuestras Raices, Bonnie Parsons-PVPC Historic Preservation

Members Invited but not yet Committed: Cris Coffin-American Farmland Trust, Claire D’amour-Daley-Big Y, Sandy Thomas, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), John Walsh-Western MA Electric Company (WMECO), Will Bundy-Eastworks, David Rosenmiller-Solidago Foundation, Christian Lagier-Smith College, Tom Rossmassler-HAP Inc., Joanne Campbell-Valley Community Development Council, Brad Campbell-Homebuilders Assoc of Western MA, Jay Brienes/Judy Sopenski-Holyoke Health Center, Penny Burke-Northampton Center for the Arts, Springfield Museums Representative, Allan Blair-Western MA Economic Development Council, Russ Denver-Affiliated Chambers of Greater Springfield, Jeff Hayden-Holyoke Community College, Mayor Clare Higgins-City Northampton, David Kielson-MA Municipal Association, Mary MacInnes-Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

Recommendations of additional People to Invite: Rochelle Prunty-River Valley Market, Jon Weissman-Jobs for Justice, Julie Graham-Popular Economics UMASS, Sharon Genslar-Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Gary Schaefer or Barbara Fingold-Bart’s Ice Cream, John Laux-Greendustry Park, Francesca Maltese-O’Connell Development Group Holyoke, Erica Gees-Kuhn-Riddle Architects


Networking with Coffee and Treats
Project Overview
Values Hierarchy
Schedule Guest Lecturers
Plan future meetings

Introduction/Project Overview
We opened the meeting with a slideshow of participants (attached at end) and a brief project overview. Tim Brennan of PVPC explained that organization’s commitment to the project and to sustainability. Planners are professional worriers and we have shifted out focus from working to create a “better future” to working to assure a future for all. He reinforced the need to have an agreed upon notion of sustainability and to build a network which can change both attitudes and behavior. Attitudes are changing, but behavior change is harder and slower. He believes that we are creating an all volunteer sustainability army!

-we seem to be very light on the social side of sustainability.
-we should invite the folks from Greendustry, a green industrial park in Holyoke
-we should invite Francesca Maltese of O’Connell Industries in Holyoke
-people are both frustrated and intrigued by the lack of a definition of sustainability and by the project team’s desire to use that word. Everyone around the table has grappled with the power of language and with the decision to use (or not) words that may be “over-used” in popular culture and/or mis-used.

Overview of Values Hierarchy
— Erin Baker will help us structure a framework for making sustainable decisions. We need to understand our fundamental values before we can define sustainability. It’s important to distinguish between values and alternatives and outcomes. Once we understand our values-what we care about—then we can consider alternatives. We will move from values to metrics.

-we need a definition of sustainability or else this is a useless exercise!
-shouldn’t the land-use piece be the foundation?
-there are different categories of sustainability—what is sustainable?
-we need to define each element of sustainability: equity, environment and economy
-don’t use the word sustainable!
-don’t shy away from the word sustainable!
-PVPC has made a start on benchmarks
-Americans demand hot TV dinners and cold beer 24 hours/day –Amory Lovins
-The Natural Step process is one that people have used successfully

Many indicator projects have been completed by similar groups of talented people around the country and the world. And many groups have defined sustainability. The members present want the project team to share their research on different approaches and model projects so they do not feel like they are re-inventing the wheel. NOTE: we will add summaries of our research on sustainability metrics, definitions and indicators to a project web-site as soon as we have a contract—anticipated by beginning of June.

Future Meetings: 2.5 hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

September 12 2007
November 14 2007
February 13 2008
May 14 2008

Values Hierarchy working group meeting is scheduled for June 13th 8:30-11:00 at a location to be determined in Northampton or Amherst. Please r.s.v.p. for the June 13th mtg to Catherine Miller (413) 781-6045 or we will have call in capacity for details, see invitation enclosed.

May 2, 2007 Meeting Agenda

Energy, Water, and Land Use: A Framework for Incorporating Scientific Information into Sustainability Planning             

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
Meeting #1
Wednesday, May 2nd 2007
Green Room—Mullins Center
University of Massachusetts-Amherst


9:30    Networking with Coffee and Treats
10:00    Welcome/Introductions            Catherine Miller, Principal Planner-PVPC
10:20    Project Overview            Professor Rick Taupier, The Environmental Institute
10:40    Values Hierarchy            Professor Erin Baker, Industrial Engineering
11:45    Schedule Guest Lecturers        Li Na, Graduate Student
11:55    Plan future meetings            Catherine Miller
12:00    ADJOURN

In the green room at the Mullins Center—directions are available here and a copy is attached to your email.

