All Stories

  • Interested in Building?

    Learn what YOU can do to make buildings more efficient, comfortable and safer for everyone at the Sierra Club and Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN) FREE better building codes webinar TOMORROW – December 11th- from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Buildings are responsible for over half of all energy consumption in Massachusetts and 46% of carbon pollution. To mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, it is vital that we significantly lower carbon emissions from our buildings sector over the next decade. The good news? In 2019, we have a huge opportunity! Eligible code officials across the U.S. will vote on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the code for new buildings built in the U.S. and beyond. This code is the standard that can mandate that new buildings be built with significantly higher energy efficiency than those we live and work in today. With your help, the next code would maximize building efficiency and safety, ensuring that every new building we build is better for the planet and our wallets. More comfortable buildings are more equitable for residents everywhere, regardless of income. Join them on December 11 and learn what you can do to help change building codes for the better. This program is a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Sierra Club, Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN), Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP).
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  • FREE Legislative Training Session 12/15

    With really important energy legislation coming in the next legislative session, some of you may be interested in a FREE legislative training from 350 Mass. When: Saturday, December 15th from 9:30-4:00 Where: First Parish in Framingham (24 Vernon St, Framingham, MA 01701) Please fill out this RSVP form here. This is a great opportunity to learn some of the latest lobbying skills using the newest advocacy curriculum. Not only will you learn, you will practice, and connect to the 350 Mass community. If you are thinking of getting involved in legislative work, this is the perfect place to hop on board. Breakfast and a basic lunch will be served, but they encourage attendees to bring their own meals to supplement what is provided. Additionally, folks are more than welcome to bring their own dishes for people to share, potluck style!
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  • PRE LOVED, NICELY PRICED CLOTHING FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY AT WELLESLEY’S OWN SHOPPER’S CORNER

    Wellesley Green Schools’ parents found lots of treasures to share with their families this holiday season at Wellesley’s very own consignment shop, Shopper’s Corner.  The hidden gem is located around back and down a few stairs at the Schofield School. Find child and adult clothing and shoes, accessories including belts and purses, as well as sporting goods items such as skates and cleats.  The store is generally open 8:30am -12:15pm on Wednesdays and the first Saturday of each month from 9 AM – 11 AM during the school year, but check the Shopper’s Corner Facebook page for details on holiday hours, sales, and new arrivals. Consignment shopping is far more affordable than new, offers unique items, and it lowers your carbon footprint! Consider re-thinking the way you shop, one purchase at a time. A Lot of energy goes into manufacturing new clothing; from transporting raw materials and producing them, to getting them to stores. A great deal of water is consumed to produce clothing, not to mention the amount of chemicals used to produce the cotton and dye the products. Buying pre-loved decreases landfill waste and helps reduce one of the most polluting industries in the world. Mass.Gov reports that in the Bay State alone, nearly a quarter-million tons of clothing, shoes & other textiles are throw away each year.   Since 1954 Shopper’s Corner has been  generously organized by parent volunteers. Proceeds support the Schofield PTO. If you have items to donate, simply drop off bagged items at Shopper’s Corner.
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  • Looking For A New Car?

    If you’re considering a new car, you may want to look into The Green Energy Consumers’ Drive Green program which is offering savings on a variety of cars and explains all about rebates. For example, with the savings and rebates, one can buy a  Chevy Volt — which has electric range of 53 miles and a back-up gas tank — for $17,500. Look into it before the federal tax credit for the Volt is phased out. Learn More here about purchasing and leasing options.
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  • Help Stop The Planned Enbridge Weymouth Compressor Station- Cut and Paste Suggested Letter

    The Massachusetts Mothers Out Front Pipeline Task Force is encouraging you to take a few minutes now to send a message to the MA Department of Environmental Protection letting them know that you oppose this project because it poses a serious threat to health, safety, environment, and the economy. They are supporting Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS) in fighting the compressor station because it would: pose serious risks of explosions to our neighbors. degrade the local air quality and health of families who live there. contribute to fossil fuel infrastructure that fuels climate change. MassDEP is holding a 30-day public comment period on a Draft Network Plan for air quality monitoring and they need to hear from all of us! Please consider emailing the message below by December 14 to Thomas McGrath, Chief MassDEP Air Assessment Branch: Thomas.McGrath@mass.gov. Please personalize your message to get his attention and tell him why it matters to you. _________________________________________________________________________ COPY AND PASTE INTO AN EMAIL, PERSONALIZE, AND SEND TO Thomas.McGrath@mass.gov: Dear Thomas McGrath, Chief, MassDEP Air Assessment Branch, My name is ___________ and I am a resident of _____________. I am a mother/grandmother of ____ children and am extremely concerned about the safety risks and health impacts that the Weymouth Compressor Station poses to fellow Massachusetts families. We know from peer-reviewed studies and federal agency analyses that compressor stations degrade air quality. We expect a new compressor station in an industrial port area to further degrade the poor air quality in the Fore River basin. The children and families that live in the Fore River basin already carry an undue burden of disease and should be considered a sensitive and vulnerable population that would be disproportionately affected by locally degraded air quality. In fact, Quincy Point and Germantown already have state and federal recognition as Environmental Justice areas. Moreover, community health around the Fore River designated port area is already significantly worse than the state average according to Massachusetts Department of Public Health data released as part of the ongoing health impact assessment, including pediatric and adult asthma (Weymouth), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Weymouth, Quincy, & Braintree), and heart attacks (Weymouth, Quincy, & Braintree). We know that degraded air pollution will negatively affect these conditions, and pose undue burdens on the families who suffer from these illnesses. In response to this public health threat to vulnerable populations, we ask you to take the following steps to monitor the environment by providing additional scientific basis of air quality. We request the following: Establish a long-term air quality monitoring site in the Fore River basin area inside or within close proximity of the designated port area. Include nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monitoring in the Fore River basin.Regulatory modeling for the proposed Weymouth compressor station did not take into account marine vessel emissions, nor are they represented at any existing monitoring sites. Marine vessel sources in and around the Fore River designated port area include marinas, ferries, tugs, and ocean vessels serving port area industries, and yet there are currently no monitoring sites to track the impact of these emissions. Conduct long term VOC and aldehyde testing (e.g., every six days) in order to reasonably evaluate these existing air quality problems, beyond the problems that were identified as part of the health impact assessment. As a mother/grandmother, I know that quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink affects our health and our wellbeing as productive members of our communities. As the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, we call on you to protect the most vulnerable among us by monitoring, preserving, and improving our air quality. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention my concerns about a recent report by the UN that says we have just 12 years to reduce our greenhouse emissions by 50%. Another recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), says we cannot afford to build any more fossil fuel infrastructure without imperiling our planet. To keep warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need every decision-maker in every agency, including Massachusetts DEP, to resist adding fossil fuels to our energy mix. The only way to protect our children and grandchildren from the worse effects of climate change—which include food insecurity, extreme heat, more mosquito and tick-borne illnesses (such as Lyme disease), and increased antibiotic resistance to name just a few—is to deny permits to the Weymouth compressor station. Sincerely, NAME
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  • Dr. Regina LaRocque Joins Sustainable Wellesley’s Leadership Team

    Sustainable Wellesley is pleased to announce that Dr. Regina LaRocque will be joining the Leadership Team. Dr. LaRocque, MD MPH, is on staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She has been working in the field of infectious disease for 15 years and has seen first hand the connection between climate change, respiratory problems and the spread of infectious diseases around the globe. Dr. LaRocque often represents Partners HealthCare urging state lawmakers to invest in clean energy with clear facts on how it will have significant health benefits for citizens of the state. LaRocque has been active in Sustainable Wellesley’s activities, and is a member of Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission. We are grateful she has joined the leadership team and can offer her science based background and expertise on how climate change is impacting human health and the spread of infectious diseases. Please welcome us in welcoming Dr. LaRocque.
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  • Inspiring!

    Looking for a little inspiration this time of year? Two Wellesley High School students created this video for Wellesley Green Schools that will get your heart beating and your ideas flowing. Big thanks to Jake and Jack for their hard work on this during their High School Senior Project.
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  • This Is Important – 5 Minutes or Less

    Last week, Sustainable Wellesley’s leadership team wrote The Honorable Joseph Kennedy III asking for him to support the proposal by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the creation of a Select Committee for a Green New Deal. This Committee would develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan that would start the transition of our country’s economy to a carbon neutral future and promote economic and environmental justice and equality. The letter to Congressman Kennedy was written because urgent and immediate climate action is required on a national scale to transform our economy and society, while saving our planet from the most dire consequences of climate change.  As his constituents, we are relying on him to be a voice for urgent action in Congress. We need him to support the formation of a Select Committee especially after the Fourth National Climate Assessment issued on November 23, 2018 was release where THIRTEEN federal agencies concluded that damage from global warming will result in a 10 percent decline in the US economy. A full chapter devoted to the Northeast concludes that temperatures here are rising faster than elsewhere in the country. This warming is already affecting our forests, fisheries, and coasts — all distinctive aspects of our region that are integral to our cultural identity, economy, and way of life. This assessment follows the stark warning from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a special report issued in October that we have only a few years to transform the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” If this keeps you up at night, write to Congressman Joe Kennedy here and feel free to write us at info@SustainableWellesley.com letting us know you did. Personalize it and let him know: – You support Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution to create a House Select Committee for a Green New Deal in Congress – That United Nations climate scientists have told us that we have just 12 years to move our country off fossil fuels, to avoid catastrophic climate disaster – We need a Green New Deal to create millions of green jobs, move our country off fossil fuels, and protect working people of all backgrounds – You are asking him to support this resolution To learn more or get more inspiration, see what the intelligent, young leaders from the Sunrise Movement are doing to to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. Feel free to join them in Washington, DC on Dec. 10th to demand Congress make a real plan to address climate change.    
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  • See YOU Saturday at Wellesley MarketPlace

    Get a gift wrapped in beautiful Japanese Furoshiki wraps at no cost this Saturday at the Wellesley Marketplace. We are encouraging reusability while offering this service to the community so swing by our table on the first floor, under the stairs near the entrance. Also, be sure to swing by some of the artisans at the event: Take Sustainable Wellesley’s wrapping idea to the next level and check out the Rapt booth for sustainable, reusable gift wrap made here in Massachusetts. Get 3 sheets: small, medium and large for wrapping gifts of all sizes. Easy, elegant and eco-friendly. There is no need for scissors, tape or ribbon! We love their slogan, “Your present. Our future.” I heart Arm Warmers has upcycled cashmere accessories and clothing for women and kids. All products are handmade locally and include: arm warmers, hats, scarves, and dresses. Great holiday gifts! Wonders From The Waves creates artwork using sea glass and upcycled antique glass. Luksin Designs has clothing and accessories for women and men, made in small batches on the coast of Maine from sustainable materials. Tiebreaker Bow Ties offers products that combine vintage design and unique textiles with a focus on upholding sustainable fashion practices. Their bow ties, ties, pocket squares, and other accessories are crafted from responsibly sourced materials including vintage fabrics and salvaged textile waste. BENT&BREE is an earth-friendly and sustainable luxury brand of vegan bags and accessories made of genuine cork. They design and create pieces that reveal comfort, function and style.
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  • Are You Ready To Run? Learn How To Run For a Town Office Position

    In the 2018 midterms, a record number of first-time candidates ran for office. Is it your turn? Are you curious, concerned or interested in following the direction of Wellesley’s current projects? Now’s the time to consider becoming more directly involved in your community by running for Town Meeting member or for an elected board position. The League of Women Voters of Wellesley invites you to come learn all about it! How to Run for Public Office November 28, 2018, 7:30 PM Room 008, Department of Recreation Warren Building 90 Washington Street Wellesley, MA 02481 Featured speakers KC Kato, Town Clerk, and Don McCauley, Town Moderator, will present: -How Wellesley’s Town Government works -Offices on the March 2019 town election ballot -Pragmatic nuts and bolts of running a campaign Attendees will receive a copy of the Town of Wellesley 2019 Election Candidate’s Handbook. Nomination papers will be available from the Town Clerk on December 5th, 2018 and light refreshments will be served.
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  • Mother Nature Says Please “COME PICK UP YOUR MILKWEED”

