Latest Stories

Department of Education Awards “Green Ribbon Schools” to Wellesley Public Schools

Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley announced that Wellesley Public Schools was selected as a 2019 Green Ribbon School along with The Boston Green Academy Horace Mann Charter School in Boston, and the Ipswich Middle-High School in Ipswich. Wellesley was chosen for excellence in reducing environmental impact, delivering environmental education programming, and improving the health and wellness of all members of the WPS community. These honorees will now be sent to the U.S. Dept. of Education for consideration as National Green Ribbon Schools. Launched by the U.S. Department of Education in 2011, the Green Ribbon Schools recognition program honors schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and delivering effective environmental and sustainability education that incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways. Each year, Massachusetts selects one or more schools or districts to honor at the state level; those honorees are then elevated to the U.S. Department of Education where they will have the opportunity to be honored as a national Green Ribbon School/District. Congratulations to the entire WPS community!

WHAT?? Imagine Filling Fenway Park With Trash 30 Times In A Year! That’s the projected exported #s for MA by 2025! 

“We have a ‘waste’ problem,” said Jeff Azano-Brown, RDF Superintendent at a recent presentation in Wellesley. If you missed it, watch it here thanks to Wellesley Media. The good new is that the current crisis in recycling gives us the opportunity to take a look at how we handle waste. The United States generates 30% of the world’s waste and only comprises 4% of the world’s population. Massachusetts is projected to export 40% of our trash out of state by 2025.  That’s enough trash to fill Fenway Park 30 times per year. We need to clean up our recycling and reduce our waste. Wellesley has several programs to assist in this effort and the RDF is one of them. The food waste program at the RDF is a new initiative to increase recycling and is now open to all residents.  To learn more about the program click here or call 781-235-7600 extension 3345. Thanks to Wellesley’s League of Women Voters, the UU Church in Wellesley for sponsoring this event.

By Popular Demand…The Dinner & Documentary Series is BACK!

It’s back! Sustainable Wellesley’s popular dinner & documentary evenings at the Wellesley Free Library are returning on April 9th, 2019 and May 21st 2019. Join Sustainable Wellesley for Dinner and a Movie! Movie nights will take place in the Wakelin Room at the Wellesley Free Library and are free and open to the public, with dinner served! Registration Required. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and screenings start at 6:45 p.m. Following each film will be a 5-10 minute presentation of resources related to the documentary topic. Tuesday, April 9th, Before The Flood a film about possible solutions to the dangers of climate change. RSVP for April 9th. Tuesday, May 21st, Stink! a film about carcinogenic chemicals in everyday products and how to make better choices.  RSVP for May 21st. This event is gratefully co-sponsored by the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission.

Be Proud of Your Toxic Free Lawn

Be proud that your lawn isn’t treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission is offering, as part of it continued Grow Green Wellesley Campaign, these free lawn signs to highlight your healthy lawn this spring. They will even come install it for you. Email them for more information. Want an organic lawn and looking for assistance? Try giving some of these organic landscapers a call.

Local Environmental Action Conference

Mass Climate Action Network’s annual Local Environmental Action conference this year will be on Saturday, April 27th in Worcester, MA. Registration is open! Register today to reserve your spot. For the past 32 years, they have brought hundreds of community leaders and activists together for a day of learning and skill sharing. This is the biggest gathering of environmental and public health activists in our region, and you don’t want to miss it. What: Local Environmental Action 2019 When: Saturday, April 27 Where: Worcester State University, 486 Chandler Street, Worcester, MA RSVP: http://www.localenvironmentalaction.org/ We need to make change to win a healthy, sustainable future, and that requires a powerful movement. Join in on April 27th to get trained in organizing skills, connected with other activists, and get ready and inspired to make climate solutions happen in our community. Make time for the Local Environmental Action Event to get trained and ready to fight for the future you want to see. Register today. The Toxics Action Center is also a proud sponsor hosting this full day of inspiring speakers, powerful workshops, and networking with other activists.