Thank you very much for your willingness to participate actively in the formation of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network. We are extremely grateful for your time and energy.

Please contact Catherine Miller via e-mail at or by phone (413) 781-6045 if you have any questions about the project, the meeting or anything else.

February 27, 2007 Meeting Agenda

Energy, Water, and Land Use: A Framework for Incorporating Scientific Information into Sustainability Planning

University of MassachusettsAmherst

PioneerValley Planning Commission

PioneerValley Sustainability Network

Meeting #4

Wednesday, February 27th 2007

CampusCenter, AmherstCollege

8:00 – 8:30 Informal Networking / Breakfast

8:30 – 9:00 Formal Networking – Members converse and share local efforts

(EG- “ Pioneer Valley Summit on Sustainable Investment).

9:00 – 9:45 Initial meeting and discussion by the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Committee (PVSC)

– This is intended to be an open discussion focused on what type of efforts the Committee would like to be involved in separate from the Grant Funded Effort.

– We need to ask how we can work together to create a real PVSC?

– What are important Pioneer Valley Sustainability Issues to be addressed?

– What we need to do, how do we need to work together beyond and separate from the EPA funded project?

– What can we do with all the great energy and people which are focused around “Sustainability Efforts” across the Pioneer Valley?

9:45 – 10:00 Creation of a PVSC Executive Committee and define its new role

10:00 – 11:00 EPA Grant Effort Updates

– Update from Erin Baker – Support Tool for local officials concerning energy related decisions.

– Update from Rick Taupier – Sustainability Indicators

– Update from Catherine Miller – Sustainability Art Contest

May 14, 2008—next meeting

El Mercado—413 Main Street Holyoke

8-11 a.m.

Thank you very much for your willingness to participate actively in the formation of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network. We are extremely grateful for your time and energy.

Please contact Catherine Miller at or 413/781-6045 if you have any questions about the project, the meeting or anything else.

Art Contest

The contest is over. Thank you for your interest–

Description and Background: Artists and inventors throughout the Pioneer Valley (Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties), Massachusetts, were invited to submit their ideas and concepts for a project that will result in a representation of sustainability.  20 local artists and inventors submitted wonderful ideas, and one was chosen to be realized.
Read more.

All Submissions: All of the wonderful and inspiring submissions are listed Here.

Local Contest Judge’s Bios

Winner of the contest:
“A Table Set For Forever” by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider
is a portable, multi-media, installation piece that honors existing individual and collective efforts at sustainability while engaging the viewer/participant with questions, ideas, images and visual metaphors related to sustainability in our region.
Read more.

Host the winning art work in your community…

“A Table Set For Forever” Jane Beatrice Wegscheider

“A Table Set For Forever”
Jane Beatrice Wegscheider- Winner of the 2008 Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network’s “Art of Sustainability” contest speaks about the project

Brief description: “A Table Set for Forever” is a portable, multi-media, installation piece that honors existing individual and collective efforts at sustainability while engaging the viewer/participant with questions, ideas, images and visual metaphors related to sustainability in our region.

Detail on Art work
“A Table Set For Forever” is a portable, multi-media, installation piece: a kind of permeable “room” that can be set up anywhere. The central visual motif is a table and six chairs. The table top is a garden-theme mosaic made of colored glass tiles and bits of broken plates (pique assiette technique). The mismatched (‘recycled”) wooden chairs are painted as blackboards, with questions related to sustainability in our region written on in colored chalk (and viewers are invited to contribute). Six free-standing curtain-like panels in portable frames are set up around the table. Each of the two-sided panels is made of a collage of seed-packets sewn together with images (both photographic and drawn/painted) and text derived from relevant literature and local community sources. The panels are set up around the table and chairs so that people can walk between and around them easily, in and out of the “room”.

An essential part of the piece is that it involved the participation of many other people in its process. The artist, Jane Beatrice Wegscheider, sent out and distributed (in local businesses, libraries, etc.) written requests for participation in the sustainability dialogue, beginning with the question: “What does sustainability mean to you?”