    Its will be getting cold out there and a few of you that ordered milkweed have yet to pick it up. Please reach out to Laurel here at laurellanders2003@yahoo.com and let her know what time this week you will come by to pick them up. Many thanks from the monarch population!
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  • Styrofoam Collection Sat. Nov. 17th

    Sustainable SUDBURY is holding a styrofoam collection on Saturday, November 17th from 9am-12pm at the Department of Public Works at 275 Old Lancaster Rd in SUDBURY. They are collecting hard packing styrofoam and LDPE #4 spongy foam only. There is a $5 drop off fee for non Sudbury members.
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  • Last Chance To RSVP For Fall Party

    Don’t forget to RSVP for the Fall Fundraising Party for Mass Climate Action Network (MCAN) on Saturday, November 17, 6 to 9 pm! Please join us for an evening of live music and delicious food and wine as we celebrate MCAN’s important role in supporting state and local action on climate change. Sustainable Wellesley is a member of MCAN and we hope you will help us support their work. This year, Sustainable Wellesley has participated in MCAN’s effort to connect clean energy advocates in the 52 towns in Massachusetts whose electricity comes from municipal light plants — including Wellesley! Sustainable Wellesley members have attended MCAN’s summit meetings, webinars, and roundtables, learning from energy experts and sharing experiences with folks across Massachusetts. Come support MCAN at this fun and festive evening! Details are below: MCAN Fall Fundraising Party Saturday, November 17th, 6:30 pm Home of Lise Olney & Tim Fulham, 15 Windsor Road, Wellesley RSVP  HERE. If you aren’t able to attend, we hope you will consider making a donation to support MCAN!
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  • Bring the Family for Hot Cider & Donuts In Wildflower Garden

    The Wellesley Conservation Council invites you to join your neighbors for hot cider and donuts on Sunday, November 25th at 3 PM at Cronk’s Rocky Woodland (18 Crown Ridge Road).   Come enjoy an open fire, holiday crafts, explore the charming Hansel and Gretel cottage, and learn and learn about the wildflower garden that Gertrude Cronk established in the 1930s for all our neighborhoods to enjoy in perpetuity. The Wellesley Conservation Council is our local 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust that protects 14 sanctuaries across more than 45 acres of natural land in Wellesley and bordering lands in Needham and Weston. More information about their mission, the sanctuaries and membership can be found at www.wellesleyconservationcouncil.org.
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  • Home Energy Savings Seminars – Tomorrow and Dec. 19th

    Winter heating costs have you worried? Want to cut your utility bills? 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 2018 Town Wide Energy Assessment Campaign sponsored by the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant and National Grid is offering 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 audit process. You are encouraged to bring your oil, gas and electric bills with you. Volunteers will help you determine your benchmark energy rating and assist with the audit process. The seminars will be held Wednesday November 14 th at 1 PM and Wednesday December 19th at 1 PM at the Tolles-Parsons Center, 500 Washington St. Wellesley. Sign-up with the COA 781-235-3961. Walk-ins are welcome. This program is sponsored by the Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee.
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  • Polls Open 7am – 8pm TUESDAY Nov. 6th

    Your vote matters! Make a plan to vote Tuesday, between 7 AM–8 PM at your polling place. Read up on who is running and vote for candidates that share your values. Click Here to Learn Who Is Running & What They Stand For. Use this independent source to view the state-wide races.  Bring family and friends. Remind neighbors, classmates and colleagues as well.
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  • TAKE ACTION on Tuesday, October 30!

    TAKE ACTION on Tuesday, October 30! Tell Gov. Baker and the Department of Public Utilities to PROTECT OUR SAFETY! Sustainable Wellesley wants to make sure you know about important actions taking place tomorrow to call on Governor Baker and his Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to protect public safety from dangerous gas infrastructure. The gas pipes under our streets are leaking and neglected—putting us in danger, costing us money, harming our health, and damaging our climate. Our government is failing to ensure our safety. Gov. Baker has appointed commissioners to head the the DPU— the state agency that regulates and oversees utilities—who are not doing their job. We need to hold Gov. Baker and his DPU accountable. We need inspectors: Utilities have operating and maintenance plans that are not being followed, risking our safety. We need action: Governor Baker and his DPU need to pressure National Grid to end the lockout of union workers and fine the company for documented safety violations. We need regulations: Gas leaks laws from 2014 and 2016 are not being enforced, leaving the largest leaks to spew gas 24/7 for years. We need a Department of Public Utilities focused on PUBLIC safety. Where are you, Governor Baker? TWO WAYS TO TAKE ACTION ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30: HELP FILL THE ROOM ON OCTOBER 30 at Boston’s Gas Safety Hearing at 11 am at Boston City Hall. JOIN OUR SOCIAL MEDIA SUPERSTORM ON OCTOBER 30, 11 am to 2 pm, targeting Gov. Baker’s Department of Public Utilities. LET’S TREND! To get the most attention, we’ll all send our messages from 11 am to 2 pm on Tuesday, October 30, using the hashtag: #ProtectPublicSafetyDPU. QUICK PREP STEPS: Take a picture of yourself, your family, etc., to post OR post the link to the map of Wellesley gas leaks: https://www.wellesleyma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10383/Gas-Leaks-reported-by-National-Grid-as-of-2017-and-leak-data-from-2017-independent-study?bidId=  OR just post a message without an image.  THEN POST AND TWEET ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30, between 11 am and 2 pm. You can post on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram. Sample posts are below. Ask followers and friends to share, retweet, and resend your post. ONLY post on October 30, not before. EVERY TWEET AND POST SHOULD INCLUDE: @massgovernor #ProtectPublicSafetyDPU and @SustWellesley. On FACEBOOK, make your post “Public” so others can share it. Use the drop-down menu directly to the left of the Post button. SAMPLE POSTS: Joining @SustWellesley to ask, are ALL these leaks safe @MassGovernor? #ProtectPublicSafetyDPU @Heet_MA #mapoli https://www.wellesleyma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10383/Gas-Leaks-reported-by-National-Grid-as-of-2017-and-leak-data-from-2017-independent-study?bidId= Join @SustWellesley and me in asking @MassGovernor & his Department of PUBLIC Utilities to #ProtectPublicSafetyDPU and act on Gas Leak Laws! Please RT in support! #mapoli @loriehrlich Our safety is on the line. #MVGasFires should never happen again. @MassGovernor #ProtectPublicSafetyDPU. Protect our communities from gas explosions & climate change. @SustWellesley Has @MassGovernor put the fox in charge of the henhouse? Where is our #departmentofPUBLICutilities? #ProtectPublicSafetyDPU @SustWellesley #BakersDPU – Please do safety inspections and enact regulations. We need your help! #ProtectPublicSafetyDPU @MassGovernor @SustWellesley #BakersDPU – Your middle name is PUBLIC. Please stop working for the utilities and start working for us. #ProtectPublicSafetyDPU @MassGovernor @SustWellesley THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION TO KEEP US ALL SAFE!
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  • Drop Off Your Treasures & Get New Ones

    Renew & Reuse – Drop Off Your Treasures & Get New Ones At Rummage Sale Clean out your closets and bring your gently-used treasures to the Village Church until Wednesday, Oct. 31st at 2 Central Street in Wellesley. Use the driveway on Church Street between church and cemetery for drop offs. They accept most items in good, clean, working condition with the exception of large furniture, sporting equipment, computers, televisions and large appliances, stuffed animals, bed pillows and large toys. Then join them for the 77th Annual Rummage Sale on Saturday, Nov. 3. Shop the “pop-up” shops from 9am – 1pm.
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  • SO Sorry, We Sold Out of the Milkweed For the Season

    We have sold out of the milkweed plants we had left. Sorry. We will have more in the spring.  
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  • UN’s Warning & Wellesley

    from Sustainable Wellesley’s Letter to The Editor Extreme droughts, wildfires, floods, mass die-off of coral reefs and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people are just some of the consequences of the atmospheric warm-up that will hit us all by 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate. This was made clear in a comprehensive report issued this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our planet’s temperature continues to rise due to the burning of coal, oil and fracked gas, causing damage to our environment, our health and costing a predicted $54 trillion in damages. The scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, recommended that governments take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” The report said that in order to prevent a devastating 2.7 degree fahrenheit rise in temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. We need to get to zero fossil fuels, zero emissions and soon. Wellesley has one goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: to get 25 percent below 2007 levels by 2025. From all the evidence, it is clear that Wellesley needs a much more ambitious goal. At minimum, we need a goal to achieve 100 percent renewable energy — including all electricity purchased by the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant. Massachusetts’ goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions were established by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008: 25 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The state is not on target to meet these goals which is why 2017 Wellesley High School graduates Olivia Geiger and Shamus Miller joined the Conservation Law Foundation in successfully suing the Baker Administration. Geiger and Miller won their case but are still waiting for the Commonwealth to take action. On the local, state and national level we are going to have to make dramatic changes to make sure the planet remains habitable for human life, even in the near term. Here’s what you can do: 1. Vote. Please keep climate change in mind when you make your ballot choices on Nov. 6. Consider the gubernatorial candidates’ positions on natural gas pipelines, carbon tax, clean energy, net metering, caps on solar energy and public transportation. Which candidate has the most ambitious plan to address climate change? 2. Share your concerns with Wellesley’s elected officials. You may attend any regular meeting of key town boards and ask to speak during the “Citizen Speak” period, which should be scheduled at the beginning of every meeting. Ask for ambitious local action on renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. School Building Committee — Let them know you support their forward thinking as they consider zero net energy design for the proposed Hunnewell School. Zero net energy buildings are super energy efficient while generating required energy through on-site renewables. Long-term cost savings, as well as their zero emissions are why Worcester, Amherst, Brookline, Belmont and Cambridge are building such schools. Attend a meeting; or write to Board Chair Sharon Gray at grays@wellesleyps.org. Municipal Light Plant Board Meeting — Thank the MLP board for commissioning the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Study and ask them how quickly Wellesley will move to obtaining 100 percent of our electricity from renewable sources. Attend meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at 4 Municipal Way or write to Board Chair Jack Stewart at jstewart@wellesleyma.gov. Board of Selectmen — Express your appreciation for the past efforts of the selectmen to consider the local environment and sustainability issues that affect Wellesley residents. Ask the board what our town is doing to reach our town-wide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020. Are we on track to meet this goal? Do the selectmen have a plan to set a more ambitious goal? Attend meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at Town Hall, 525 Washington St. or write to Board Chair Jack Morgan at jmorgan@wellesleyma.gov. Design Review Board — Share your support for the DRB’s work on a new design guideline handbook and encourage them to go beyond respecting Wellesley’s existing village and architectural character by identifying design decisions that make Wellesley more resilient and allow the town to meet and exceed its carbon reduction goals. Write to Michael Zehner at mzehner@wellesleyma.gov. 3. Make lifestyle changes. Yes, this still matters. Are you able to walk or carpool sometimes instead of drive? Eat less red meat? Tighten up the energy efficiency in your home through the Mass. Save program? How about trying for Net Zero Energy? All of these ideas will improve the climate, your pocketbook and your health. The climate crisis was caused by millions of small individual actions, with accumulated consequences. It can be mitigated with the same — and with help from our elected officials.
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  • Join An Evening of Live Music, Food, and Wine and Celebrate MCAN

    You are invited to a Fall Fundraising Party for Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN). Please come for an evening of live music, food, and wine, to celebrate MCAN’s important work supporting state and local action on climate change. MCAN will also be recognizing newly elected climate champions who will be heading to the State House in January. As a member of MCAN, Sustainable Wellesley has participated this year in MCAN’s effort to connect clean energy advocates in the 52 towns in Massachusetts whose electricity comes from municipal light plants — including Wellesley! Sustainable Wellesley members have attended in MCAN’s summit meetings, webinars, and roundtables, learning from energy experts and sharing experiences with folks across Massachusetts. We hope you will join us in supporting MCAN at this fun and festive evening! All the Details are below: MCAN Fall Fundraising Party Saturday, November 17th, 6:30 pm Home of Lise Olney & Tim Fulham, 15 Windsor Road, Wellesley RSVP: https://www.massclimateaction.org/nov18fundraiser If you aren’t able to attend, we hope you will consider making a donation to support MCAN.
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  • GREEN Needham Expo