What Is In Your Wine?

Many of us care about the what we eat and how our food is sourced, but have you considered what is in your wine? Wellesley resident, mom, chef and the friendly face at the Wellesley Farmers’ Market pick up spot for Farmers’ to You, Janine Malone wondered the same. After doing some research, she learned and loved the idea of drinking clean-crafted wine that is organic or biodynamic, vegan and bottled consciously, with no chemicals or added sugar.  She now sells a variety of these wines, all from small family vineyards that hand picked their grapes. Contact her for more information. These are the wines folks have tasted at two recent Sustainable Wellesley events – Taste the Future; and Conversation with The Candidates and Community Dinner. Cheers

Here They Are… Candidates’ Thoughts on Issues You Care About

                                                  If you missed the Conversations with the Candidates and Community Dinner on Sunday, don’t worry. We have you covered. {You did miss a fun and enlightening evening though} Click on the Board name below to read the thoughtful responses most candidates offered to Sustainable Wellesley’s questions. Since many of the races are contested, knowing what the candidates value will help you when you go to vote. After reading them, share your thoughts with family, friends and neighbors. **Make sure you have time on your calendar on Tuesday, March 5th to vote or get an absentee ballot from Town Hall. Absentee requests may be filed up until noon the day prior, but if you require the ballot to be mailed out of Wellesley please allow sufficient time for mailing in both directions (generally allow 10 mailing days for a ballot to go out of Wellesley and be returned). Moderator Selectmen – contested Assessors Board of Health – contested Housing Authority Library Trustees  Natural Resources Commission – contested Planning Board –contested Dept. of Public Works Recreation Department – contested School Committee

In the Market For a New Oven? Taste The Future

Earlier this month a full house gathered for Sustainable Wellesley’s Taste the Future event at Jarvis Appliances where we sampled delicious food and clean wine, watched cooking demos on an induction stove, and learned more about the ways to move off of dangerous gas appliances. Huge thanks to Wellesley Public Media for covering the event. For those that missed it or want to learn more, watch it here. Zeyneb Magavi and Audrey Schulman of HEET shared ways to transition to clean energy. Their eye opening presentation about the dangers of gas was coupled with opportunities EVERYONE can do to make a healthy change for the future. We are very grateful to Wellesley’s finest at Jarvis Appliances, Chef Kurt and Janine Malone for making it a FUN evening. Chef Kurt created a delicious meal — you can see him using and explaining induction stoves at his You Tube Channel here. Plus, we had the opportunity to sample Scout & Cellar’s clean crafted, hand picked, small family vineyard wines. Not only were they delicious but organic and biodynamic, vegan and bottled consciously, no chemicals or added sugar. Click here for more information on getting your hands on some.

Wellesley Students – Get Creative for Sustainability!

