In order to inform community leaders and help shape the development of public policy toward a community whose citizens are “satisfied with life," the Sustainability Commission is beginning to introduce the nationally acclaimed Happiness Initiative derived from the notion that Gross National Happiness is more relevant to community well-being than Gross National Product.
“Measuring more of what matters rather than just more.”
The initiative represents a paradigm shift in the language and practice of sustainability. In other words it represents a whole new language of sustainability. The Commission plans to hold a series of public information meetings to provide information regarding the initiative and how citizens can be heard through an on-line national survey whose data will be accumulated for Groton to help us understand what components of happiness can be improved for our citizens and support recommendations for such improvement.
The ten domains of happiness are:
• Environment and Nature
• Good Government
• Material Well-Being
• Psychological Well-Being
• Physical Health
• Time or Work-Life Balance
• Community (Social Vitality and Connection)
to take Groton's "Happiness Survey"
The Climate Action Working Group of the Sustainability Commission is conducting a formal inquiry into Groton’s vulnerabilities to changing weather patterns and other climate-related changes.
Our short-term goal is to inform the Selectmen of the need for this work and to ask their support for engaging other town departments, boards, and commissions. Our longer-term goal is to work with the rest of the town government to prepare a report that advises the town about the vulnerabilities and what it should do to address them, and then to take the lead in bringing about the needed adaptations.
We started with the general recommendations contained in the Climate Change Adaptation Report published by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and the Environment in 2011. We are also studying the reports and action plans being developed by other Massachusetts communities, including the report prepared by Boston in October 2013.
Currently, we are waiting to review the first version of the Climate Adaption report of the Metropolitan Planning Council for greater Boston. The council includes over 100 eastern Massachusetts communities; of the communities bordering Groton, only Littleton is a member. We are also contacting the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission, to which Groton belongs, to understand any climate adaptation plans the council may be working on. To view a copy of the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report, click here.
For Additional Information Please Contact;
Working Group Chair: Leo Laverdure
Working Group Members: Carl Canner, Mark Archambault
The Groton Sustainability Commission is concerned about the ongoing erosion to the Squannacook and Nashua Rivers banks along the course of these rivers in Groton.
Global warming predicts that as the atmosphere warms up the skies will be able to hold greater concentrations of moisture. This in turn will lead to more violent and more frequent storms with greater precipitation in any one storm. These storms will result in greater run off to the rivers and subsequently greater flooding and more frequent flooding of the rivers.
A hydrographic station of the US Weather Service is located on the Squannacook River at The Bertozzi Wildlife Preserve. The station measures in real time the height of the water in the river. Graphs made up by the US Weather Service from the data collected at the Squannacook hydrographic station show that both the height of floods and the frequency of floods have continued to increase since the 1980s. This is a result that would be expected as an effect of increased global warming.
One of the results of the frequent and intense flooding of the rivers is the erosion of the river banks. In many places along the Squannacook and Nashua in Groton the banks once vegetated have now become raw sand. The banks have widened and large old trees that for decades were growing in what was the bank by the river have now fallen into the river. As a result the rivers are full of trees.
The evidence of recent river bank erosion on the Nashua can be seen by taking a walk along the Sabine Woods trail, the Northern extension of Groton Place. Here you can see huge old trees growing on the river bank. They must have been there for hundreds of years. There roots are interestingly growing horizontally straight back into the river bank indicating they were always growing on the river bank. Now these roots are greatly exposed as the river bank has eroded away and the trees themselves look almost cantilevered over the edge of the bank. Many of these huge trees have recently fallen into the river.
An area of erosion on the Squannacook River is of some concern. The river flows South just West of West Groton bridge on route 225. There the river takes a right angle turn eastward. The river bank at this juncture has eroded away. A large pine tree growing there has fallen into the river and another growing behind it has its roots undercut. As the erosion here continues to progress it will threaten route 225.
As demonstrated by our eroding river banks, Global Warming and its results are not just a thing of the future, they are with us now.
For additional Information Please Contact Carl Canner