    Bring the whole family to the GO GREEN Needham Expo at Needham Town Hall on Saturday, November 10th, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Find out how going green can help put money in your pocket and a smile on your face. There will be fun and inspiration for everyone! -Learn how switching to renewable energy such as solar and geothermal will save you money -Check out and test drive Electric Vehicle -Take a ride on an Electric Bike – Watch your kids build and race solar-powered cars – Make music from junk – Try the latest higher-powered yet quieter electric lawn mowers and leaf blowers – Taste delicious food that’s healthier for you and the planet -Listen to informative talks on climate change, statewide legislative efforts to address climate change, sustainable landscaping, and more -Attend enlightening talks on a range of sustainability-related topics – Learn about local outdoor hikes and activities right here in our backyard – Talk to organizations who are working towards solutions to the climate crisis – Learn sustainable gardening and the benefits of buying local food Confirmed Exhibitors Needham Community Farm Growing fresh produce for those in need (in Needham, MA). Green Energy Consumers Alliance Enabling everyday people to make green choices in the most cost-effective, practical, and seamless ways possible. Environment Massachusetts Protecting the places we love, advancing the environmental values we share, and winning real results for our environment. Home Works Energy Energy Efficiency. Simplified. Our aim is to make it simple for you to have a greener home, and save some green too. New England Solar Hot Water Find out how easy it can be to switch to solar hot water, and how the benefits of renewable energy can help you save money and the environment. Eastern Wind Power Designing, building, and testing wind turbines mounted on high-rise buildings or pole mounted in open, high wind areas. Needham Garden Center Providing customers with higher quality products and services in a friendly, family-like atmosphere. Volante Farms A family run business passed down through four generations, Volante Farms is a place for all seasons. Hartney Greymont Our certified arborists take a holistic and environmentally-friendly approach to performing proven services that ensure the health and beauty of your trees for years to come. Garden Mentor Do you have a yard? A garden? A landscape? Whatever you call it, I can show you how to make it more beautiful and less work. GeoOrbital Electric Wheel Company Make your bike electric in 60 seconds. Landry’s Bicycles Founded in 1922, Landry’s Bicycles is collectively owned by our dedicated employees and rated as one of “America’s Best Bike Shops.” MassBike Promoting a bicycle-friendly environment and encouraging bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation. Charles River YMCA Operating out of two locations in Needham, Charles River YMCA is one of the community’s leading social service providers. Bash the Trash For over 25 years Bash the Trash has been building, performing, and educating with musical instruments made from recycled and reused materials. Needham Community Council Supporting people in Needham who have under-met health, educational, and social needs. Needham High School Environmental Club We are a group of students dedicated to promoting a greener community and environmental awareness. Mass Climate Action Network MCAN works with more than 40 communities to help them take action against climate change. City Compost We make the best compost we can, so the healthiest, cleanest food can grow for you. Needham Recycling & Transfer Station Providing residents with recycling and waste disposal services at the town’s transfer station, a.k.a. “The Dump.” Bootstrap Compost Greater Boston’s premier year-round residential and commercial food scrap pickup service. Boston Bee Company Managing owned and borrowed hives and selling the perfect bee product for your home from our apiary. MUZI Chevrolet Providing the highest quality and customer service for every new and used Chevrolet buyer.  #GOGREENNeedham
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  • Light Meal Included at Monday Night’s Green Charrette

    You are invited to hear ideas from experts and share your thoughts with the School Building Committee during the Green Charrette on Monday, October 15 from 5:30 to 9pm to the Hunnewell Elementary School Gym at 28 Cameron Street. Plus, a light dinner is included. The School Building Committee (SBC) is charged with conducting a feasibility study of options to substantially renovate or rebuild the Hunnewell School to meet modern standards for education. Following an overview of sustainable design, including Green Building Certifications and Net Zero Building, breakout sessions will focus on: • Sustainable Sites and Transportation; • Water Efficiency; • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; • Sustainable Materials; • Indoor Environmental Quality; and • Integrated Design and Innovation. Learn how the design team is looking at creating a healthy, low carbon, energy efficient, and perhaps a Net Zero Building and then let them know your thoughts on what the sustainable design goals and objectives for the project should be. Bring Family, Friends & Neighbors Too! Not a Hunnewell School parent? It DOESN’T matter! This isn’t just about Hunnewell, but about how we look at energy efficiency, health, and clean energy in Wellesley going forward. The Wellesley Permanent Building Committee is hosting this Eco Charrette (public meeting) to give us ALL an OPPORTUNITY to weigh in on the sustainability features for the NEW Hunnewell School. You can arrive anytime  between 5.30-9pm. If you can’t make it please write to them and share your opinions. You can also watch the event later on demand at: wellesleymedia.org/SBC.
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  • 🍁Calling all Parents, Kids, & Friends🍁

    Join Wellesley Green Schools for a GUIDED VISIT OF BROADMOOR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY this coming Sunday, October 14th, from 12:30 until 2:00. Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor is an expansive retreat along Indian Brook and the Charles River, an ever-changing environment teeming with wildlife: dragonflies darting, turtles basking, otters leaving tracks in the mud, and more than 150 species of birds. Easy-to-moderate well-groomed trails lead you through the shade of mature woodlands into open fields and along the edges of vibrant streams, ponds, and marshland. We’ll explore with an expert who’ll show us a couple of haunted havens! It’s absolutely GLOWING this time of year! Cost is $8.50/person. RSVP susanzelenko@verizon.net with “Broadmoor Walk” in subject. PLEASE MEET AT 12:20, TEN MINUTES BEFORE. BRING A WATER BOTTLE, APPROPRIATE CLOTHING AND SHOES, AND LOTS OF CURIOSITY!
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  • Electric Car Test Drives & Rebates || Solar Info & More at Sunday’s GreenEXPO In Newton

    OCTOBER 14 @ 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Organized by Green Newton in collaboration with the Newton Harvest Fair, the event will have: Test drive the all all electric Nissan Leaf, a BMW i3, and Smartcar Fortwo Coupe Test drive electric bicycles and see how it adds zip to your ride Check out the substantial rebates on electric cars through Mass Energy Ride your bicycle to the Expo and valet it with Bike Newton! Find out how you can win 1 of 7 great prizes at the Green Newton tent Learn how an electric motor works at the Olin College Electric Motorsports exhibit Solar companies and energy efficiency vendors can tell you how to save money on your electricity and heating bills See how RIVER Mobile Power Station & Solar Generator can power your devices where there are no plugs Sierra Club, Environmental Voter Project, and other grassroots groups can tell you how you can take action now Ride the ever popular Energy Bike in the Green Newton/SGW tent Activities on the environment to keep kids engaged!
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  • Planning An Event?

    Planning an event? No matter if it is big or small; for fun, work, or school, Wellesley Green Schools has you covered with this updated SmartEventGuide2018. Save time, money and resources. Check it out, and share it; you will be glad you did.
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  • Having A “Less Waste” Birthday With Reusable Wrapping

    My son just turned 8! I learned how to sew Furoshiki wrapping cloths for Sustainable Wellesley’s “Reusables” booth last year at the Wellesley Marketplace, and this year I learned how to sew drawstring bags to contribute. We’ve been “upcycling” cloth remnants donated to us for our Sustainable Wellesley Marketplace Wrapping booth this year, but for our own home, I decided not to tap into the stash of donations but to let my kids pick out special fabric to have their birthday presents wrapped in year after year. The result is a beautiful (I think) group of coordinated bags and furoshiki wraps that allow us to wrap presents for the kids in seconds instead of minutes. Cleanup after present opening was super quick, and now the cloths are all folded in a small stack to go into a closet and await the next birthday. Not everyone sews, but cloth gift bags and furoshiki cloths can be purchased if you don’t want to make your own. After seeing how they worked for my family this year I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the investment. Besides, you can visit the Sustainable Wellesley Booth at Marketplace this year and get your stash started with one free reusable wrap from us! Thanks to all the people who have donated fabric (especially the Griffin family) and to those who have sewn Furoshiki cloths for our upcoming booth (notably Nerine Warasta in a strong lead).
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  • NRC Public Forum on Pond Health Will Encourage Education and Action

    The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission (NRC) will host a community forum on pond health on Thursday, October 18 at 7 p.m. as part of its continuing Grow Green Wellesley initiative. “SAVING OUR PONDS: What Wellesley is Doing and How You Can Help” will examine the current health of Wellesley ponds and educate residents on ways to keep them protected. The forum will be held in the Kingsbury Room at the Wellesley Police Station located at 485 Washington Street. “Environmental education is a key part of the NRC mission and through this forum we hope to encourage residents to become stakeholders in protecting our most precious and fragile resource – water,” said NRC director Brandon Schmitt. Forum topics will focus on the importance of pond health, threats to our ponds, current and planned pond preservation activities, and most important, ways residents can become involved in protecting our ponds. The forum will feature experts on pond management including: Julie Dyer Wood, Director of Projects for the Charles River Watershed Association; Morses Pond Manager Ken Wagner of Water Resources Services; and Richard Howell, President of Friends of Morses Pond and Chair of the Wellesley Wetlands Protection Committee. Guest Speakers: – Julie Dyer Wood, M.S., Director of Projects for the Charles River Watershed Association on how you can minimize your impact on water resources – Ken Wagner, Ph.D., Manager of Water Resources Services on Wellesley’s Comprehensive Pond Management Plan – Richard Howell, Chair of the Wetlands Protection Committee and President of Friends of Morses Pond on how to advocate for your pond “Saving Our Ponds” is co-sponsored by the Wellesley Department of Public Works, Recreation Department, Sustainable Wellesley, Friends of Morses Pond, and the Friends of Brookside, and is free and open to the public. For more information contact the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission at nrc@wellesleyma.gov, or 781-431-1019, x2294.
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  • Rebates, deals & discounts on Electric Cars & Bikes

    On October 13, from 11 AM – 2 PM,  let us take you for a ride, a spin and a walk! Come explore the great variety of electric cars that are on the market today, talk to owners about their experiences (no sales pitches), learn about rebates, deals and discounts on purchases and leases, and go for a ride.  Learn about the Stop & Shop chargers, and about the ones you can install at home. Learn about switching to green electricity to make your electric ride 100% pollution-free and renewable! Check out an assortment of electric bikes and take them for a spin. Ride your bike over for a free safety check. The Friends of the Rail Trail will be there to tell you about some great little-known destinations, current plans to extend the Trail east and west, and a demo of a free Rail Trail app. From the Town Center to Tower Hill, guides from the Wayland Historical Society and the Historical Commission will show you the history of the Rail. Meet the groups and organizations working on making our transport and commutes greener and cleaner! Several lunch options. When: Saturday October 13, 11 AM – 2 PM | Where: Wayland Town Center (400 Boston Post Rd) | Sponsored by Wayland Town Center | info: info@massenergize.org
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  • Oct. 11 Gubernatorial Forum on Energy & the Environment

    Thursday, October 11, 2018 FORUM: 4pm-6pm Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114 The Environmental League of Massachusetts, along with other sponsoring organizations from the environmental community, will host a Gubernatorial Forum with Republican candidate Governor Charlie Baker and Democratic candidate Secretary Jay Gonzalez. Each will take the stage for one hour and answer questions about their vision for the future of energy and environmental policy in Massachusetts. The forum will be moderated by Bruce Mohl, Editor of Commonwealth Magazine. Sponsoring organizations will curate questions on a variety of topics and attendees are invited to suggest their own questions by tweeting using #gogreengovMA or submitting them here. RSVP here
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  • Winter heating costs have you worried?

    Winter heating costs have you worried? Do you want to cut your utility bills? 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 2018 Town Wide Energy Assessment Campaign sponsored by the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant and National Grid is offering 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 audit process. You are encouraged to bring your oil, gas and electric bills with you. Volunteers will help you determine your benchmark energy rating and assist with the audit process. The seminar will be held Monday October 22nd, 1:00 – 2:00 pm at the Tolles-Parsons Center, 500 Washington St. Wellesley. Upcoming events will take place at same location on November 14th at 1 pm and December 19th at 1pm. Sign-up with the Council On Aging 781-235-3961. Walk-ins are welcome. This program is sponsored by the Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee.
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  • Thanks For Making Our Beaches Cleaner!