Jane solicited answers to these additional questions:

Do you feel motivated to live a more sustainable lifestyle? (and if so, what or who has motivated you?)
What are some of the things you do to live a more sustainable lifestyle?
What are some of the challenges of living a more sustainable lifestyle?
What ideas and solutions for sustainability have you considered?
(These could be dreams or inventions you have in your mind but haven’t tried yet…or things you’d like to do but don’t know how to yet.)
Do you have any questions that would challenge people to think about sustainability in a new way? (for example, “how much is enough?”)

And these answers informed the work.

The artist organized several dinner parties, featuring local food and great conversation about sustainability, as part of the development of the work of art. For each conversation, she brought together groups of six-10 people from varying segments of our communities to share their ideas and brainstorm further sustainability activism. These conversations were recorded and excerpts from them became the audio component of the installation, as well as source material for the seed-packet collage panels.

Jane Beatrice Wegscheider’s basic premise is that dialogue/conversation/the sharing of ideas (especially person to person) is essential to sustainable activism. Sharing thoughts and ideas around a shared meal is a way to combine activism with community-building. In the conversation about sustainability, we are also talking about basic needs and resources, of which, food is one primary need.

Jane is convinced that small actions need to be honored along with bigger systemic efforts. People change and accept change in different ways. Her aesthetic is generally an “accessible” one. The seed-packet “curtain”/panels will show the significance of ALL actions, ideas, questions, etc. that collectively add up. Even on their own these panels will be a stimulating and informative visual discussion.

the table as metaphor
the table as place
the table as community, family, the future
the table shared
the table abundant
the table as an edible landscape

Jane used the pique assiette technique (broken plate mosaic), along with the garden theme, to refer to the past that is a part of us.
The chairs have questions painted on them to represent the challenges of joining the sustainability discussion/dialogue/effort.
The “walls”/ “curtains”/ panels are permeable to suggest visually that this is not a behind-closed-doors conversation. The seed packets are a literal metaphor: seeds produce multiples of themselves. They symbolize growth and potential.
The installation is purposely portable, each element breaking down into carry-able pieces so that it can more easily become part of various local environments/public spaces: farmer’s markets, schools, outdoor cultural events, etc.

This installation is the first phase of this project. The second phase will involve developing the audio component further for web and radio and developing ways to use the installation to disseminate physical cards (for people to take with them) with ideas and information on them. (Jane imagines letter-pressed “information” on vegetable-shaped cards in bowls on the table.) The third phase will be the organization and facilitation of having the installation travel to schools, libraries, farmer’s markets and other public venues.

If you would like to host this work of art in your community.

January 14, 2009

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network Meeting #9 1/14/09 Notes

Present: Chris Mason-Northampton Energy and Sustainability Officer, Sue Bridge-Conway Board of Health, Rose Diebel-UMASS , Sherry Metzger-VHB, Erin Baker and Rick Taupier-UMASS, Tony Dover-PVPC, Catherine Miller-PVPC, Larry Ely-Amherst, Lynn Benander-Co op Power, Paul Lipke-Health Care without Harm, Nancy Hazard-Greening Greenfield and World Sustain, Pam Cargill-Solar PV installer, Tom Rossmassler and Craig Marden-HAP, Jono Neiger-W. MA Permaculture Guild and Conway School, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Collaborative, Jim Barry-Belchertown Select Board, Joanne Sunshower-Shutesbury, David Starr-Green Northampton, Pam Howland

Member Updates:

  • Chris Mason- The city of Northampton has launched an RFQ for an ESCO and hopes to select a business within a month; Green Communities Act monitoring/advocacy, Energy and Sustainability committee met and meets again next week; Chris also serves on the Montague energy committee-similar. In Noho-looking to help residents and businesses improve their energy efficiency and realizing that there is a gap-so facilitating working group to look at creating a western MA energy alliance along the lines of the Cambridge energy alliance.
  • Sue Bridge- More of the same: still working on zero energy home and 7-8 acres of permaculture landscaping.
  • Erin Baker- UMASS staff to project; looks at energy technology policy-very excited about Obama administration-she knows a lot of people up towards the top; comparing research and dev in solar and looking at models.
  • Lynn Benander- Co op power-sustainable energy summit-May 1-2, 2009-1-Friday all day green job training, Friday night dance with Cuban band, conference all day Saturday at campus center inside and outside. Working with community owned energy services company in Boston getting started with 5 community based organizations-Nuestras Raices-Pathways out of poverty create jobs in conservation efficiency and create jobs for young people. Solar hot water expanding to weatherization “barn raising” expanding to include Cambridge and Somerville-will bring to W. Ma eventually and do PV in the Spring.
  • Ben Ewing- Grad student in industrial engineering working on decision support tool, works part-time at MA municipal wholesale electric power company-implementing  solar pv program for munis throughout the state, starting on 15 mw wind farm on Brodie Mt in the Berkshires
  • Rose Diebel- Taking over Ben’s work
  • Staci Metzger-  Transportation planner with VHB in Springfield working on GHG and air quality emissions for developers and transportation planning doing South Hadley and Adams master plans right now
  • Jono Neiger-Conway School-teach permaculture and regenerative design. Student projects just started-larger scale in winter Shelburne Falls-food systems plan/design 10-11 weeks Will Flanders group and other sponsorship-also teaches a summer permaculture class through UMASS-planning an adult ed permaculture design class next Fall, Design Business-a little quieter in winter
  • Patrick Dufour-
  • Larry Ely- Working with Town of Amherst to change the way they function-starting to get traction and feel some push back
  • Craig Marden- HAP green affordable housing program, affordable housing development has dropped off a bit, taught a class at UMASS in building material on energy efficient housing
  • Tom Benjamin- LED professional and currently working for cellulose installer
  • Nancy Hazard- Greening Greenfield making a lot of progress-joined ICLEI, doing energy audit and report will be presented tomorrow night in Greenfield, big finding that they needed to focusing on identifying $$$ 78% of money spent on energy in Greenfield goes out of the city. 86 million $ spent on energy. 68 million went out of the community. Mayor will be announcing long term goals. Town had  DOER audit and received a $250,000 grant to upgrade the building. Also participating in FRCOG ESCO project. Collaborating with CET and local businesses on greening business workshop; PV array on old landfill
  • Pam Cargill- Formerly of Solar wrights-another merger Alteris Renewables, serving on green region strategy, Board of Directors for Springfield area Sustainable Energy association-interested in educating folks on what green energy is; uphill battle because public is not as receptive to green , meeting next Tuesday with a presentation on residential geothermal energy systems, Springfield green drinks-Theodors’ 27th 4th Tuesday of every month
  • Paul Lipke- Stepping out of role as co-founder of SSNE working on health care without harm, has to run out for an Obama transition team meeting! Making first real in roads into extended care community-MA is first in nation to push that out from public health perspective-so they are training public health staff. If you got to EIC you can enter kilowatt hours and see all the illnesses you are causing! Geared toward institutions and large users-for those of you who want more of this kind of meeting-SSNE does have learning community meetings 3-4 times a year and more teaching oriented-skills building and ask Paul for an invite
  • Jim Barry- Select Board of Belchertown here to keep learning had DOER energy audits done and report is coming back soon-met compliance of GCA-forming a community energy committee
  • Tony Dover- PVPC newsletter-if you are not getting it-let him know, and please submit information every 2 months
  • Eric Weiss- Chair, Hilltown resource management collaborative, recycling, chair of MRFF advisory Board and works with 10 different towns on their recycling programs
  • Tom Rossmassler- HAP, green affordable d]housing and project development in various shades of green, slowed due to tax credit side; home ownership side, state has put the brakes on funding starting the Marlboro MBA
  • Joanne Sunshower- NESFI and consultant for non profits, Pioneer Valley sustainable investment summit, PV ag working group-next meeting is Jan 28th 1-4 at El Mercado in Holyoke-working for diverse participation, main focus has been on networking and trying to build up the value added aspect of food systems in PV; NESFI has a mobile processing unit for poultry, Bart’s ice cream and our family farms is looking at a diary processing, Solidago foundation and western MA enterprise fund are both looking to fund value added; with class action women building bridges for ec dev and justice with Amherst and noho survival centers-to fill gap for women trying to achieve ec stability -begginning of 2 year project; sub-group of people trying to protect water resources in MA have achieved a hearing with joint committee on ag, natural resources and env-Rep. Steve Kulik is sponsoring bill on a moratorium on all bottled water plants while DEP studies resources… why target bottled water plants-because MA has a protective law-water is supposed to re-charge. Kulik sponsoring-ask for a draft handout
  • David Starr- Green Northampton-citizens group encouraging more community and less carbon
  • Bill Bickley- Westfield State college sustainability coordinator-4/22 Earth Day next very big event-Sustainability vendor fair all kinds of businesses to showcase what’s possible this is 3rd year-getting bigger and better spread the word. Team-professors, students, administrators
  • Rick Taupier- Staff/team members who secured seed funding at UMASS Vice Chancellor for research and coordinate international research, international issues of sustainability, proposal to MacArthur foundation to establish a new Masters degree in sustainable dev practice at UMASS, pool of 15 million 10 grant and 100 competitors. Not a new dept but a joint program offered by 5 existing depts. Public Health, Resource Economics, Public Policy, LARP. Work with 4 universities outside of US:  Ghana, China Colombia and Czech Republic.  Also working with a Mongolian university

