The Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative was thrilled to participate in the 9th annual OneCape Summit July 31 and August 1. Over two days, this regional forum, organized and hosted by the Cape Cod Commission brought together local and national leaders, non-profits, businesses and subject matter experts to “inspire informed action on the most pressing issues related to Cape Cod’s unique environment and economy.”
The two-day session featured talks by key local and state officials, such as Rebecca Tepper (Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs), Bonnie Heiple (Commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Protection) and Edward Augustus (Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities). The State officials spoke of Gov. Maura Healey’s commitment to finding innovative, actionable solutions for the State’s twin crises of climate and housing.
Keynote addresses were given by Senator Ed Markey and EPA Regional Administrator Dr. David Cash, who also served as a keynote speaker for the Collaborative’s NetZero 2022 conference.
Collaborative Members’ Presentations Focus on Climate and Housing Challenges
The conference was moderated by Kristy Senatori, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission. Many presentations and sessions focused on new initiatives to address housing and climate-related challenges. A number of these featured Collaborative Board and Advisory Council Members, including Dan Wolf (Executive Chair of Cape Air), Paul Niedzwiecki (CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce), Matt Burke (Chair and CEO of Cape Cod 5), Maggie Downey (Administrator, Cape Light Compact) and Stephani Spadoni (Director of Research & Reporting, Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority).
Dan Wolf and Paul Niedzwiecki Urge Bold Action Now!
In their plenary session conversation, moderated by Kristy Senatori, Dan Wolf and Paul Niedzwiecki addressed issues illuminated in the intersection formed by Cape Cod’s most pressing challenges: housing and climate. Together, the panel responded to questions from the audience ranging from housing affordability and availability across the Cape to its impacts on our delicate ecosystems. Dan and Paul spoke of the need for bold action and urged the state and local elected officials to identify priorities and move quickly to make them a reality. Niedzwiecki urged towns to re-examine zoning and tax policies to incentivize more affordable housing stock that is not more of a burden on the environment. “We need to align resources with policies,” he said. Wolf similarly urged local leaders to think outside the box for the solutions, such as easing height restrictions on buildings so more units can be placed on smaller land footprints. “We are the canary in the coal mine on housing and climate,” he warned.
Their message was bold, and absolutely on point about the need for immediate action on climate, particularly given the increasing severity of impacts on our region.
Massachusetts Housing & Climate Innovation Center Launched
To facilitate innovative climate and housing solutions, Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative Board Member Rob Brennan announced the creation of the Massachusetts Housing & Climate Innovation Center as a non-profit entity focusing on “leveraging innovation to create Resilient, Net Zero and Affordable Housing.” The Center aims to achieve its mission by providing local incubator space and a surrounding ecosystem to work on understanding and addressing the local, regional, national and global challenges at the intersection of attainable housing and climate change. The Center will also promote and support advances in more affordable and climate resilient housing; and create a bridge of collaboration toward achieving net zero goals through the use of innovative and sustainable materials, products, technologies and models in the development, construction and renovation of housing. The Climate Collaborative is proud to serve as fiscal sponsor for the Housing and Climate Innovation Center. Learn more about the Center by visiting its website at MassHCIC.org.
Dorothy A. Savarese, President of the Climate Collaborative Board of Directors, Honored with One Cape Award
On day two of the summit, Dorothy A. Savarese was awarded the prestigious One Cape Award for Outstanding Leadership and Dedication to Cape Cod. Dan Wolf gave remarks on Dorothy’s decades of service to the community. Dorothy was unable to attend in person due to unforeseen circumstances and will provide remarks at next year’s Summit.