Latest Stories

TOMORROW: Join The Climate Strike In Wellesley

TOMORROW- Friday Sept. 20th YOU ARE INVITED! TOMORROW —  Friday, September 20th — join millions of people worldwide who will be taking part in global climate strikes to demand politicians start treating the climate crisis like the emergency it is. Locally, Wellesley College students are inviting the Wellesley community to join them for a climate protest. 3:00pm – March from Wellesley College (meet at 3pm at the Chapel Lawn) 3.30pm – Rally at Wellesley’s Town Hall -Feel free to march or meet them at the Town Hall. There will be music, poetry slams, artwork and more. Mark your calendars, and ask family, friends, neighbors and work colleagues to join you. “We believe that there is hope for change, but that it will not come without our immediate action,” said representatives of Wellesley College EnAct (the College’s Environmental Action Organization). “Through our local strike, we are demanding this action from our international, national, and local leaders. We want this strike to provide an opportunity for us to connect as a community and work towards climate justice together,” EnAct said.   “This shouldn’t be just the children’s responsibility,” Greta Thunberg, 16 year old Swedish student, raising global awareness of the risks posed by climate change. “Now, the adults also need to help us. We are calling for them to strike from their work, we need everyone. There is nothing we can’t do, if not you, then who else, if not now, then when?” Thunberg said.

Environmental Justice Training Coming Up! Sign Up Today.

Wondering how environmental justice plays a key role in achieving a clean energy future in our commonwealth, and how you can engage with state legislators to create the change we need? Come to Mass Power Forward’s Legislative Training: Taking Action for Environmental Justice on Thursday, Sept 26, from 7 to 9 pm (refreshments start at 6:30 pm) at the UU Wellesley (309 Washington St, Wellesley 02481). Click here to sign up! This training features leaders of the statewide Mass Power Forward climate coalition Laura Wagner of UU Mass Action and Claire Müller of Toxics Action Center. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Climate Action Network, Wellesley Village Church Environmental Ministry and Sustainable Wellesley. Click here to sign up! The agenda will feature: Brief introduction to the Mass Power Forward coalition Grounding in what environmental justice means and how it is central to the Mass Power Forward legislative agenda Overview and update of current energy legislation and strategy, and how it’s looking Planning our next steps! Facebook link is here.

Repair Café Returns to Wellesley

The Rotary Club of Wellesley is holding its seventh Repair Café at the Wellesley Recreation Center on October 5th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. At past Café’s, coaches and attendees repaired several lamps, chairs, dish rack, clock hands, two vacuums, copper water can handle, two kitchen aid mixers, sharpened knives, and removed a frozen door handle. The Wellesley Library will set up a “mobile library station” with lots of DIY and “fix it” books. Bring your tired and broken items to the Café! Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). At the Café, attendees found tools, materials to make most repairs, and volunteer coaches ready to help fix broken items. It teaches people to see their possessions in a new light and, once again, to appreciate their value. The Repair Café helps change people’s mindset. This is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society. Most of all, the Repair Café wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is. Why don’t you give it a go? To register, go the Rotary web site www.wellesleyrotary.org The Rotary Club of Wellesley is one of Wellesley’s oldest community service groups and conducts local programs to benefit the Town of Wellesley. Please check the web site www.wellesleyrotary.org for times and location. The public is always invited to any Rotary program. Please make a reservation on our web site’s calendar or call 781-591-0759 to speak with one of our board members.

Beneficial Electrification Through Electric Vehicles

With transportation as Wellesley’s #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions, the featured topic at the next Green Collaborative meeting will be: Beneficial Electrification Through Electric Vehicles. All are encouraged to join the Green Collaborative Meeting on Thursday, October 24th, from 9 to 11 am in the Wakelin Room of Wellesley Free Library. Guest speakers include Anna Vanderspek and Benjamin Hartford. Anna Vanderspek is the Electric Vehicle Program Director of the Green Energy Consumer Alliance. She will be discussing the non-profit’s “Drive Green” program. Learn more about an electric vehicle discount program and ways to educate consumers interested in vehicle electrification. Benjamin Hartford is the National Accounts Sales Representative of XL Fleet. XL Fleet is a local company that provides electrification solutions for Class 2-6 commercial and municipal vehicles. XL equipment improves vehicle fuel efficiency by 20% to 50%.  Thousands of vehicles with XL technology have driven nearly 100 million cumulative miles.  These vehicles have saved over 1 million gallons of fuel and eliminated over 13,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Come to Sustainable Wellesley’s Next Action Meeting Sunday, September 15th 2:00 -3:30pm at the Village Church