EPA funded deliverables update

Erin-start on indicators- planned to be bottom up tempered by research on indicators across N America. We came up with categories, long list of possible indicators-we need to prioritize them and narrow them down to a certain degree because we will be able to collect only a certain amount of information. Share results of survey. Originally idea was to survey members and try to get more people to vote. Question-do we want to do that? Or should we stop-agree on what we have and start data collection. It’s up to you, because you will be the ones who have to get people involved.

Results-why narrow-because of data collection challenges– people will get overwhelmed-we need something that people can grasp-too much will be overwhelming.   Turn page-review handout carbon footprint and emissions-may be much easier to measure emissions v footprint

  • Health status popular
  • Voter participation much easier to measure
  • Total waste popular
  • Leadership accountability would be more fun-we have this list…so we have this list-we can use this data for grant proposals-in next 6 months we have to collect data, but we are not throwing any of this information away-some we can act do now-other we will need to wait.

Last page-Erin’s suggestions of prioritization. On right are fundamental objectives-we don’t want indicators that don’t include all 6-all covered pretty weak-one that we are lowest on is cultural vitality-local food production, so she included bottom 2 because they relate to cultural vitality.


a) stop voting and start data collection
b) ask for more votes-
c) both.-we recommend both!

Questions-we need to meet grant goals-does sending it out to wider audience help? Yes-

How do we manage who gets survey? Send it out to public, advertise through members


  • Chris- Do we have money to do presentations on this? Plan was to use intro as is. Problems-website wasn’t working and Chris would like to participate
  • Sue- Social scientists by training and very enthusiastic about this kind of project-understand why we need to simplify, but at the same time, doesn’t understand how we could have a data base that doesn’t include health, size etc of flora and fauna of region
  • Lynn- Wants consensus on these being the right data-wants talk from members so the group officially endorses the measures-have a special meeting on that
  • Jono- Get it out-god idea and can get people involved and market pvsn
  • Patrick- For indicators-have we looked at data sources yet? No-we have no idea how we would collect.
  • Joanne- 12-18 is a number we are shooting for. Erin likes 12; 18 is max from her Joanne – too much on natural and this list looks like a rather conventional list. We need more conversation. If you want a valley wide sustainability indicator, we have to reflect farms of Franklin and cities of Hampden-diversity! We need to do more selling if we want diverse participation in voting
  • Staci- Equity-web survey is skewed to people who have computers
  • Joanne-don’t want to burden us, but…
  • Larry- Jump in second Lynn-we need more buy in as a group
  • Nancy- Original survey too arcane-valuable tool
  • Rick- I agree with Lynn-we should have a meeting to talk about indicators-turning out to be kind of elusive-we are trying to be very broad and democratic in coming up with choices-for god reason not just because its out ethical approach but also because we want community buy in because we want people to believe the indicators actually do assess sustainability., but we keep having this problem-most of us are appalled by the notion that we wouldn’t have a biodiversity measure, AND YET when we poll people, it keeps dropping out! And Erin made a great case for obesity and it’s not there.. so, are there a certain set of things that we as a group of experts say-it has to be in here. Regardless of how people vote!  And what are they?
  • Erin- Summarize-need a meeting on indicators.  Can we do it today? No but yes-Rick can start moving forward with these NOW!!!!
  • Paul- Leery of putting indicator concepts out there if we can’t measure it! Problem of definitions on website-we need definitions-what does it mean? Rick-if we meet in a month, Rick can tell us what is possible to easily measure. We’re starting from pre-filtered list.
  • How many will come?  12 process will be determined later-sub groups or not???
  • Agenda- Process for how we are going to finish this up AND indicators
  • Lynn has a lot of facilitation ideas-she’s volunteering to facilitate.
  • Consensus check-Lynn’s assumption is that there will be a hybrid of democratic voting process and professional expertise.
  • Weds 2/11 9-11 am

