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Help Wellesley Police Raise Money For Community Bike Maintenance Station & Tire Pump!

The Wellesley Police Department and Sustainable Wellesley are teaming up to raise money for a community bike maintenance station and tire pump, in an effort to make Wellesley even more bicycle friendly. A permanent community bike maintenance station and tire pump will encourage bicycle safety and reduce traffic, and ensure that everyone has access to the tools they need to maintain their bikes. The Wellesley Police Department, lauded state-wide for their pedestrian and bicycle safety education work, has offered an easily accessible spot outside the police station. This will create a gathering space for repair classes, bicycle safety classes, bicycle rides, and more. “The bicycle maintenance and tire repair station will make Wellesley even more welcoming for bicyclists of all ages and abilities,” said Wellesley Police Chief Pilecki. “With this station, the public will have free access to the most commonly used bike repair tools,” Pilecki said. “Our community is a wonderful place to walk and bike,” said Quentin Prideaux, President of Sustainable Wellesley. “Many trips in town are less than a mile or two and as fast, if not faster, by bike. To see an example of the station, please click here,” Prideaux said. Donations can be made on the Sustainable Wellesley’s website, Facebook page, or by check — made payable to Sustainable Wellesley and sent to 5 Hilltop Road, Wellesley, MA 02482.  Click here to donate and help reach the $2000 goal.  Sustainable Wellesley is a 501c3 non-profit. Donations are tax-deductible and eligible for work-match funding.

CALLING ALL OCEAN – HUGGERS!

Thank you Susan Z for this inspiration! FIRST: What does the ocean mean to your kids?  Ask them: whales, starfish, mermaids, underwater volcanoes, mysterious deep water creatures, scuba diving, sailing, swimming, sandcastles, tide pools, haunted shipwrecks… NOW, WATCH THIS: The ocean means so much to the world, beyond the beauty and mystery, but it desperately needs preservation.  Did you know that the equivalent of one giant truckload of trash (mostly plastics) is dumped into the ocean EVERY MINUTE?  For this reason, from the Arctic to Zanzibar, millions of people will be celebrating World Oceans Day, this week.  Your children (and you) can get involved by checking out the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory who collaborate with the Youth 4 the Oceans network.  Nearby, the New England Aquarium will offer a brilliant festival, while on Cape Cod, the Ocean Protection Advocacy Kids, will host “One Ocean, One Cape Cod” screening of Sonic Sea.  Elsewhere, your kids can look into someday participating with the Sea Youth Rise Up group.   For inspiring reads, check out I Can Save the Ocean!,  Follow the Moon Home,  Oil Spill!, and The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean (younger kids) and At Home in the Coral Reef,  Why Are the Ice Caps Melting? , One Well, The Story of Water on Earth,  Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea,  The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea,  How to Speak Dolphin,  Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans, and lastly, Song for a Whale, among many others.  Of course, any of David Attenborough’s visually-stunning and educational videos about world waters are sure to be a hooting success for any child — or adult!   The best thing of all, however, is the 5minutebeachcleanup — can your kids take a BEFORE pic and an AFTER pic of your 5 minute beach clean up this summer?  Post it!  And thank your kids!

Intern’s Plan For Town Waste Reduction Efforts

After being involved with a residential composting program at university, rising sophomore Emma Goldenthal found herself excited to contribute to similar efforts over summer break. She reached out to Sustainable Wellesley in May, with the hope of finding volunteer work and learning more about the town’s environmental efforts. Energized by the organization’s grassroots nature, she has since jumped into creating a program to help restaurants in town reduce landfill-bound waste, decrease their resource and carbon footprints, and promote sustainable values within the community. Targeting categories such as food waste, community influence, and energy use, her proposal outlines dozens of environmentally-minded steps that food establishments can pick and choose from. Ultimately, the aims of this program are to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability, formalize a procedure by which local restaurants will reduce their environmental impact, and motivate other businesses, individuals, and communities to do the same. With a framework now in place, the next phase of the project will be to begin working with a few pilot restaurants — so keep an eye out for updates! Let us know if you want to jump in and help on this project by emailing info@sustainablewellesley.com.