Concerned About Your Family’s Health? Want to Make A Difference In Your Community and Meet New People? Wellesley residents are encouraged to come to the next Sustainable Wellesley action meeting on Sunday, September 15th from 2:00-3:30pm. The meeting will be held in a new location — with handicap accessibility — the parlor at the Wellesley Congregational (“Village”) Church (2 Central St.).  There are many ways Wellesley residents of all ages can make a difference and feel like they are “doing something.” Learn about the many campaigns, projects, and opportunities there are for you to participate in, or bring your own ideas for  making a difference, both here in our community and as we work for environmental justice throughout the Commonwealth. No experience necessary; just come with you variety of talents, enthusiasm and knowledge.  Some of the items on the agenda include: Gas update: dangerous and costly gas main “blow-offs” and gas leaks  Sept. 20th Climate Strike  Solar and other renewable energy opportunities  Environmental justice Environmental Voters initiative Food recovery, composting & waste reduction Sustainable Fashion!  For more information, contact info@SustainableWellesley.com. To learn more about the not-for-profit organization, go to www.SustainableWellesley.com. Website update is in the works! Let us know if you want to help out on that too. Thank you to Wellesley Townsman editor, Cathy Brauner, for the handicap accessible meeting room suggestion.

Wellesley Family’s Labor of Love for the Monarchs

Beautiful Monarch butterflies that were once regular visitors to our yards are now in a world-wide decline. This is largely due to the wide use of pesticides and herbicides that poison the butterflies and their caterpillars, and to the reduction in milkweed plant numbers. Milkweed is the *only* plant that Monarch caterpillars can eat, so it’s presence is essential. Unfortunately, the clearing of roadside verges and more intensive development has greatly reduced this critical, native plant. Over the past five years Sustainable Wellesley has provided more than 800 milkweed plants to Wellesley residents so they can encourage Monarch butterflies in their own yards. Many have sent in photos of butterflies and caterpillars in their gardens.  Now Wellesley resident Jaden Crawford has taken it to the next level! Jaden wrote to Sustainable Wellesley lately letting us know that he has been germinating, propagating and growing milkweed and has some seeds to share if folks are interested in them. “They are prolific!,” he said. “Part of the trick to propagating from collected seed is collecting the seed pods once they turn brown and start splitting, but before the seeds go airborne. Remove them from the pods and store in a clean, dry container. Then make sure they spend some time in freezing temps and store them in a cool, dry place,” Jaden wrote.  He continued that, “Even though they are prolific, they are much easier to manage than other prolific plants like goldenrod (which we also grow-carefully) because they don’t have the same type of fast-running roots. So they are quite easy to pull at any stage of growth if they do turn up in beds where they aren’t wanted.” According to Jaden germination took a long time this year and the germination ratio was about 70%. WIth the thousands of seeds produced per plant this is a lot, but he still aims to beat it next season by letting the seeds freeze a bit – just as they do in nature. Beginning in late February, he uses a greenhouse (one that he built out of an old deck that he pulled up, glass primarily from the RDF, and a polycarbonate roof) and heat mats on timers when ambient temps are relatively low at night. He also keeps moisture fairly constant until they germinate. For folks without greenhouses, simple cold frames would work just as well. Jaden is happy to walk others through his process in person. Email info@sustainablewellesley.com to get connected to him. If you want to be a monarch watcher, or learn more about them, reach out to them here. Next month we will learn more about his family’s food, ornamental, and wildlife gardens.

We Are Concerned about Wellesley’s 2 Large Gas Releases in August

During August, Wellesley experienced not one, but two gas “blowdowns” during which gas was vented from an interstate pipeline that runs along the eastern edge of town.  What happened? On August 18th and 27th, Enbridge vented gas from roughly three and a half miles of its Algonquin pipeline into the atmosphere from its valve station near 68 Walnut Street in Wellesley and Quinobequin Road in Newton. This valve site has apparently been used for gas releases in the past, including last October. What is natural gas? The main component of natural gas is methane. Methane is a major contributor to climate change. It is about 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. It is also extremely flammable and is a harmful air pollutant. Natural gas contains other chemicals aside from methane, including respiratory toxins and cancer-causing compounds. How much gas was vented? Enbridge did not provide the Town with any information about how much gas was vented. However, Boston University Professor Nathan Phillips, Dr. Curt Nordgaard (a pediatrician and environmental health expert), and Bob Ackley (Gas Safety USA) collected methane readings during and after the blowdown using a car-mounted methane analyzer. They estimated that the volume of gas released during the first blowdown was equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of as many as 439 US cars.  The gas plume was detected on residential streets in Newton and Wellesley, and throughout the grounds of the Newton-Wellesley Hospital.  Why is Sustainable Wellesley concerned? Sustainable Wellesley is concerned about the impact of this blowdown on our local environment and on our neighbors in Wellesley because breathing air polluted with the components of natural gas is hazardous to human health. The organization is also concerned by Enbridge’s poor communication about this blowdown. The Town was notified of this event, but no Massachusetts state agency (to our knowledge) was informed or was otherwise made aware of the 2-week-long scheduled blowdown period.  According to emails from Enbridge to the City of Newton, the reason for the blowdown was to address “various anomalies” in the section of pipeline between Needham and Wellesley. There has been no further information as to the number and description of anomalies.   In light of this event, Sustainable Wellesley makes the following policy recommendations:  Transmission and distribution pipeline operators should be required to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Environmental Protection to notify sensitive populations about large gas blowdowns, using a minimum period of time (to be determined) in advance of scheduled gas releases exceeding a minimum threshold (to be determined). When appropriate, based on the quantity and pressure of gas expected to be released, Mass DPH should issue air quality alerts to municipalities expected to be affected by the releases. Municipalities should send push notifications to neighborhoods expected to be affected. Disclosure of pipeline anomalies must be made promptly to municipalities where the anomalies occurred, including the date, time, duration, and nature of the anomalies, and that information should be made publicly available. What can residents do? Call your legislators to discuss your concerns about this event. Rep. Alice Peisch Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov Phone: (617) 722-2070 Senator Becca Rausch Becca.Rausch@masenate.gov Phone: (617) 722-1555 Senator Cynthia Creem Cynthia.Creem@masenate.gov Phone: (617) 722-1639 

