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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

Its Your Turn! Join Us In The Parade!

Bring your family, neighbors and friends to march about environmental concerns in the Wellesley Parade this Sunday. Folks are lining up at 12.45pm on the corner of Elm and Washington Streets. Bring a wagon for the little ones. We have butterfly signs and pinwheels for them to hold. Look for the sailboat and an electric vehicle promoting healthy, clean wind energy as well as the butterflies and flowers promoting healthy lawns and pollinators.  Sustainable Wellesley, Wellesley Green Schools, Friends of Morses Pond, Wellesley Conservation Council, Wellesley Natural Resources Commission, Friends of Brookside and others will march together. It’s so much fun, please join us! You will enjoy the shout outs and cheers from friendly spectators along the route. We are grateful to Laurel for organizing us, the Bender Family for building the float, the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant for their support, 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.

Got An Electric Vehicle? Here Is How To Get A Monthly Credit

The Wellesley Municipal Light Plant and the Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee have launched a new program for electric vehicle (EV) drivers called Bring Your Own Charger® (BYOC). BYOC encourages drivers to charge their vehicles overnight in exchange for an $8.00 credit on their electric bill each month—the equivalent of  3,000 miles of free driving per year! Wellesley is one of the top cities in the state for EV adoption. Driving electric helps keep our air clean and lowers carbon emissions, a town-wide goal. This program takes that one step further, encouraging owners to shift to overnight hour charging (10pm to 12pm Monday – Friday and anytime on the weekends). Doing so will: Help keep town-wide electric rates low Offer EV owners $8 monthly credit = 3,000 miles of free driving a year Pull from the cleanest, lowest emitting non peak hour energy Indirectly minimize carbon pollution Extend EV battery life To join now, visit https://www.bringyourowncharger.com/wellesley Then simply  program your vehicle to charge between the hours of 10pm and noon Monday to Friday or anytime on the weekend, and upload a photo of the schedule. To learn more about this program visit www.wellesleyma.gov/byoc or contact the Town’s partner, Sagewell at 781-303-4994 or ev@sagewell.com with any questions.

Cake Pans, Electronic Keyboard, International Plugs, Karaoke Machine, Save Memories Kit, Tape to Digital Converters. All Yours With A Library Card

It has happened to all of us. You are home and in need of something but don’t really want to spend money on it, or go out and find one. Did you know you can borrow things easily from the Wellesley Free Library’s Library of Things? They have a wide collection of non-traditional library items and the collection is ever-expanding. See full list here. Imagine, with the power of your library card you can borrow these and 100+ other items! Adapters of all kinds Binocular Birding kit Cake Pan Electronic Keyboard Games International Plugs Karaoke Machine Laptops Luggage Scale Save Memories Kit Tape to Digital Converter Tool kits and more!

Inspiring Middle Schoolers Ask You To Help Out

Wellesley Middle School student Vaani Kapoor and her sister organized a plastic pick-up day along Route 9 in April. After this event, where Wellesley students picked up 17+ bags of waste in less than a half a mile, Kapoor came to a Sustainable Wellesley event and a Natural Resources Commission meeting to discuss how to expand and sustain these efforts. Now Kapoor, her family and many amazing Wellesley Middle Schools students will be doing another clean up this Sunday. Please consider joining them on Sunday, May 19th at 9 AM at the Middle School. “There is unseen plastic all over our town” said Kapoor. “While we are celebrating Wellesley this weekend, the amount of litter will most likely increase. If you would like to help make a change, please join us this weekend for our second monthly plastic pickup,” Kapoor said enthusiastically. Support this youth-led volunteer effort and show your Wellesley pride by limiting your waste, and picking up during and after the parade and fireworks.

Do You Have Nice grASS? At What Cost?

Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is asking residents to educate themselves about their lawn care practices, and encouraging everyone to eliminate pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers from their yards.   Click here to watch a video produced by Wellesley Media and the Town Communications & Project Manager highlighting the Town’s ongoing efforts to protect the environment and public health from the dangers of toxic chemicals. The NRC has also contacted our state legislators asking their support of House Bill 776 – An Act empowering towns and cities to protect residents and the environment from harmful pesticides. Read the letter here and encourage your senators and representatives to support this legislation.