Wellesley Public Schools Honored as a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee

Wellesley Public Schools (WPS) is receiving national recognition for its sustainability efforts and has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2019 Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee. WPS is one of only 14 school districts in the country to receive this honor. The District Sustainability Award recognizes the innovative efforts developed by WPS to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and deliver effective environmental and sustainability education. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states. In early May, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded WPS with a Massachusetts Green Ribbon Schools award and then entered WPS into the pool of candidates for the U.S. Department of Education’s award. “We’re extremely honored to receive this national attention,” said Dr. David Lussier, WPS Superintendent. “Promoting sustainability is a priority in our schools and our community. This recognition validates all the hard work and effort that many people across Wellesley—Town departments, students, faculty, parents, and local nonprofits—put into making the town greener.” Some of the energy saving measures adopted by WPS include working to identify and improve the least energy efficient buildings, adopting recycling and food waste diversion programs that encourage behavior to save energy, and developing no idling campaigns and walk/ride to school days to promote alternative means of transportation. To improve health and wellness, the Town of Wellesley’s Facilities Management Department (FMD) began using “green certified” cleaning products in 2017. Buildings are maintained with an ionized water system (Orbio os3), which uses tap water in almost all cleaning applications and is the cleaning system available with the least carbon footprint, eliminating harsh chemicals and associated off-gassing. And Wellesley educators have added thoughtful, strategic curricula across the district. Middle school students study earth science and have a global climate change unit as well as an interdisciplinary hydroponic gardening option. Wellesley High School offers an AP Environmental Science course and every other year, the community hosts a STEM Expo (a hands-on science, technology, engineering and math exposition) for students and families. The District Sustainability Award will be formally presented to WPS during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 2019. In addition to Wellesley Public Schools, Boston Green Academy in Brighton, MA, and Ipswich Middle- High School in Ipswich, MA, are the other two schools in the Commonwealth to receive the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award.

The State-Wide Bag Ban Bill Needs Your Help!

Wellesley Town Meeting passed a bylaw restricting plastic bags back in 2016 — now 121 cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed plastic bag regulations! We need a state law that will help reduce plastic pollution even more and create consistent regulations for retailers across the state. State Rep. Lori Ehrlich and State Senator Jamie Eldridge have proposed a strong bill (H.771/S.462) but lobbyists are trying to weaken it by removing a fee for paper bags, barring cities and towns from passing stronger bans in the future, and allowing many stores to continue to pass out plastic bags. All these changes would damage our efforts to reduce plastic waste and we can’t let that happen. The ocean is filling with plastic every day! Sustainable Wellesley is joining the Conservation Law Foundation in asking you to contact Wellesley legislators: Rep. Alice Peisch: Please thank Rep. Peisch for co-sponsoring H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill. State Sen. Cynthia Creem: Please ask Sen. Creem to support H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill. State Sen. Becca Rausch (representing Wellesley precincts B,F,G): Please thank Sen. Rausch for co-sponsoring H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill. Here are some talking points: Wellesley Town Meeting strongly approved the town bag bylaw and the bylaw has been successfully implemented for the past several years. Plastic bags are consistently among the top six most common items found in cleanups. They’re dangerous to wildlife and can break down into micro plastics that end up in our drinking water, threatening our own health. Plastic bags contaminate our recycling and jam up machinery, increasing costs to towns. More than 100 Massachusetts cities and towns, from Pittsfield to Boston, have already passed bag bans and this bill would help reduce plastic pollution throughout our state. A $0.10 fee on paper bags would encourage people to switch to reusable bags, which are the best option for the environment. Towns are prohibited from levying a fee on paper bags so a state law is the only way for that to happen. Thanks for taking action to reduce plastic waste!

2019 Climate & Energy Advocacy Training – Register Today

2019 Climate & Energy Advocacy Training Thursday, June 13, 7 pm to 9 pm at Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley  Register Here Please join us at the upcoming 2019 Climate and Energy Advocacy Training, presented by the Massachusetts Sierra Club and Mass Power Forward Coalition.  This training will provide a valuable update on clean energy, climate, and environmental justice priorities for this legislative session and share action steps and tools you can use to help move these priorities forward. You’ll hear from Sierra Club trainers and local environmental leaders. This training will: outline key legislation to expand renewable energy and reduce climate pollution in Massachusetts explain why equity and environmental justice matter and how they are central to the Mass Power Forward Coalition’s climate agenda share action steps you can take and tools to prepare you to engage effectively with state and local officials answer your questions about the clean energy landscape in our state. Join us for this informative evening and let’s come together to make real progress on a just clean energy transition in our communities and across Massachusetts.  No prior experience required! Registration requested.  Please use this Sign-Up link. Co-sponsors include First Parish in Needham UU Green Congregation Committee, Green Needham Collaborative, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action, Jewish Climate Action Network, Sustainable Wellesley, Temple Beth Elohim Green Team, Temple Beth Shalom, UU Wellesley Hills, and Wellesley Village Church.