Green Building calculator: powerpoint-get this to post on website

Any building-interface will come last-experts on solar PV hot water are invited to contact Ben with input

Goal-to keep what requiring from user to a bare min. user has to fill in information in user data section annual electric load, fuels they use for heat, amount of fuel they use per year, method of water hearing efficiency of heater, annual electric load, size of space, number of floors type red or comm. # occupants, discount rate to evaluate future cots. Having filled all that info is to the best of their ability user scrolls down and can chose to select diff tech to modify their system-solar pv geothermal biomass biodiesel, daylighting- skylights to reduce electric costs, solar hot water and for efficiency measures compact fluorescent switch  to more efficient refrigerator, change windows, update insulation

Output of tool will be 3 metrics financial cost of what you chose. Compare what user selected with what their current set up status quo-show financial cost emissions cost, cost of health impacts data from Paul

Included rebates and incentives. Need to factor in wood heat, pellet stoves and BTU calculators

  • Comments:
  • Pam- This is great-company she works for has an in-house tool similar to this, giving the environmental impact data in terms of tons of CO2 is not very meaningful to them-they are working on making it more manageable to users-more metaphorical and tangible. Analytical data food for some, but others want metaphorical stuff. This is great!
  • Larry- Person needs an average measure-compared to US-add a baseline comparison to Europeans, developing countries, Japans, etc… makes it possible if they can do it, we can.
  • Craig- Can you add stuff? Missing-air sealing a building has greatest payback-not sexy, but essential. Re-order to prioritize high impact. Less sexy put at top-rank by cost effectiveness. HAP has net present value data form New Ecology inc in Boston.
  • Plug the holes then put the solar collectors up
  • Health data is not regionalized for density
  • Stacy will send GHG emissions information to Erin

Network business

Eric- Steering committee met last month:

4 items: organizing document for pvsustain; website; retreat; art of sustainability

  • Sue, Catherine and Eric met to develop content of organizing document-what is network, who are we, how do we function, what are we working on what have we accomplished? We have a web presence and want to solidify members wishes and be clear who we are we need to get organized. Sue-who’s the audience of the document? For us to tell people what we are part of and so that we can explain to potential members who we are and whether or not they want to join. Status-it’s well under way. Draft will be out soon to all for review to steering comm.–Lynn, Larry, Jeff, Patrick, Paul, Jono, Sue, Catherine, Eric
  • Website-we will shift to live interactive website .org  in the coming weeks.  Need .org for grants in the future and current sire static
  • Work committee wants to do: speaker’s bureau of sustainability professional s. Send us your abilities and requirements-searchable data base where members enter their data.
  • Retreat in Fall 09-focus on us. Talk with Hampden co people to make sure they come
  • Educate policy makers? Larry wants us to do this.
  • Outreach to local leaders-we must keep this on agenda.
  • Pam-commenst-1) weekend; 2) need to reach out to professionals yes, but we all spend so much time educating others-this is the sustainability trade organization.
  • Art of sustainability-Bill Bickley will host in April!

Membership framework-

  • 30,000 /year is what we have now
  • 2 tiered system of orgs and individuals-some representing orgs and others individuals-
  • Group needs to won the budget-what do we want to spend money on?
  • We need an itemized budget-how does it get spent and who’s doing what?
  • Have sliding scale fee based on organizations’ operating budget-tithe? ¼ percent of budget
  • Turn into a 501(c)3???
  • Do we want grant $ or do we want independence? A lot of professional orgs has an itemized list of benefits-create a membership benefits brochure.
  • Fundraising?
  • Paul-have sponsorships available to cover scholarships or subsidized memberships-have layers of membership and opportunity to sponsor others
  • Assumptions-Lynn really doesn’t want to incorporate-you have a board and reporting and accounting etc etc  etc she wants a network-don’t incorporate and do the work and stay connected. We should not compete for funding PVPC  is happy to stay as org parent
  • 1-define budget
  • 2 tiered membership-$50 v $250 sliding
  • Need sales pitch-org doc will meet that need

Next Meeting March 18, 2009 in Holyoke


The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network is a formalization of many informal networks of sustainability experts in the area which acts as a vehicle to bridge the gap between practitioners and researchers in the area of sustainable development, with an initial emphasis on sustainable land use and energy use.

Our mission is to be a broad-based Network that builds mutually beneficial partnerships to promote a sustainable, just, regenerative future for our region. We bring our vision into being through collaborative support and action on specific projects in service to our communities in response to their needs.