The STEM EXPO’s Sustainability Challenge is back. Get ready Wellesley students! Submit your project promoting a local resource, policy or behavior change that makes Wellesley greener. These can be in the form of an advertisement, op-ed or essay, video commercial, infographic, poem, music or another form of audio/visual artwork. Convince your audience that it’s a great way for them to help the environment! Entry Criteria: Submissions are welcome from K-12 students who are residents of Wellesley and/or enrolled in the Wellesley Public Schools Deadline to enter is Friday, March 15, 2019 Entries must be entirely original content (no clips from movies or other videos) Videos must be shorter than 3 minutes, essays must be fewer than 500 words, and infographics or advertisements must be legible on a single 8.5×11 page Entry must explain the problem that you are proposing to solve, and how promoting a current local resource, policy change, or behavior change will make Wellesley greener.  The entry must provide a convincing argument for the positive impact this resource or activity can make. Entries may be submitted by an individual, or a team of up to 3 students Entries must include appropriate citation Entry Submissions: Submit your entry here Entries to be uploaded on the WEF website must be less than 100mb Submitting your entry authorizes [Wellesley Green Schools, etc.] to post either the submission, or a photo thereof, on display in public arenas in the township – including but not limited to public libraries, school display cabinets, or on the STEM Expo website. Winning entries for Elementary, Middle and High School levels will be selected by Wellesley Green Schools Winners will be recognized at the Wellesley STEM Expo on April 6, 2019 and receive a VIP tour of a featured exhibit, and have their project published in town newspapers by the Wellesley Education Foundation Questions that Projects Should Answer and Topic Ideas Questions to Answer: What environmental problems does this organization/resource/behavior change help solve? Provide data or examples of how the environment is negatively impacted by this problem. What is the positive impact of your topic? How does it help solve the problem? Be as specific and concrete as possible. What can Wellesley residents do to help or how can they participate? Convince them this resource deserves their support or participation! ​Resources: The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator: https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator The EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/household-carbon-footprint-calculator ​ The Water Footprint Calculator: https://www.watercalculator.org ​ The Footprint Network: https://www.footprintnetwork.org/ ​ Remember to cite your sources when you’re providing specific data! We’ll accept any style citation, provided it’s clear where data in your project came from. Topic Ideas: Here are some ideas to get you started! Reuse: How can buying second-hand clothing reduce our environmental footprint? Create an ad for Shopper’s Corner, the Second Hand Store at Schofield: https://www.facebook.com/schofieldshopperscorner/ Or, create an ad for another reusability resource in town, such as the Wellesley Free Library (https://www.wellesleyfreelibrary.org/) or the Wellesley RDF reusables area (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhLOHGydhUM) Gas Leaks: After explosions in our state and general unhealthy aspects of gas coming into the state and into our homes, Wellesley’s NRC is concerned about gas leaks. Could you make Wellesley residents aware of this problem and to encourage national grid to fix them? Wellesley Gas Leaks: https://www.wellesleyma.gov/449/Gas-Leaks ​ Reduce Plastic Waste: Reduce waste – use less plastic.  China is refusing more and more recycling, explain the plastic problem and provide some ideas and solutions for reducing plastic consumption in our town. What else can we do besides #SkipTheStrawWellesley:http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/skipthestrawwellesley/? ​ Transportation: What are some options in town for reducing our reliance on single-occupancy vehicles? (Commuter rail, school buses, town bus, MBTA or carpool, walking, biking, etc.) Create an ad explaining the impact of transportation and providing some solutions. Or, create an ad explaining the effects of idling and encouraging people not to idle:http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/no-idling/ ​ Environmental Food Choices: How can making some easy switches with what we eat and how we dispose of leftovers add up to a positive impact for our planet? Meatless Mondays: https://www.meatlessmonday.com/ , Wellesley Public School’s Food Recovery: https://wellesleyma.gov/1127/School-Recycling-and-Food-Recovery The Wellesley RDF Food Waste Drop-Off Program:https://www.wellesleyma.gov/899/Food-Waste-Program or why to buy local food from The Wellesley Farmer’s Market:https://www.wellesleyfarmersmarket.com/, Shrink your food footprint: http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/shrink-your-food-footprint ​ Protect our Pollinators: What we plant and the type of chemicals we use on our lawns and gardens has a real impact on our eco system. What happens to the lawn chemicals we use? How can we support pollinators in our community? Resources: Safer Lawns Initiative: Pledge to Be Pesticide Free – http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/pledge-to-be-pesticide-free/ and Sustainable Wellesley’s Milkweed for Monarchs: http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/milkweed-for-monarchs/ ​ Energy at Home: What are some ways to conserve our energy or get it from a more sustainable source? Resources: Wellesley’s Power to Choose Program: https://www.wellesleyma.gov/261/Voluntary-Renewable-Energy, Get a Mass-Save Home Energy Assessment:  https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/energy-assessments/homeowners/, Solar Panels: ​ Protect our Resources: Did you know that we have groups in Wellesley that work together to protect our waterways from litter, chemical runoff, etc? Explain what they do, why it’s important, and how residents can help. The Wetlands Protection Committee: http://ma-wellesley.civicplus.com/421/Wetlands-Protection-Committee, Friends of Brookside: http://friendsofbrookside.org/ Sample sustainability submission (credit Stella Glassenberg of Wellesley, MA) ​ Citations: http://darksky.org/light-pollution/ https://www.globeatnight.org/light-pollution.php https://newrepublic.com/article/120624/nasa-photos-show-light-pollution-us-during-christmas-holidays www.wellesleyma.gov/914/Smart-Outdoor-Lighting ​   Judging Criteria: ​ Submissions will be scored on a scale from 1-5, based on the following criteria: How well does the project explain the problem and its environmental impact, using data / examples? How well does the project provide a specific solution to the problem, with data or examples on how this organization/behavior/resource makes a positive impact? How compelling, convincing and creative is the project? Are sources cited, does the project meet length requirements, and does it have correct grammar and data? A winner will be selected by panelists from Wellesley Green Schools from each school level (Elementary (K-5), Middle (6-8) and High (9-12)). ​