All That {renewable} Energy Got Us the Chairman’s Award at the Parade!

Thank you to all that braved the weather and came out to march with us in the parade last week. Additional thanks to those that cheered us on along the parade route. The renewable energy theme drew in more marchers and louder cheers than before, meaning this is a “hot” topic. The float and enthusiasm even won us the Chairman’s Award at this year’s Annual Wellesley Veteran’s Parade. Congrats to all. We are grateful to Laurel for organizing us, the Bender Family for building the float, the Wellesley High School Sailing Team for combining forces and the Wellesley Wonderful Weekend Parade organizers. There is a great deal of environmental enthusiasm in town. Simply, email info@SustainableWellesley.com to learn how you can get involved.

Eliminating Unhealthy Chemicals In Your Home

The documentary Stink! that was shown last week got us thinking about how we can eliminate chemicals in our homes.  Today, we live in a technological synthetic society. We are surrounded by chemicals everywhere, many of which are not good for the health of humans, animals or the environment. The folks at Naturepedic Organic Mattress Gallery here in town shared some of the following information about toxins in our homes. The home can be particularly harmful as far as chemical exposure is concerned. Our homes are sealed environments which amplifies exposures to any chemicals present. We spend so much time living, eating, and sleeping in our homes. Controlling what we bring into our homes is the best way to make our home a safer healthier environment. The home contains all kinds of chemical substances that are mixed into consumer products during the manufacturing process. Examples of these chemicals are: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) VOCs are found in furniture, couches, mattresses, plastics, building materials, carpeting, cosmetics, shampoos, paints, and more VOC exposure has been associated with cancer, birth defects, respiratory irritation, headaches and more Flame Retardant Chemicals (FRs) FRs are found in almost all consumer products including clothing, furniture, mattresses, plastics, memory foams, toys and more FR exposure has been associated with cancer, reproductive & development damage, thyroid disfunction and more Per-fluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) PFCs are waterproofing and stain-resistance agents. They are found in many consumer products including mattresses, carpeting, clothing, furniture fabrics and more PFC exposure has been associated with reduced immune system function, multiple organ damage, developmental problems and more Phthalates Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics, such as found in vinyl mattress covers, and as fragrances in cosmetics and cleaning products Phthalate exposure has been associated with reduced fertility, increased risk of breast cancer, allergies, asthma and more Lead Lead is a toxic heavy metal and found in a few cosmetics, paints, and textile products and more Lead exposure is associated with reproductive and developmental harm; muscle disorders; organ problems When purchasing consumer product to bring into your home, make sure that you are not bringing in toxic chemicals. To do this you need to educate yourself and make healthier choices as to which products and which brands you purchase. Every product group mentioned has a corresponding alternative available from companies that strive to reduce and/or eliminate toxic chemicals in their products.  There are MANY suggestions that came from the Stink! film — click here — such as when buying skin care products (skin being our largest organ), try the Environmental Working Group’s useful Skin Guide or their household cleaning guide here. Many products on the market use terms like “organic” or “non-toxic” or “eco-friendly” or “natural” to advertise their products. More often than not, these words are unsubstantiated claims. The only way to know is to check the validity of the claim through objective sources, i.e. certifications and lab testing proof. Feel free to email us at info@SustainableWellesley.com with your thoughts on this topic and suggestions on reducing toxins in your home.  

Students Work To Stop Single Use Plastic At Wellesley High School

Article written by: Miles Olivetti, Junior at Wellesley High School and a member of the Evolutions Program Wellesley High School’s Evolutions students work on different community-based partnership projects, aimed at solving problems facing our community. This year, my team, including teacher Mindy Hoge, dedicated ourselves to stopping the use of single-use water bottles at Wellesley High School (WHS). We met with Sustainable Wellesley and Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission to get a pulse on what was happening in our community. Research we conducted showed that at WHS alone, hundreds of water bottles are thrown away daily.  This was due to lack of education, concern and habit. We wanted to educate students and thus create an understanding community that takes action. To do so, we collected 288 plastic bottles thrown away at WHS during 3 lunch periods and turned them into an eye-catching, provocative monumental sculpture shaped in a giant ‘W’: representing Wellesley Raiders and water (drinking/oceans). This sculpture hopefully will have a lasting effect on students who saw it, showcasing a percentage of plastic we buy and discard daily. In addition, we created infographics highlighting the pollution that plastic water bottles create in our oceans, as well as a survey about why people buy plastic water bottles. This survey showed that almost 65% of students would support a future single use water bottle ban. Our final initiative was a “raffle”. The only requirement to enter was to show your reusable water bottle.  We advertised the initiative and it was very popular. We gave out multiple gift cards thanks to generous local businesses. We witnessed a significant increase in people bringing in and using reusable water bottles, meeting our goal of showing people how easy and important it is to bring one to school every day. Educating our peers to think and act differently was impactful. We hope single use plastic reduction will continue in and around WHS.