    We want to thank everyone who participated in our “Take 3” Beach Challenge to pick up at least three pieces of trash the next time you went to the beach. As you can see, most people didn’t stop when they reached 3! We received trash photos from beaches and even islands everywhere from Cape Cod to Casco Bay, Maine. As hard as it is to look at some of these photos and think about the danger they pose to ocean life and human health, this all trash that won’t be washed back into the ocean at the next high tide. For that, we’re really thankful. It’s also interesting to look at the types of plastic found and think about how we could reduce it. Maybe flowers are a good choice instead of birthday balloons, or balloon lovers could tie them to a chair inside the house instead of to a mailbox outside where they might blow away. The photo comprised solely of forgotten beach toys (that have been found new homes) is one that my mother sent me on a day when she arrived at the beach to discover many toys but zero families in sight. Writing our family name on our beach toys could help us keep track of them; I’ve looked at a shovel and left it behind because I wasn’t sure it was ours and wanted to avoid awkwardly stealing it from another family. Writing on items with a sharpie will help us retrieve our stuff with confidence before we leave the beach. Plastic water bottles, plastic cups, fishing gear and plastic bags are also common features of these trash photos. And if you’re celebrating the Fourth of July, it’s extra patriotic to make sure you bring your flag home so it doesn’t end up washed up on the beach and forgotten with other trash. (It’s been rescued from the sand.) Thanks everyone who picked up trash and sent us photos, and thanks to everyone who mindfully reduces their consumption of plastic to help fight this problem. With your help, we can enjoy burying our toes in cleaner sand.
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  • Magic Wings Butterfly Traveling Show – See and Touch Live Butterflies and other Animals

    Come to the Magic Wings Butterfly Traveling Show where you can see and touch live butterflies and other animals on Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:00pm in the Wakelin Room at the Wellesley Free Library. The Wellesley Conservation Council and the Wellesley Free Library are bringing Fred Gagnon, Entomologist and Curator, to Wellesley.  Gagnon is an entomologist and lepidopterist and curator of the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory since 1999. The Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens- located in South Deerfield, MA. -includes an 8,000-sq. ft. glass conservatory filled with 3,000 butterflies, moths, and tropical vegetation. They are dedicated to butterfly education, recreation, and gardening needs. Come admire the live specimens and learn how we can care for their habitats.
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  • Fall is a Great Time to Plant for Butterflies Next Summer

    Like most perennial plants, milkweeds (Asclepius incarnata) like being planted in the fall.  The cooler and damper days make it easier for them to acclimate and if you plant soon they can establish well before the winter comes. Milkweeds are an essential part of the diet for Monarch butterflies – the caterpillars MUST eat it in order to survive.  The plant is attractive with beautiful pink and white flowers that will attract butterflies and other pollinators to your home! Monarch butterfly populations are down by 90 percent due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides and herbicides!  You can help restore the Monarchs by planting milkweeds in your pesticide and herbicide-free yard. You can purchase milkweed through here at cost for $2.00 per plug or make a donation and purchase a plug for $5.00.  The plugs grow quickly and are very low maintenance.
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  • Vision For Climate Leadership in Massachusetts

    This Monday, Governor Charlie Baker and Democratic candidate Jay Gonzalez are invited to share their visions for climate leadership in Massachusetts at a special non-partisan event in Jamaica Plain. Opportunities for this type of civic engagement are rare so RSVP by clicking here and mark your calendars for THIS Monday, October 1st, at 7 pm, at the First Church in JP (6 Eliot St., Jamaica Plain), hosted by the Jamaica Plain Forum. Come hear what the candidates have to say about our state’s crucial environmental issues, the importance of renewable energy legislation, and their ideas on mitigating climate change. (Please Note: As we write this, Jay Gonzalez has confirmed his participation. Charlie Baker has not yet responded.) Sustainable Wellesley has joined 350 Mass and Mass Sierra Club as a co-sponsor of this event as part of our commitment to  helping voters focus on environmental issues when making decisions about which candidates to support. We encourage you to make your voice heard and learn more  before you cast your votes on November 6th. Register for the event on Eventbrite by clicking here. Share the  Facebook event here.
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  • Climate Preparedness Week

    As part of National Preparedness Month, Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) is hosting the first annual Climate Preparedness Week! CREW and partner groups are coordinating activities throughout Greater Boston with the support of local schools, businesses, city governments, and nonprofit organizations. Read some of the media coverage, and be sure to check out the full calendar of activities. Learn more here.
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  • Questions Raised After Gas Explosion & How to Help

    Last week’s tragic gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley have many people wondering about the future of gas in Massachusetts and whether the dangers outweigh the risks. The fact is, this tragedy could have happened in any community with gas, no matter what gas company was involved. Gas is a highly volatile substance and human error is always a possibility. Since 1987, there have been more than 3,200 gas accidents in the US that were deemed serious or significant by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (part of the US Department of Transportation). There are safer choices. We don’t have to rely on gas to power our homes and businesses. The Mass Clean Energy Center has great resources on alternatives so you can start making the switch to clean, safe heating and cooling — and start saving money. As we face this crisis together, let’s not repeat last century’s mistake and simply rebuild out-moded — and dangerous — gas pipelines. Even before the horrific accident in the Merrimack Valley, the state had projected a cost of $9 billion for the necessary replacement of all the failing gas pipe in Massachusetts. Let’s choose a faster, cheaper, safer way forward! We need to rethink our fuel source and how the state regulates and oversees our utilities. Meanwhile, let’s do everything we can to help our neighbors in the Merrimack Valley. Sustainable Wellesley is active with the Gas Leaks Allies who have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to buy electric induction cooktops for folks who have electricity but no way to cook or heat water. We are helping with the volunteer effort to deliver the cooktops to those in urgent need — let us know if you can help! Here is a link with more ideas on how you can help.
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  • TONIGHT! Please Come to Hunnewell Feasibility Study Community Kickoff Meeting

    The Hunnewell School Feasibility Study Community Kickoff Meeting happens TONIGHT, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at the Wellesley High School Auditorium. The School Building Committee invites you to come hear about the Hunnewell feasibility study process and timeline, ask questions of the project consultants, and learn about future opportunities to engage and provide feedback on the project. Topics will include the educational visioning process, key features of today’s elementary schools, the approach to sustainability, swing space options, and ways stakeholders will be included as the Town develops its plan for the Hunnewell School. We are aiming for a net zero building. The School Building Committee (SBC) is charged with conducting a feasibility study of options to substantially renovate or rebuild the Hunnewell School to meet modern standards for education. For more information about the Hunnewell project, the Hardy/Upham project, or the SBC’s responsibilities; or to subscribe to SBC news and announcements, visit: wellesleyma.gov/HHU.
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  • EPA Recognizes Wellesley’s 3R Working Group For Food Recovery Efforts

    The EPA New England awarded a 2018 Environmental Merit Award to Wellesley’s 3R Working Group and Food for Free for their efforts in food rescue: wholesome, edible surplus food generated at schools, colleges and universities was donated to people in need. This award was given as the effort feeds many, and keeps food waste out of landfills. In September, 2017, schools and colleges in the Metro-west area committed to this Food Rescue Initiative. Together they donated about 20,000 meals annually to the Food for Free Family Meals Program.  Wellesley Public Schools, Babson College, Bentley University, Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College, as well as their food service providers were part of this initiative. Now that the program has reached a critical mass and is cost effective, other local institutions with leftover food are being recruited. MassBay Community College is one of the recipients of this program, enabling students to have more reliable access to nutritious food. Food insecurity in New England ranges from 9 to 13.8 percent of the population, so this is a valuable program to replicate. The EPA New England is now working in Rhode Island on a similar collaboration. This is an excellent example of collaboration and we congratulate the Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee, Public Works Department, Natural Resources Commission, Public Schools, Facilities Management Department, Health Department, Wellesley Green Schools and of course local colleges and universities and their food service vendors who collect leftover food and donate it to the Cambridge nonprofit Food for Free to be repackaged into single-serve meals to distribute through its Family Meals program.
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  • Repair Café Returns to Wellesley

    Wondering what do you do with  a broken lamp?  pants with a split seam?  a dull knife?  a chair that is unglued?  a broken vacuum? Get it fixed! After two successful Repair Café events, the Rotary Club of Wellesley is holding a third Café at the Wellesley Recreation Center on October 13 th from 9:00 AM to noon. At the past two Café’s, coaches and attendees repaired several lamps, chairs, dish rack, clock hands, two vacuums, copper water can handle, and removed a frozen door handle. Jennifer, from the Wellesley Library set up a “mobile library station” with lots of DIY and “fix it” books. The comments from the attendees ranged from “fantastic” to “excellent” and all suggested Repair Cafés be held on a regular basis. 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. Repair Café House Rules  The work carried out in the Repair Café is performed free of charge on a voluntary basis by the repair experts at hand.  Visitors carry out the repairs themselves whenever possible, but repair experts on site can help if necessary.  The fact that the repairs are being performed by unpaid volunteers reflects the allocation of risks and limitation of liability. Neither the organizers of the Repair Café nor the repair experts are liable for any loss that may result from advice or instructions concerning repairs, for the loss of items handed over for repair, for indirect or consequential loss or for any other kind of loss resulting from work performed in the Repair Café. The limitations set forth in these house rules shall not apply to claims declared justified on the basis of liability arising by virtue of applicable consumer protection legislation which cannot be lawfully superseded.  A voluntary donation is greatly appreciated.  Any use of new materials such as leads, plugs, fuses, ready-made knee bends 
or applications will be paid for separately.  Visitors offering broken items for repair do so at their own risk.  Experts making repairs offer no guarantee for the repairs carried out with their help and are not liable if objects that are repaired in the Repair Café turn out not to work properly at home.  Repair experts are entitled to refuse to repair certain objects.  Repair experts are not obliged to reassemble disassembled appliances that cannot be repaired.  Visitors to Repair Café are solely responsible for the tidy removal of broken objects that could not be repaired.  To cut down on unnecessary waiting times during busy periods, a maximum of ONE broken item per person will be examined. The visitor will join the back of the queue if there is a second item for repair. Why a Repair Café? We throw away vast amounts of stuff. Even things with almost nothing wrong, and which could get a new lease on life after a simple repair. The trouble is, lots of people have forgotten that they can repair things themselves or they no longer know how. Knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly lost. Society doesn’t always show much appreciation for the people who still have this practical knowledge, and against their will they are often left standing on the sidelines. Their experience is never used, or hardly ever. The Repair Café changes all that! People who might otherwise be sidelined are getting involved again. Valuable practical knowledge is getting passed on. Things are being used for longer and don’t have to be thrown away. This reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products. It cuts CO2 emissions, for example, because manufacturing new products and recycling old ones causes CO2 to be released. The Repair Café 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 easyit 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 their web site’s calendar or call 781-591-0759 to speak with one of the board members. A buffet meal is available for $30.00. When making a reservation, please indicate if you will have the meal in the comment section of the registration.
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  • How To Reduce Light Pollution

    Most of us are familiar with air, water, and land pollution. Did you realize that light can also be a pollutant? Light pollution, the inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light, can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. Wellesley resident and 7th grader Stella Glassenberg is encouraging our community to learn about light pollution and what Wellesley is doing to reduce it. She is also offering steps that families can use to help reduce light pollution in their homes. Here is a great after school or weekend family activity! Review Stella’s Light Pollution PDF, discuss ways your family can reduce your light pollution, and figure out a plan to make it happen. Thanks Stella for sharing your work on light pollution with all of us.
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  • See You Thursday At The Sustainable Wellesley Fall Meeting – Sept 13th 7pm

    Lots of important things happening early this Fall so join us for the next Sustainable Wellesley meeting Thursday, September 13th 7pm 161 Oakland Street (in the lovely art studio above the garage). Some items we will discuss:   – Town Buildings – healthy, low carbon energy buildings   – Wellesley’s Clean Energy Future – – Monsanto/Bayer – this worrying you too? Know something about the chemicals? Interested in legislation? – Volunteer opportunities – 1 time, weekly, project based; something for you!  Enjoy some drinks & snacks. Please RSVP to info@sustainablewellesley.com and email us topics you would like to discuss. New folks and ideas always welcome. Join us and meet some fabulous people.
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  • More Than 100% Renewable – Natick’s Farm Tour; Solar & EV Events

    Natick is not only working on going 100% renewable, there is more! Here are a few of Natick’s Environmental Programs at the Natick Community-Senior Center –117 East Central St. — this Fall. – Renewable Natick Event Tuesday, October 9, 2pm, free www.renewablenatick.org – A Farmer’s Tour of the October Harvest Wednesday, October 10, 2pm, free Natick Community Organic Farm Administrator Trish Wesley Umbrell – Going Solar for Your Home- How to Get It, Price It, Reap Benefits! Tuesday, October 16, 2-3:30pm, free Join Craig Forman, a board member of Green Newton and chairperson of Newton Goes Solar who has taught Going Solar at Newton Community Ed and at Cambridge Center for Adult Ed. He will talk about his experiences with his own solar electric installation. – Getting to Know Electric Vehicles- All Electric Vehicles & Plug-In Hybrids Tuesday, October 30, 2pm, free Presentation followed by a hands-on show & tell & ride in vehicles Learn more about Drive Green discounts here 
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  • RDF Dates To Remember

    Our helpful Recycling and Disposal Facility wants to remind Wellesley residents of the following dates: – Sunday 9/23 11am – 3pm Shredding Event – Saturday 10/6 9am – 1pm Last Paint Drop-off Day until the Spring – Monday 10/8 All Day Closed for Columbus Day
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  • Sewers, We Need You!