Something You CAN Do About Plastic – Call Your Rep!

A message from Mass Green Network to  Massachusetts legislator have only two more days to co-sponsor the statewide bag bill. Please consider calling your Representative right now asking them to sign on as a co-sponsor of an Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution (HD.134). To find your Representative, click here. Four years ago there were only seven municipalities in the State with a local bag laws. Today there are over 90, including Boston, Cambridge, Lowell, Framingham, and Burlington. More than 1 in 3 Massachusetts residents lives in a city or town with a bag law. And more are coming: Worcester, Springfield, and Pittsfield are among the cities working on ordinances right now. The people of Massachusetts will value legislative leadership on this issue. It is good for business. The current patchwork of local regulation creates great difficulties for major retailers, and needless anxiety for small business owners. They will be well served by a uniform statewide law. Reducing bag use will also result in substantial savings. With no bag laws, retailers in Massachusetts would spend over $145.7 million per year on plastic bags alone, and even more on paper bags. Would reduce municipal expenditure. Each month, Massachusetts produces between 100 and 125 tons of bag waste. Plastic bags get caught in our single-stream recycling machinery, causing delay and damage, and contaminating materials that might be recovered. Studies have concluded that the annual costs to cities and towns to subsidize litter management and debris reduction amounts to as much as $10.71 per resident. And this does not account for the indirect costs – the loss to tourism and to the fishing industry. Reducing bags will be a boon for taxpayers. A fee for paper bags will help business owners and the poor, not harm them. Paper bags are much more expensive than plastic bags. Without a fee, laws typically reduce bag waste by 60 to 80%. With a modest fee, bag laws reduce both plastic and paper by more than 90%. This reduces the overhead for businesses. The savings get passed on to consumers. The cost of disposable bags for a family of five is about $100 per year. In contrast, ten reusable supermarket tote bags costs $10, and they last a long time indeed. Remember, bags are not free – their costs are just hidden. U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley agrees: bag laws protect our most vulnerable populations. A statewide bag law will help reduce global warming. The production, distribution, and disposal of shopping bags used in Massachusetts produces over 97,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. The debris from plastic bags in our oceans disrupt the natural processes that generate oxygen and regulate the climate. Bag laws have more subtle effects too. They encourage consumers to be more thoughtful about their choices. A statewide bag law is the simplest, cheapest, and most effective way to involve ordinary citizens in the solution to the most urgent environmental crisis of our time. Don’t delay — call today! -Brad Verter Founder, Mass Green Network

3 Things You Can Do

Go pesticide free!

Take the pledge not to poison your yard, and put your pin on the map of pesticide-free homes HERE

Get clean electricity!

Wellesley residents can get clean, renewable electricity through our Municipal Light Plant with the same great service. Find out how HERE

Find and fix gas leaks!

There are over 200 ‘natural gas’ leaks all over Wellesley. Find where the nearest leaks to you are and what you can do about them HERE