What Is In Your Families’ Cosmetics, Clothes, Cleaning and Lawn Care Products? You Want To Know

Thank you to all who attended the Sustainable Wellesley and Wellesley Natural Resources Commission documentary screening of Stink!. We packed the Wakelin Room with approximately 70 attendees in honor of Rachel Carson Day on May 27th. That’s a lot more people who are now aware of the fragrance loophole and lack of regulation of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals in our everyday products!  Vote your values! As helpful as it is to know how to buy safer products personally, sweeping change happens when busy consumers don’t need to do their homework because of protective legislation. If the film resonated with you, consider making chemical regulations and transparency part of your voting agenda. Below are some resources to help simplify the process of making safer consumer choices. Because kids should be worried about what’s on their pancakes, not what’s in their pajamas! Resources:  Apps for the phone:  Silent Springs Institute App, Detox Me: https://silentspring.org/detoxme/ Environmental Working Group App, Healthy Living: https://www.ewg.org/apps/ Textiles:  Oeko-Tex certification: https://www.oeko-tex.com/en/consumer/consumers_home/consumers_home.xhtml Avoid flame retardants, look for pajamas that say “wear snug fitting, doesn’t contain flame retardant” Tip: Google “oeko-tex certified _____” to find products, you’ll often discover brands and companies that way for everything from sheets to shirts Cosmetics:  The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: http://www.safecosmetics.org/ Household cleaners:  The Environmental Working Group Guide to Healthy Cleaners: https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners 12 Homemade Cleaning Products that work from HuffPost (careful with vinegar on porous surfaces like marble):  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/12-homemade-cleaning-products-that-really-really-work_n_57853926e4b0e05f0523a9db Books like Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson have recipes for making homemade cleaners, and the Wellesley Free Library has titles like Green Housekeeping by Christina Strutt and Natural Solutions for Cleaning & Wellness by Hallie Cottis. Someone asked specifically about dishwasher pacs – I use this powder in my dishwasher, but there are dishwasher pods & pouches listed in the EWG guide as well.  Sunscreen: Look for sunscreens labeled “reef safe” and avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate in particular EWG Sunscreen Guide:  https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/ Lawn Care: Video about Healthy Yards in Wellesley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xztcmcjH_f0&feature=youtu.be Organic Landscapers that Service Wellesley: http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/organic-landscapers-servicing-wellesley/ Letter from the Wellesley Board of Health and NRC about toxic lawn chemicals: https://wellesleyma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14672/Joint-Letter-from-the-Board-of-Health-and-NRC-about-Pesticides-in-Wellesley-2019pdf Reading Labels:  EWG guide to label decoding: https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/decoding_labels Stink! documentary resources page: https://stinkmovie.com/take-action/ Silent Spring Institute: https://silentspring.org/ Sustainable Wellesley: www.sustainablewellesley.com Wellesley Natural Resources Commission: https://wellesleyma.gov/418/Natural-Resources-Commission-NRC Audience suggestions: Consider googling soap nuts (soap berries) for laundry – some attendees have had great success, one person recommended ones originating from Nepal When speaking to people to encourage environmental change, using language like “Would you consider…” is less likely to put them on the defensive. A great tip for initiating respectful conversations! Additional questions: Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me if you’re having difficulty finding a product replacement or have questions. I’m not an expert, but I am an enthusiast who has found a lot of resources who are experts. I am happy to point you in the right direction or dive into the problem solving with you to find a solution that works. kelly.caiazzo@gmail.com There’s also a local Facebook group where people swap resources and problem solve together to find more environmental solutions for living: Sustainable Living Wellesley Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/372633353537543/ Thank you so much to everyone who attended! Jon Whelan, the film’s narrator and director, responded personally to our request for a non-profit screening license to show the film. I was able to send him the photo below from the event thanking him for the license and let him know how many attendees we had. Given how personal the film was for him after losing his wife to cancer, it was meaningful to me to share with him how many of you showed up to hear his message. Thank you.   Special Thanks to Raina McManus of the NRC for presenting, Dr. Michael McManus (Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry) for fielding the Q&A, and Sustainable Wellesley volunteers Ellie Perkins and Janie Penn.   Preview YouTube video Healthy Yards in Wellesley Healthy Yards in Wellesley

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