Summer Is Coming! Lower Your Cooling Costs – Get No Cost Energy Audit

Worried about Summer Cooling costs? Want to cut your utility bills? Come to a Home Energy Savings Seminar at the Tolles Parsons Center on May 22nd at 1:30 PM to learn ways to reduce your energy usage and make your home more comfortable and efficient. The seminar will review available programs that help you reduce energy usage. The Wellesley Municipal Light Plant and National Grid offer no-cost energy audits, free light bulbs and significant rebates and assistance on insulation, heating equipment and appliances. The seminar will familiarize you with the home audit process. Please bring your oil, gas and electric bills with you. Volunteers will help you calculate your benchmark energy rating and assist with the audit process. Sign-up with the COA 781-235-3961. Walk-ins are welcome. This program is sponsored by the Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee.

Show Your Support For A Net Zero Energy Building & No Gas at The Hunnewell School Public Forum Thursday Night

As the plans get closer to completion, it is important for the community to show its support for the Net Zero Energy and no gas hook up designs that have been created for the future Hunnewell School building. Learn more and show your support at the 3rd Hunnewell School Feasibility Study Public Forum this Thursday, May 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Wellesley Middle School Auditorium. The forum is intended to give residents an update and an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the: Feasibility study schedule and process Building design and parking options Sustainability approach Swing space options Additional information about the Hunnewell Feasibility Study is available on the School Building Committee (SBC) webpages on the Town of Wellesley website. SBC meetings can be viewed on demand on the Wellesley Media Government channel. Can’t make it or have questions or comments? Please Email the SBC here.

Green Collaborative Meeting to Highlight Emissions Reduction Opportunities

The featured topic at Wellesley’s Green Collaborative will be “Electricity as a Pathway to Emissions Reductions in Wellesley” on Thursday May 9, 2019, in the Wakelin Room at Wellesley Free Library. Networking will begin at 9 a.m. and the program will begin promptly at 9:15 a.m. As of June 30, 2019, electricity from the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant will contain 31% fewer emissions than in 2007. WMLP Board Member Jeff Wechsler will discuss the contributions to this success and the foundation that has been set for continued emission reductions. Looking to the future, guest speaker David Farnsworth will discuss what must be accomplished to reliably manage the growing amount of variable generation from renewable sources and how “beneficial electrification” is part of the equation. Wellesley’s Green Collaborative is facilitated by the Town’s Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC). The group meets several times a year and participants include representatives of various Town departments, boards and committees involved in environmental issues and representatives of grass roots environmental groups (e.g. Sustainable Wellesley), land conservation organizations (e.g. Wellesley Conservation Council and Friends of Brookside), civic groups (e.g. League of Women Voters and Rotary Club), houses of faith and any interested members of the public. The purpose is to share information and where there are common interests, find ways to collaborate. David Farnsworth is a senior associate with the Regulatory Assistance Project (“RAP”) advises regulators and advocates on clean energy, environmental policy and regulation. Previously, while working for the Vermont Public Service Board he was a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Staff Working Group. He was co-chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (“NARUC”) Staff Subcommittee to the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment, Vice Chair of the NARUC Staff Subcommittee to the Committee on Natural Gas and served as a staff member of the NARUC Task Force on Climate Policy. New participants to the Green Collaborative are always welcome; no advance RSVP is required. Contact Ellen Korpi (ellenkorpi1@gmail.com) with any questions.

Green Home & Living Tour

 A recent NY Times Op Ed:  Your Gas Stove Is Bad for You and the Planet Want to do something about your gas stove? your gas heat? your fossil fuel car? Experience everyday life without gas or gas leaks.  Mothers Out Front teams in Jamaica Plain are hosting a Green Tour where you can see the future happening today. JAMAICA PLAIN:  Sunday May 19th, 2-4pm Take a self-guided tour in central JP, showcasing green living– from solar panels to electric cars, composting, beekeeping, edible gardens, etc.– in about 15 homes (and a few businesses and community sites). Neighbors can learn from neighbors and help us all envision what a clean-energy future could look like. Online map and event page are here.

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