    We had a great time making beautiful, reusable gift fabric squares last week at the Council on Aging but we need MORE wraps. Sustainable Wellesley is looking for folks who can sew easy fabric squares that will be turned into Japanese Furoshiki style wrap gifts at the Wellesley Marketplace in November.  This fun project is a simple way to make a difference to reduce plastic waste and non-recyclable gift wrap. Imagine how many bags and bows we can keep out of our waste stream with these simple cloths that can be used over and over. Folks can sew from home and we will pick up donated squares. Please consider donating fabric as well. Simply email us at info@sustainableWellesley.com. Here are the details: Sew Furoshiki Cloths: Cut a square piece of fabric a little larger than your desired size. 20″ and 28”  are standard finished sizes, but in general any square that’s about 3x larger than the object being wrapped works well.  Fold in each of the edges a quarter inch and iron; fold again and iron. Find instructions online for sewing mitered corners, follow and then sew around the perimeter of your prepared cloth in the middle of the fold. Flexible fabrics like thin cotton work best for tying.  For instructions on hemming and three different corner options, click here. Please e-mail info@sustainablewellesley.com when you have completed some and Sustainable Wellesley will make plans to collect your cloths. Be sure to save wraps for yourself. To learn how to fold furoshiki gift wrap, click here. Please Donate Fabric -Flexible fabrics are ideal! Stiff fabrics are hard to tie furoshiki style -Fabric remnants measuring at least 20″ square work best Thanks!
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  • Wonder What It’s Like To Drive an Electric Vehicle? Want to Showcase Yours?

    National Drive Electric Week is happening at the Natick Mall on 9/15. 25+ Electric Vehicle owners will showcase their vehicles on the first floor of the Wegman’s parking garage. You are invited to this free event to learn about various electric vehicles, talk to owners about their experience, meet great people and make new friends. Bring your knowledge and your own EV, or your questions about what it’s like to own an electric vehicle. Benefits of driving electric include:  lower operational cost, lower maintenance cost, zero operating emissions, clean air, noise free experience! National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) is a collaboration between Plug In America, Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association, with support from the 2018 national sponsors Nissan LEAF (the exclusive automotive sponsor for NDEW) and ClipperCreek. Details.. National Drive Electric Week Saturday 9/15 9am – 12:30pm Wegman’s at the Natick Mall. EV owners are invited as special guests and are encourage to pre-register to reserve a spot to showcase their vehicle.  Learn more about Drive Green discounts here!
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  • Natick Launches 100% Renewable Energy Campaign This Saturday

    Natick is launching its “Renewable Natick” Campaign at its Rise for Climate rally on September 8th at 10 am. This is a step towards putting forward a town meeting resolution that will move their community toward 100% renewable energy. This is one of thousands of Rise for Climate Rallies being held in cities and towns around the world urging local leaders to commit to building a fossil-free world that works for all of us. Be part of the rally and excitement. Go to the Natick Days festival on the Natick Common to learn more. After the Rise Up For Climate event on Saturday, swing out to Worcester to go inside a wind turbine and take Mass Energy/People’ Power and Light’s famous clean energy tour from 2-4 at the Holy Name Jr/Sr High School on 144 Granite St in Worcester. Mass Energy/People’s Power & Light is hosting the event as they change their name; show off a wind power battery storage pilot; offer a “teach-in” with local EV expert Craig Van Batenburg of ACDC Hybrid and EV Training Resources; and exhibit a bunch of electric cars. Plus, ICE CREAM & fun for the whole family at this free event! RSVP here. Questions? Contact greenreply@massenergy.org or 800-287-3950 x5.
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  • Tell Me More About Net Zero!

    Keep hearing about Net Zero at building committee meetings and from friends building new homes? The Mass Climate Action Network (MCAN) is hosting a Net Zero roundtable  on September 25 from 7-9pm at Maynard High School. This event will allow people to learn about net-zero building and ask questions about why net-zero building is important and how to implement net-zero policy in their town or municipality. The location of the event is 1 Tiger Dr, Maynard, MA 01754. For Google Maps directions, please click here. Also, please RSVP below as there is a capacity limit for the space (and they are providing dessert and light refreshments). Have questions? Please contact Kai Palmer-Dunning at kaipd@massclimateaction.net. MCAN is co-sponsoring this event with Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Mothers Out Front, Sierra Club, 350Mass, and Environment Massachusetts.
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  • Send Governor Baker A Message –Stand Up to Fracked Gas!

    Governor Baker has the power to stop dangerous fracked gas pipelines. Sign the petition to tell him to stand against dirty energy. We need our state to set an example for others to follow. We need Gov. Baker to say NO to new pipelines and YES to a clean energy future.  Here is The Toxic Action Center’s 1 minute video on why we need Gov. Baker to take a stand against fracked gas pipelines. It’s up to us to make sure he does.   
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  • Go Green One Purchase at A Time

    Whole Foods sells floss that comes in non-plastic packaging! Maybe they have for a while, but I hadn’t looked for it until I needed to buy floss recently. As I work towards reducing the plastic in our household, one strategy I’ve found easiest is to take it one purchase at a time. When something runs out, I look for a better version to replace it. Once I’ve found a plastic-free or less-waste option, the mental work is done. I know what to buy and where to get it and my life is now automatically a little greener. It can be easier to take “greening” your home one step at a time instead of trying to rehaul things all at once.
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  • The Runaway Trash Bag on Washington Street

    I was running down Washington Street in Wellesley the other day when I saw what had to be one the biggest plastic bags I’ve ever seen. It was blowing around on the sidewalk, with some packaging air bubbles lying nearby. It must have been around an enormous package and somehow gotten away from the recipient. I looked around and realized I was probably half a mile from the trash cans I knew were available in the center of town. No helping it. I had to run with a giant trash bag billowing behind me and a fist full of packing bubbles. I’d resigned myself to this less than flattering new running accessory when only a few minutes later a van with Wellesley school stickers stopped next to me and rolled her window down. “Is that trash?” she called out. “Did you pick that up? Want me to take it?” “Yes!” I said in startled delight, and proceeded to shove the giant trash bag through her car window and watch her drive away. Just a few minutes earlier, I’d felt a bit dejected seeing such a huge piece of plastic left to wander at will through Wellesley. But having someone stop and help reminded me that there are so many people who are willing to help. If you’re picking up trash, you’re not alone. If you’re trying to reduce plastic in your life or avoid chemicals, you’re not alone. And if you’re feeling resigned and frustrated, there’s someone out there who is working towards the same goal who might just be willing to help. Many thanks to the kind person who let me finish my run unencumbered, you did more than lighten my load, you lifted my spirits! p.s. This is actually — ‘Plogging’ — the Swedish fitness craze where runners pick up trash! Try it out.
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  • Making Back to School Special Without All the Shopping

    Every year I embroider something new on my children’s backpacks before they start school. They pick the patterns and the colors, and it adds a “newness” and specialness to back to school without having to buy something new. Back to school shopping can be a necessity when you’ve got growing kids, but often I find that my kids are still wearing their summer t-shirts and shorts when school starts. If I shop for Fall outfits in August, I’ll invest in the wrong size (or the wrong style). Besides, my kids love wearing their favorite shirts they already own; they’re comfortable and familiar and maybe on the first day of school when everything feels new that’s not such a bad thing. But I like the emotions behind the tradition of back to school shopping. It can make back to school feel special and send a message to our kids that they’re supported and we’re behind them. Embroidering things on their backpacks fulfills those objectives without causing me to buy things my kids don’t need. Here are some other ways to make back to school special that don’t require buying new things: Have a special back-to-school breakfast Help your kids pick out their back to school outfits from their “favorites” and make sure they’re clean Sit down together and look at their back-to-school photos from previous years Write a letter with them about who they are entering this grade and save it to read at the end of the year Stick a funny family photo in their backpack for them to find Plan a playdate for them with a friend from last year who isn’t in their class this year Go shopping for special back to school snacks Plan afamily lunch or dinner for after the first day of school to really sit down and hear about their day Let them come up with ideas for their back to school photo All these things get to the same objective; making your child feel special, and cared for in a way that lessens their apprehensions about the first day of school. Which is good, because I’m not sure this embroidery thing will work when my kids get to high school.
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  • Thank You Sarah!

    We are grateful to our fabulous summer intern Sarah Bower, a WHS grad and a sophomore at Bucknell University. She was behind the scenes working on a variety of projects including: Making the “Banquet in a Box” a reality! Stay tuned for more information all PTO parents! You may have met her during this year’s July Jubilation, which she not only staffed but help organize Assisted in our town wide initiative to reduce plastic single-use straws from local businesses Compiled a list of sustainable landscapers and gardeners so go check it out and give them a try – go pesticide free! Spoke at various town meetings to encourage those in town government to consider sustainable options Worked on the “Sewing Bee” project Thanks again Sarah and have a great semester. We will miss you. If you, or someone you know is interested in becoming an intern for Sustainable Wellesley, please email us info@SustainableWellesley.com. We are looking for enthusiastic, hard working folks interested in taking on various initiatives intended to decrease negative environmental impacts on our community.  They will work has part of a team, learn collaborative skills and how to engage in constructive discussions focused on improving the success of Sustainable Wellesley and broadening it’s reach on our local community.  Additionally, they will be asked to do independently research, and organize into user friendly ways that enable Wellesley residents to make sustainable changes in their own lives. Hours are be flexible. Plus its FUN and meaningful!
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  • Add September 4 to Your Calendar: VOTE

    We have an important primary election coming up in Massachusetts the day after Labor Day — Tuesday, September 4. As environmentalists, the most important thing we can do is VOTE. Let us know if you want an election reminder from Sustainable Wellesley — click HERE to sign up! What’s at stake in the primary? There are a number of contested races that will decide the nominees from the Democratic and Republican state parties for the general election (November 6). The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has an amazing online voter’s guide to the State Primary Election that allows you to enter your address, choose a ballot (Democratic or Republican), and see who is running in every race! Click HERE. Here are a few really important races to focus on: – US Senate: There’s a three-way race for the Republican nominee. – Governor: You have a choice of candidates whether you choose a Democratic or Republican ballot. – Lieutenant Governor: Two candidates are running for the Democratic nomination. – Secretary of State: There’s a hotly contested race for the Democratic nominee for secretary of state. – Governor’s Council: This is a little-known but high-stakes position — the -Governor’s Council has an important in the approval of judges and other -public officials nominated by the governor. There are two candidates for the Democratic nominee for Norfolk County, which includes Wellesley precincts A, C, D, E, H. – State Senate: Voters in Wellesley precincts B, F, and G have three candidates to choose from for the Democratic nominee for state senator from the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex district. (The rest of Wellesley is represented by state Senator Cynthia Creem, who is unopposed in the primary.) Our state and local officials are likely to have the biggest impact on our immediate environment and our state’s longterm environmental health — so please VOTE on Tuesday, September 4! If you wont be in town, student is away at college, are physically disabled or have religious objections to the date simply apply for an Absentee Ballot. August 31st is the deadline for applying for an Absentee Ballot for the September 4th election but fill one out at Wellesley’s Town Clerks office in Town Hall soon so you have time to get the form mailed back and forth. For more information, call the Town Clerk’s office a 781-431-1019, ext. 2252, or go visit them Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Tuesday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday’s 8 a.m. – Noon. If YOU are considering becoming a candidate for Town office going forward, now is the time to get organized for the March 5, 2019 Town Election! The League of Women Voters in Wellesley is sponsoring an evening to discuss how Wellesley’s town government works, what offices will be on the ballot in March, and the nuts and bolts of running a campaign. Add Wednesday, November 28th, 7:30 – 9 pm to your calendar and learn “How to Run for Public Office”. The meeting is at the Warren Building, in room 008 and light refreshments will be served.
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  • Yes, You Are An Environmentalist