Thanks WHS Football Team!

Big thanks to the Wellesley High School Football players and coaches who took part in the first high school team town-wide clean up this past weekend. This event was so motivating that the team will start doing it annually and have challenged other teams to do it as well. Members of Wellesley Green Schools and Football Coach Jesse Davis last came together to create a meaningful community-service project to call attention to the increasing problem of single-use plastic pollution.  A team-building cleanup project was proposed and organized, with the NRC providing maps of areas in need of cleanup, as well as gloves, safety vests, and other supplies. “The Wellesley Football Team town-wide clean up not only beautified Wellesley’s public spaces, but also allowed the players to see first hand the amount of single use plastic around town. This started conversations on ways to reduce it,” said Coach Davis. “To encourage players to create less waste, the team purchased water bottles with their numbers on them for students to re-use,” Davis said. Thanks to the team’s hard work, residents noticed trash-free areas around the High School, Memorial Grove, Perrin Park, Ollie Turner Park, Ouellette Park, and Reeds Pond. “The coach encourages us to give back to the community since they support us on the field,” said Holt Fletcher, Wellesley High School senior and one of the four captains of the football team. “Not only was the town-wide clean up a great way for us to do that, and to get out into the community as a team, but it really opened up our eyes to the amount of trash lying around our school and many of the town’s parks and conservation areas,” Fletcher said. “I hope other teams and community members join the football team in this important effort to help our town,” said Nicholas Cavallerano, a junior on the team. His brother Louis, a freshman, said proudly, “This was my first football community activity and I really liked that coaches and players worked together to help our community with the cleanup.” To get involved in other town cleanups or propose one of your own, contact the Natural Resources Commission at 781-431-1019, ext. 2294. To learn tips on plastic waste reduction visit Wellesley Green Schools at  www.sustainablewellesley.com.

Calling on National Grid To Fix 261 Gas Leaks in Town

Last week, Sustainable Wellesley called on National Grid to fix the dozens of persistent gas leaks in Wellesley. The leaks emit vast amounts of methane, which is a dangerous and highly potent greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming. Sustainable Wellesley President Quentin Prideaux said, “We first started looking at gas leaks in Wellesley in 2015 when there were 197 leaks reported by National Grid — now there are 261. The leaks are actually getting worse and we need National Grid to step up to protect our climate, our safety, and our health.” The Sustainable Wellesley action was part of a larger effort across the Boston metropolitan area led by Mothers Out Front, the Gas Leaks Allies, and other environmental groups frustrated by the lack of progress on gas leaks. In Boston, more than 100 protesters gathered on Cambridge Street near a 13-year old leak. Activists are particularly concerned that National Grid has backed away from its previous commitment to identify and repair the largest volume leaks, sometimes called “super-emitters.” These large volume leaks make up only about 7 percent of the more than 16,000 leaks in the state but they emit roughly 50 percent of the methane. The other large gas companies — Eversource and Columbia Gas — have already begun using the accepted method for identifying and repairing these leaks, while National Grid has said it will not do so until next year.

TAKE ACTION AUG 5: No Rubber Stamp Permits for Weymouth Compressor Station

A compressor station is like an enormous gas leak, but worse in many, many ways. You are invited to the State House at noon TOMORROW, August 5th, to stop the proposed compressor station for Weymouth, a community already overburdened by industry and infrastructure. For details, please read this message from Mass Power Forward… “We cannot have any new fossil fuel infrastructure in our state, and we must be rapidly dismantling the current system. That’s why the proposal to build an explosive gas compressor station in the Fore River Basin is insult on injury. Governor Baker promised to do 3 more studies before issuing permits for the Weymouth Compressor Station, and he’s already issued the air permit. We believe it is likely the other permits may be coming by August 5th. Join us as we push him to keep his promises, and NO “rubber stamp” permits for Weymouth! Like in 2017, we will assemble in the hallway outside his office in the statehouse. Please arrive with enough time to get thru security and take the stairs or elevator to the 3rd floor. PLEASE SIGN UP HERE SO WE CAN GET A HEAD COUNT“

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