    Someone once told me that I wasn’t really an environmentalist because [fill in the blank]. It doesn’t really matter why. I realized that this person was sharing with me something important to them that formed the root of their own environmentalism. They’d found a big way to be more environmental that mattered deeply to them, something they thought was so effective that they couldn’t believe everyone who identified as an environmentalist hadn’t adopted it. Somehow, I couldn’t take offense. I understand what it’s like to care deeply and to adopt an environmental practice and wish every environmentalist would automatically do the same. What a difference we could make if we could all simultaneously adopt all the good green ideas out there! But we don’t live in a world that makes that easy, or even possible. It’s important to remember that we all have different strengths as environmentalists. Maybe you’re into zero waste, or going without a car, or, like me, eating plant-based. We also all have weak points that are challenging or would make us unhappy to change, like plastic food packaging, a long commute or enjoying travel. I will probably go to my grave clutching a bottle of imported champagne with my Nest thermostat set to my preferred temperature. No matter what your strengths are or what areas you’re still tackling, if you’re reading this post you’re an environmentalist. Sharing solutions with each other to live greener lives is great. But we also have to welcome each other and meet everyone where they’re at on their journey. If we bombard green-curious people with a to-do list of changes they need to make if they’re going to be environmentalists, they may decide they’re not up to the challenge and turn the other way.  We also need to be kind to ourselves. Make the changes that are easiest first. Find your strengths as an environmentalist. Look for challenges that bring you satisfaction.
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  • Headed to the Beach?

    The end of August and Labor Day Weekend have many people squeezing in a few last trips to the beach. If you’re one of those people, we invite you to take the 3 Pieces of Plastic Challenge and leave the beach cleaner than you left it! Every time the tide comes in, the ocean brings us a gift; the chance to take back some of our plastic before it harms marine life. Even beaches that seem pristine at first glance will yield bits of plastic, large and small, caught in the seaweed or half-buried in the sand. My mother is an avid beach-trash picker. She brings a bucket or a mesh bag every time she goes to the beach, and she picks up a full load of plastic and hauls it away when she leaves. Sometimes people will stop her and ask what she’s collecting; sometimes they’ll tell her that they’re going to start picking up plastic, too. Those conversations are the best. Because what would happen if everyone picked up a few pieces of plastic every time we went to the beach? The non-profit company “Take 3 For the Sea” is encouraging beach-goers to do just that. And you don’t need to haul a bucket to take three pieces of trash; you can them those into a side pocket of your beach bag without much hassle. (But by all means, bring a bucket and challenge your family or friends to fill it with you.) Want to help reduce ocean plastic, but not headed to the beach? Here are a few ways you can help. Reduce your seafood consumption. Fishing equipment is one of the largest contributors to plastic pollution in our oceans. Plan ahead and bring reusables so you can decline single-use plastics Choose backyard-compostable items over plastic for parties Decline straws Bring your own reusable shopping bags – store them in the car so you always have them Buy unpackaged foods when possible Use a Guppy-Friend for washing fleeces and synthetic fibers Support an ocean clean-up non-profit (like 4Ocean etc.) as a gift for an ocean-loving friend You can read more about how plastic gets in our oceans here. Taking the 3-Piece or Full Bucket Challenge? Send us your beach-trash photos and we’ll include them in a future post! You can email them to kelly.caiazzo@gmail.com.
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  • Replenish Your Summer Books

    Read all those summer books? Ready for something new? The Friends of the Wellesley Free Library’s 2018 Fall Book Sale, is coming up September 13th-16th.  The sale is open to members on Thursday evening, followed by three days of a public sale, of which the last day, Sunday, is a $7 per bag sale.  Not a member?  Join Thursday evening! www.wellesleyfreelibrary.org
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  • What To Do With That Extra Watermelon

    Summer is watermelon season! But unless you’re slicing for a crowd, an entire watermelon can be hard to use. It’s no fun looking in your fridge five days later and finding half of a large, over-ripe watermelon taking up valuable real estate. That might be one reason supermarkets sell all those pre-sliced chunks in plastic containers. But why not skip the plastic and slice into a fresh watermelon instead? Serve whatever you’ll eat that day, and cut and freeze the rest in a mason jar. Having watermelon chunks in the freezer is a summer staple in our house. Frozen watermelon makes delicious blended drinks or a hydrating antioxidant-filled treat as is. It may even help reduce muscle soreness after a workout! Here are some great uses for frozen watermelon: -Freeze chunks on reusable chopsticks for an alternative to popsicles -Add frozen chunks to margaritas -Blend with a little lime juice and water for a refreshing summer spritzer -Toss into smoothies to sweeten them -Make watermelon sorbet by processing frozen watermelon in a food processor -Freezing Food You Suspect You Won’t Finish Is A Great Way To Reduce Food Waste When it’s clear that we’re going to have more food than we’ll eat I’ll often freeze half immediately after preparing it. Once food has been on the table freezing it is less appealing, and it often gets stuck in our fridge. Sometimes that works great, sometimes we get tired of eating leftovers and food goes to waste. But having a batch of three bean chili in the freezer that I can pull out on a rainy day, or a dozen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? That’s when leftovers are awesome. That and watermelon margaritas, of course.
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  • State Legislature Wrap-Up: What Happened to Environmental Bills?

    With great disappointment, we offer an update on the fate of some environmental provisions during the 2017-18 state legislative session, which ended on July 31. We expected our State Legislature to act with vision and courage in the face of disastrous effects of climate change unfolding daily, world-wide — catastrophic wildfires, dangerous storms, record-breaking temperatures, animal die-offs, rising sea levels. They did not. Sadly, the House shot down the appropriately ambitious legislation that passed in the Senate. We saw no leadership or sense of urgency from the governor, who might have influenced the House to act boldly. In the end, only a modest clean energy bill was enacted (H.4857) — a bill that is not commensurate with the climate crisis we face and that includes a shocking provision that allows trash incineration to be defined as a source of clean, renewable energy. To quote State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), “There is a serious problem with democracy in Massachusetts, when the voices of tens of thousands of concerned residents and climate change activists, and dozens of clean energy advocacy groups, are ignored. The battle is not just in DC, it’s here, too.” So — before we review the results — we want to urge you to VOTE this fall in the primary elections on September 4 and the general election on November 6. We have an important race for governor coming up, as well as other state and federal elections. Find candidates who will stand up and fight for our planet and our future — instead of those who step back and stay silent. Go to candidate forums, ask tough questions, and then ask your friends and family to vote with you. We can’t count on national leadership right now, so let’s make sure officials at every level of state and local government are ready to take action on environmental issues.  Click here to let us know you plan to vote on September 4 and November 6 and we will send you a reminder! Here is a quick round-up of a few key environmental measures we were tracking during this session, followed by links for more details: Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): The is the state requirement that specifies the percentage of electricity that utility companies must obtain from qualified renewable energy sources. Under current law, the RPS is 13% and it increases at the rate of only 1% each year. The new law raises the rate of increase to 2% a year starting in 2020, but reduces it back to 1% by 2030. At this level of increase, Massachusetts will fall behind the 2030 RPS mandates of California, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and many others. It also means that Massachusetts will reach an RPS of only 36% by 2030, and a 56% by 2050. We note with gratitude that Wellesley’s State Representative Alice Peisch supported a House amendment that would have raised the RPS increase to 3%, but House leadership ultimately forced the withdrawal of that amendment. Gas Leaks: The clean energy bill that passed included provisions that would require utility companies to provide more information about gas leaks to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). The new law defines how utility companies should measure “lost and unaccounted” for gas — which is the difference between the amount of gas purchased by the gas company and the amount that is actually delivered to customers or used by the gas company in its operations. Utility companies must also identify and measure the sources and locations of the lost and unaccounted for gas. The new law also allows the DPU to grant waivers for the development of innovative projects that reduce lost and unaccounted for gas in order to reduce the cost to ratepayers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Methane from gas leaks is at least 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.) State Senator Cynthia Creem (who represents Wellesley Precincts A, C, D, E, and H) was a strong advocate for action on gas leaks.  Plastic Bags: The House blocked a state-wide bill passed by the Senate that would have banned single-use plastic bags. More than 80 cities and towns in Massachusetts — including Wellesley — have bylaws banning the bags. The state bill would have created a uniform regulation that was intended to reduce plastic litter and the hazard that plastic bags pose to animals and our environment. Both State Rep. Alice Peisch and State Senator Cynthia Creem have supported plastic bag bans in the past. For more information: Click here for a summary from Massachusetts Sierra Club. Click here for a summary from the Climate Action Business Association. Click here for a summary from the Conservation Law Foundation. And click here to let us know you plan to vote on September 4 and November 6 so we can send you a reminder!
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  • Response to the New York Times Article: Losing Earth

    Some of you may have read the recent article in New York Times Magazine titled Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change. For anyone who hasn’t, it paints a pretty bleak picture of where global warming stands now, and candidly explains some devastating predictions about our future on this planet. It was hard to read. You should read it. I was flooded with a mix of emotions after I finished, including despair, nihilism, and a waning interest in ever having grandchildren when I pictured what their Earth will look like. Underneath it was a surge of hopelessness that made me wonder why I’m writing blog posts about Meatless Mondays and reducing our plastic consumption when the Earth is doomed anyway. But then I remembered the joy I feel when my husband and I have an afternoon together. Or the surge of emotion when our children have a perfect day at the beach, riding waves into the shore, grandparents staying for dinner. The delight of a dinner out with friends where camaraderie and laughter make it one of those nights you just remember. And it reminds me that even an extra day is worth fighting for. Reading the article, it seems likely a 2 degree, 3 degree, 4 degree change is inevitable. That doesn’t give us the license to speed it up.  It makes it even more imperative that we do what we can to slow it down. To hold off the spread of the flooding and the heat waves as long as we can. To hope that we can rewrite this narrative, yes, but to acknowledge that even when the outcome doesn’t seem promising, we can and must do whatever we can to hold the line. I speak of joyful memories and the belief that they’re worth fighting for, but the other side of the coin is acknowledging that climate change causes real human and animal suffering. When we look for ways to live and vote more responsibly, we reduce the harm we’re causing and accelerate global warming a little less. So I choose to keep doing what I can, and when it feels futile, I think about the beauty of a single sea turtle getting to bask a little while longer in the sunshine because I pulled a plastic bag out of the ocean. And it helps me keep going.
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  • Hey 18+ Year Olds

      Is every eligible voter in your household registered to vote?     Voting with the environment in mind is one of the easiest and most effective ways to to be green. Let’s get out the vote and make a change in the world! August 15 is the deadline to register to vote in the next election (which is the September 4th primary).   We are encouraging everyone to vote, including all students (18 years old and up) in your household. If you have a current Massachusetts Driver’s License or State ID, you can register to vote here.  Otherwise, you can print out and mail in the registration form here, or register to vote in person at Wellesley Town Hall.   If you have students who will be away during the elections, they can apply for an Absentee Ballot.  August 31st is the deadline for applying for an Absentee Ballot for next election (September 4).  Your students can apply for an Absentee Ballot at the same time they register to vote. Absentee Ballots also work for those who know they will be out of town on election day, are physically disabled or have religious objections to the date. An Absentee Ballot can even be applied for by a member of the voter’s family!   So, if your registered college student is already out of town, you can have an Absentee Ballot sent to him or her by completing and submitting the form here. An Absentee Ballot will be mailed to the voter the same day the Town Clerk receives the signed request. Absentee requests may be filed at any time prior to the election, up until noon the day prior. Ballots will be mailed beginning 21 days prior to the election. If you require the Absentee 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, domestically). Voters may apply for an absentee ballot in person and vote at the same time, if ballots are available.  Absentee Ballots cannot be hand carried out of the office. Absentee ballots must be received in the Clerk’s office on or before the close of the polls on election day (September 4), so be sure to remind your college student to complete and return them on time!
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  • Its Hot Out There!

    Extremely hot days (and extremely cold days) put a strain on the energy grid, causing utility companies to turn to dirty fossil fuels, like coal and oil, to meet this “peak demand.” And, in order to be reliable, utilities must build enough infrastructure to meet this peak, even if peak demand is not reached most days. All this means higher rates for you (up to 10 times higher on peak days!) and more carbon pollution for the planet. With just a simple text or email alert, Shave the Peak empowers residential electricity consumers to unite for affordable electricity and a low-carbon future. Each member of this growing community is committed to reducing electricity usage at home on days when skyrocketing overall demand is met by the dirtiest and most expensive fossil fuels, or “peak days.” These actions advocate forward-thinking policies that can transform our electric grid. To sign up for these peak demand “alerts” simply go to massenergy.org and sign up. It will take less than a minute to do your part. Or learn more at a free webinar on August 7, at either 1:00 or 7:00 pm, sponsored by the non-profit Mass. Energy Consumers Alliance.
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  • Stop one of the Worst Plastic Polluters is “Styrofoam” (Polystyrene)

    In response to community demands, many companies from Starbucks to Alaska Airlines, as well as local shops in our community have pledged to reduce plastic waste. Let your favorite spots know that their customers care about protecting our ocean — especially from one of the worst plastic polluters, “Styrofoam”  — and ask them to pledge to stop using harmful single-use plastics. Help your local eatery be the next one by simply downloading this letter, printing, signing and dropping it off at local businesses where you shop! Click here to take action. Write one yourself as well.
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  • Make Your Own Rain Barrel Workshop TOMORROW

    Help your garden beat the heat this summer! Make-your-own rain barrel adapter kits from the Rain Barrel Depot are available for $25 through tomorrow — July 31st. Reserve your kit now on CRWA’s page here! A recycled syrup drum courtesy of Coca Cola’s Needham facility and weather-proof paint are included with each kit. CRWA will be hosting a workshop at their office from 6-7 pm on Tuesday, July 31st for anyone who would like to receive instruction for assembling a rain barrel. Anyone who is unable to attend the workshop will be welcome to pick up materials from CRWA’s office in Weston during our regular business hours.  
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  • In Praise of In-Person Shopping

    I did a lot of online shopping after my kids were born, and I admit there were some major perks. No lines, open twenty-four-seven, and no listening to my toddler scream to get out of the stroller so they could try to escape out from under the dressing room door. You have access to more inventory, more price-comparisons, and you can try things on in the privacy of your own home. But I’ve recently fallen back in love with in-person shopping. I’M MORE LIKELY TO BUY CLOTHES I LOVE WHEN I SHOP IN PERSON Being able to touch fabrics and try things on in the store means I’m more likely to buy items I love, not just clothes I like or that aren’t worth the hassle of returning. That means I’m more satisfied when I open my closet door to get dressed for the day or for an event, which means I’m less likely to go shopping again soon. (This is good because I would rather spend free time elsewhere.) I DON’T HAVE TO BREAK DOWN BOXES AND THROW AWAY BAGS I bring a large tote bag to carry around my purchases, and when I get home all that I have to throw away are the tags. (And yes, the paper part is recyclable.) Beyond the environmental impact of having items shipped to my house in plastic packaging (that Wellesley no longer recycles), it’s also less hassle. SPEAKING OF HASSLE — I MAKE FEWER RETURNS Because I’ve tried things on! How magical. I’m not being facetious, processing returns was my least favorite part of online shopping. Going home with only things that fit well and look good is amazing. IT’S EASIER TO BUY IN OUTFITS If I’m looking for shirts that will go with a specific pair of dress pants, I’ll wear those pants to the store. If I wonder how something would look with jeans, I can grab a pair in the store to try on with the item I might purchase. Buying with outfits in mind helps me build a functional wardrobe which helps me buy less overall, saving money and reducing my environmental impact at the same time. IT’S A GOOD LESSON FOR THE KIDS I usually don’t bring my 6 and 7 year old, but I try to sometimes, because I think it helps build their patience. (Ok, maybe mine too.) And I’m bringing them more and more to select their own clothing. I want them to have agency in choosing their own clothes so they can have smaller wardrobes filled just with clothes they love, too. BUYING QUALITY SECOND HAND IS EASIEST IN PERSON I’m not great at buying second-hand yet, but the best way to do that is in person where you can see a garment, inspect it for signs of wear, and make sure it fits. Buying vintage is one of the most environmental things you can do, but even if you’re not quite there yet, buying just clothes you love and wearing them for a long time can have a great impact on your clothes’ footprint!
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  • Students, Commuters, Everyone- Check Out New $1/hr. Bikes!

    Need to get into town quickly from school or get home from the train?  Now you can easily grab a dock-less Ant Bike and ride it wherever you need to go in Wellesley.  Find where the signature green bikes are in town on the app, ride it where you need to go, and simply leave it in a “legal” spot for only $1 an hour. Learn more here.
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  • DIY: DEET-FREE Mosquito & Tick Spray

    Thanks for the tip Charles! Looking for a DEET free way to keep mosquitos and ticks away? Charles found this formula while in the Dominican and says it works, smells great and oils last for many years. Give it a try: What you need: – Peppermint essential oil – Geranium essential oil – Lemon essential oil – Eucalyptus essential oil – Citronella essential oil – Lavender essential oil – 4oz glass spray bottle How to do it: – Fill the bottle with water – Add 20 drops of each essential oil – Shake and spray yourself as needed
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  • Action Update on Critical Energy Legislation in the State House

    Last week, Lise Olney and Raina McManus represented Sustainable Wellesley at a State House rally with more than 300 advocates who combined forces to advocate for clean energy and fair treatment for immigrants. The rally called for ambitious legislation on renewable energy and for provisions to safeguard immigrants in Massachusetts. In recent weeks, the House and Senate have passed very different energy-related bills and a House and Senate conference committee is now working to come up with a compromise before the clock runs out on July 31. We can still make a difference by calling Wellesley’s State Rep. Alice Peisch to thank her for her support for raising the increase in the Renewable Portfolio Standard to 3% per year, and to ask her to urge her colleagues on the conference committee to include this critical provision in the bill along with an equitable solar policy. To call Rep. Peisch’s office, dial 617-722-2070. A suggested script from 350 Mass is available here. The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is the state requirement that specifies the percentage of electricity that utility companies must obtain from qualified renewable energy sources. Currently, the RPS is at 13% and increases at only 1% each year. The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously and on a bipartisan basis to raise the annual RPS increase to 3% per year, while the House voted to raise the annual increase to only 2% starting in 2019, and then to reduce it back to 1% in 2029. This is simply not enough to achieve our state-wide goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Click here for more on this from Mass Sierra Club’s Emily Norton.) Please make your call today!
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  • Local Landscapers That Don’t Use Pesticides

    Looking for a local landscapers or yard management company that wont use pesticides on your lawn? Look no further. And Don’t Forget To Take The Pledge To Be Pesticide free!   http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/pledge-to-be-pesticide-free/. Arborcare Ropes ‘n Saddles P.O. Box 515 South Easton, MA 02375 (508) 584-2516 cbrodeur1@comcast.net https://www.arborcareropes.com Estate Gardners Wellesley, Massachusetts (781) 235-4130 https://www.facebook.com/EstateGardeners/ egardeners@aol.com Hartney Graymount Adam Cervin 433 Chestnut St, Needham, MA 02492 (866) 932-2057 http://www.hartney.com **have to ask for organic specifically Inspirational Gardens John Rice (978) 274-5633 johnrice@inspirationalgardens.biz http://www.inspirationalgardens.biz Organic Soil Solutions Mike Murray 38 Fuller Rd. Needham, MA 02492 (781) 937-9992 mikem@organicsoilsolutions.com & james@organicsoilsolutions.com https://organicsoilsolutions.com Pure Solutions Shawn Spear 582 Boston Post Rd. Weston, MA 02493 (781) 899-7873 info@puresolutions.com https://www.puresolutions.com Simply Safer Premium Lawn Care Inc. P.O. Box 1018. Wrentham, MA 02093 (508) 384-4444 {Toll Free: 1-866-GO-SAFER (467-2337)} http://www.saferlawns.com **have to ask for organic specifically Sweetgum Horticulture Catherine Volic Natick, MA (781) 591-2370 catherine@sweetgumhorticulture.com http://www.sweetgumhorticulture.com/contact.html
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  • Check Out the New Volunteer Opportunities List

    Sustainable Wellesley now has a new list of volunteer opportunities where you can make a difference in your community, have fun, meet new folks, use your skills, and learn new ones. There is a great variety of jobs; some require just a few hours of your time, once; while others are project based. See something you like here? Something missing that you would like to work on, write us at info@SustainableWellesley.com. You will be making a difference, using your skills and talents for good, meeting others in the community, working for a cause you believe in and helping others. THANKS  
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  • Babson’s Hidden Gem — Its Sustainability Office

    You may not realize this but our neighbor, Babson College, has had a sustainability office for 8 years working behind the scenes to make Babson a leader in sustainability.  We sat down with Alex Davis, Program Manager, GreenerU, Inc., who manages the College’s Sustainability Office to learn more about what is happening at Babson. “Babson will soon release its 2017/2018 Sustainability Report which looks at sustainability as it relates to the College’s academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration,” said Davis. “Although it might seem challenging to measure sustainability, Babson uses the STARS tool — used by higher education institutions — to objectively measure its efforts in sustainability,” Davis said. Babson has made substantial progress, and in some cases is a leader in higher education for some of its efforts including its hazardous waste management, electronics purchasing, and sustainable dining practices. The College has made progress in many sustainability initiatives, but knows it has an opportunity to improve practices further when it comes to efforts such as outdoor air quality, building operations and maintenance, renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as sustainable food purchasing. Babson has seen a growing number of students getting environmental sustainability certifications as well as an increase in applications for sustainability office internships. The number of water bottle filling stations is also increasing — now up to 27 allowing the community to get 275,000 refills a year.  More will be installed as buildings get built and renovated. There are also 12 car charging stations on campus that have been used by 73 different drivers from faculty and staff, to guests and students this year alone; producing 5900 miles of electricity power. To learn more about the campus energy, waste and emissions reductions efforts, click here.
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  • Cooler Hack: Bring Your Own Water!

    We’re in the habit of bringing our own water bottles everywhere, sometimes to the point of awkwardness. (Nice restaurants will serve you tap water in a glass, plopping your hydroflask on the table’s cloth napkin kind of detracts from the ambiance.) But what about day trips or long afternoons on the beach where one water bottle per person isn’t really enough? I used to bring multiple reusable water bottles for everyone in the family, but that got heavy and awkward. Now what I do is I skip packing ice packs in our cooler, and instead I use an extra large mason jar filled with ice-water. It keeps our snacks cold, and when we’re done eating, I can use the ice water to refill everyone’s water bottles. Wrapping it in a light kitchen towel helps prevent condensation from getting on snacks if that’s a concern! If it’s too heavy to carry, sometimes I’ll leave it in the car, knowing that we can refill everyone’s waters before we drive home. You can use ice cubes or you can put water in the mason jar and freeze it in a solid block. If you do the latter, make sure you don’t fill it all the way because ice expands and you don’t want to shatter a mason jar in your freezer. Also be aware that it might not melt in time for you to have enough water to refill your water bottle! There are also a lot of large insulated reusable water jugs on the market made from food-safe stainless steel; these might be a good purchase if they’ll help make it easier for you to avoid buying plastic water by the case to bring on your outings. They are also good for places that don’t want you to bring glass in, such as many amusement parks and pool areas. Look for them anywhere that sells camping supplies. But for me, having a mason jar of ice water in the cooler has made summer just a little easier!
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  • Make Your Own Frozen Burritos!

    Plastic-free July had me thinking about the places in my life where I still struggle with single-use plastic, and it is undoubtedly food packaging. It can feel like convenience = plastic. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Frozen burritos are a great example. They’re so easy to make yourself, and when you do that, you can eat leftovers when you’re craving a burrito instead of the day after you’ve made Mexican. The last time we had taco night, I spent a few minutes after dinner making burritos from all the leftovers. I made 10 burritos and froze them in parchment paper inside a rectangular pyrex container I popped in my fridge. They won’t last as long without freezer burn as they would in plastic wrap, but mine didn’t even make it two weeks before we’d (ok, I’d) eaten them with a little thrill of self-satisfaction at finding a healthy and delicious meal in my freezer that could be ready for me to eat in just minutes. The USDA estimates that 40% of food in the United States is wasted; what if we could get back in the habit of freezing our leftovers and eating them instead of packaged and processed convenience foods? Food for thought! How to: 1. Use room temperature or lightly warmed tortillas, they roll better! 2. Choose hearty fillings that freeze well; beans, rice, sweet potato, cooked spinach (but not fresh), refried beans, corn and sauteed red peppers are some of our favorites. Avoid freezing guacamole, salsa or leafy greens – those are best added fresh after reheating. 3. Roll your burritos and then wrap them tightly in compostable parchment paper to help keep the air out and keep them from sticking together. 4. Place them in an airtight freezer-safe container and pop them into your freezer 5. Reheating varies based on burrito size; unwrap them from the parchment and start with 45 seconds in the microwave at power level 7 on each side for small burritos, and up to 90 seconds on each side for larger. You can invert a bowl over the burrito to help steam up the tortilla if desired! Tip: Make some mini burritos for snacks – they’re a great savory hand-held snack for after a workout or to combat your mid-afternoon slump! You can even bring a frozen burrito to work if you have a microwave; it’ll stay cold enough to be food-safe until lunch time.
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  • Go Green With Your Sunscreen!

    Welcome to Kelly C’s lifestyle blog. Follow on her journey as she joyfully shares simple, real life solutions to lower impact living. You will be glad you did as she is funny too. Take it away Kelly… ______________________________________________________________________ We hope you’re loving the summer sun as much as we are! Looking for environmentally friendly sunscreen options? We’ve got you covered. Here are some ways you can go green with your sunscreen: 1. Look for sunscreens that are labeled “reef-safe”, especially if you’re going in the ocean. 2. Opt for zinc-based sunscreens when possible. Mineral-based sunscreens offer great protection and are the least disruptive to our health and the health of the environment. 3. If using a spray sunscreen is non-negotiable, look for one that contains just avobenzone and not oxybenzone. Whole Foods 365 makes a version with 3% Avobenzone that sprays clear. 4. Reduce your need for sunscreen by wearing a hat and long sleeved rash guard. Choosing clothing with an SPF rating of 50+ is the easiest way to stay safe in the sun – no need to reapply! Kids swimming in the pool will be wet enough to stay cool, and you can rest easy knowing their backs won’t burn. 5. Get the most out of your sunscreen by cutting open the tube so you can use every last drop, and choose recyclable containers when possible. Did you know? Oxybenzone is an ingredient in many sunscreens, but not only is it an endocrine disruptor, it’s also damaging to coral reefs. It’s such a hazard to our oceans that Hawaii is considering banning the use of oxybenzone sunscreens. Read a NY Times article about it here. Look for alternatives that are labeled “reef safe” – they’ll be safer for you, too. Check out the EWG Sunscreen Guide: The Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep database is an excellent resource for evaluating the safety of sunscreens and their efficacy. Their top kids’ sunscreen list includes a rating of it’s UVA/UVB balance as well as ranking the health concerns associated with ingredients. ThinkSport is one of our favorite sunscreen brands – the “Everyday Face” sunscreen is slightly tinted to help reduce the visibility of the bright white sunscreen after application.
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  • Call Today to Get Action on Clean Energy at the State House!

    The current legislative session ends on July 31 and the House is meeting in formal session this week! Please call today to urge Rep. Alice Peisch to make sure that energy stays at the top of the list of important priorities for the House. The Senate has already passed a far-reaching clean energy bill that could be a model for the country. We need the House to step up! Our partners at Mass Power Forward have created a suggested script — just click here and then make the call! Do it from the office, the beach, etc.
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  • Cool Summer Activity

    We just had a variety of fun fabrics donated to us. Let us know if we can give them to you to start sewing on one of these warm summer days for our Town-Wide Project. Sustainable Wellesley is looking for crafty Wellesley children and adults; sewers: novice to expert; anyone looking for a fun and easy community project. “We are creating beautiful, Japanese Furoshiki style cloths and reusable bags for a future, community gift wrapping event,” said Kelly Caiazzo, one of the organizers of the town-wide project. Here are the details: Cut a square piece of fabric a little larger than your desired size. 20″ and 28” are standard finished sizes, but in general any square that’s about 3x larger than the object being wrapped works well. Fold in each of the edges a quarter inch and iron; fold again and iron. Find instructions online for sewing mitered corners, follow and then sew around the perimeter of your prepared cloth in the middle of the fold. Flexible fabrics like thin cotton work best for tying. For instructions on hemming and three different corner options, click here. Please e-mail info@sustainablewellesley.com when you have completed some and Sustainable Wellesley will make plans to collect your cloths. Be sure to save wraps for yourself. To learn how to fold furoshiki gift wrap, click here. For a nice complement to Furoshiki (and one that doesn’t require any explanation for re-using!) the community will also be making Boomerang cloth bags. Check out the free pattern online here. Once you have created some for personal use, and some for the community, simply email Sustainable Wellesley to collect your the bags. Email is: info@sustainablewellesley.com. Feel free to organize your own sewing event. Might be fun with friends or new folks.. All are encouraged and welcome to join in this relaxing, community event where simple acts make a difference. Every year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used and discarded worldwide. Un-recycled bags plague the environment, greatly damaging the ocean as well as many other complex ecosystems. Since plastics take an average of 1,000 years to decompose, our waste isn’t going anywhere fast, so it’s up to us to help minimize our negative impact on the planet. Plus, the activity is relaxing, easy, and fun! Questions? E-mail info@sustainablewellesley.com.
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  • 2 Volunteers Needed from 12-3 on July 21st for July Jubilation 2018! 

    This year’s July Jubilation will take place on Saturday, July 21st, 9:30am – 4:30pm. We’re super excited for this annual community event and our collaboration with Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission and the Health Department. We would love for you to help!  This event is a great way for Sustainable Wellesley to share its message and spread awareness about sustainable practices that can be integrated into our town’s community. We will share a few messages day of but it takes NO preparation time. Just show up and meet some fabulous folks in Wellesley. Please consider volunteering from 12-3pm and help promote sustainable practices, engage town residents with our activities, and encourage residents to look further into how they can help Wellesley become more green. Any help is appreciated and even if you can’t volunteer we hope you can stop by and see what we’ve been working on!  Click here to pick a time slot. A big thank you to the Wellesley Square Merchants Association for welcoming the water station to July Jubilation this year. Simply bring your water bottle or just grab a drink from the fountains that day.
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  • #SkipTheStraw Update

    According to the World Wildlife Federation, at current rate of use, the amount of plastics in the ocean will literally outweigh fish by 2050. The 500 million plastic straws used each day are one of the top beach polluters, according to 5 Gyres, a global health nonprofit organization against plastic pollution in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Sustainable Wellesley is encouraging local restaurants to be part of the #SkipTheStraw Initiative and we need your help asking local managers to re-evaluate their use of plastic straws. A few we know of have already switched so swing by and say thanks to the folks at CocoBeet, The Local, and Quebrada Bakery.  If you know of more please let us know at info@SustainableWellesley.com. Please consider adding your name next to one or some of the 74 restaurants/cafes here in Wellesley that you would be willing to contact. Although some of these restaurants may not currently serve plastic straws, it is still beneficial to highlight the importance of keeping it that way. After adding your name to the document above, feel free to use these talking points  when talking to them. Many thanks! This is not a pipe dream. The city of Seattle is now straw-less and some local restaurants are planning to #SkipTheStraw too, including the Local in Wellesley and and many of Boston’s fun locations. Why the buzz? The average straw is sipped for only 20 minutes but it can take over 200 years to break down. Straws are very lightweight and often wind up in our oceans and on our beaches where they are a danger to marine life. Plastics never biodegrade — they just break into smaller and smaller pieces.
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  • Celebrate the 4th with an Easy Action for the Planet

    Here’s an easy action you can take this weekend: Write Wellesley’s state Representative Alice Peisch and ask her to support key environmental bills as the state House of Representatives gets ready to close out the legislative session on July 31!  Rep. Peisch has supported important environmental legislation in the past and she needs to hear from us now so she knows that these issues are a top priority for her constituents and we have her back. We’ve made it easy for you to write to Rep. Peisch — you can just copy and paste the letter below (edit as you wish!) and send to Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov. Please include your full name and address so Rep. Peisch knows that you are a Wellesley resident. Spread the word — please share this message with your friends and neighbors! Representative Alice Peisch Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov Dear Rep. Peisch, I am writing to thank the legislature for taking up energy and environmental policies and to ask you to please do everything you can to help enact these critical priorities.  Clean Energy Legislation:  In June, the Senate unanimously passed bold clean energy legislation (S2545), arguably the strongest clean energy bill in the country. This bill contains critical measures such as solar for all, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, Community Empowerment, and a plan to act on climate change. I am grateful that the Senate supported this bill and hope you will urge the House to take it up. Environmental Justice: I also strongly support the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Act, H2913/S426, which is currently pending in House Ways and Means. Please urge Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez of the Ways and Means committee to release this bill and press forward for environmental justice. Plastic Pollution Reduction: Please also ask Rep. Sánchez to move the statewide bag bill, H4234 An Act Reducing Plastic Pollution, out of Ways and Means. As you know, Wellesley passed a bag bylaw in 2016 — one of 79 Massachusetts cities and towns that have done so. Without any regulations, Massachusetts residents would discard more 3.6 billion plastic bags per year. These bags are clogging our gutters, littering our landscape, and killing birds and other wildlife — and now that China has stopped accepting plastic waste, the bags are essentially not recyclable.   Thank you for your attention to these environmental priorities, YOUR NAME
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  • Wellesley Water & Energy

    WATER As of July 1, Wellesley’s sewer rates will rise based on the amount of water you use. See the letter sent to your home or email with your recent bill for more specifics. Use this as a discussion point with your family to use less water in your home as a measure of conservation and cost. Here are a few tips from the EPA. ENERGY In addition, Wellesley’s Municipal Light Plant is working with National Grid to offer energy assessments which can help you save energy and money. Learn more here and below. From National Gird: Drafty rooms, noisy appliances, groaning boilers—ever wonder if your home is trying to tell you something? Maybe it’s time to find out with a no-cost Home Energy Assessment. Your National Grid Energy Specialist will come to your home, complete an attic-to-basement evaluation, and provide a custom home energy report outlining recommended energy efficiency improvements. Please call 1-855-891-9899 to schedule an assessment of your 1 to 4 unit home. In addition, you’ll receive the following no-cost upgrades: -7-day programmable thermostat or a no-cost or discounted Wi-Fi enabled thermostat -ENERGY STAR® certified LED light bulbs -Faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads -Advanced power strips -Based on your assessment, you may be eligible for:         -An instant incentive for 75% off insulation (or based on your household income, you could receive an enhanced offer of 90% off insulation). – No-cost air sealing of leaks in drafty areas of your home -Rebates of up to $3,500 for upgrading to qualifying energy-efficient heating, cooling, and water heating equipment -The opportunity to apply for 0% financing for eligible upgrades through the HEAT Loan program
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  • Take the Plastic Free July Challenge!

    For the past few years, our family has been taking the Plastic Free July challenge — spending the month of July making an intentional effort to reduce our single-use disposable plastic waste. The challenge has helped us focus on finding new ways to avoid plastic and we’ve been able to adopt those new habits throughout the year. We started with some simple changes such as switching to reusable bags, and reusable to-go cups and utensils. Then we moved on to things like bar shampoo (no plastic bottle!), crackers that don’t come in plastic (Wasa brand!), eliminating plastic wrap (use foil or beeswax wrap!). The Plastic Free July campaign started in 2011 in Perth, Australia, and has grown into a world-wide movement, involving more than 2 million people in 159 countries. Now that China has stopped accepting plastic waste for recycling, we all have an even bigger incentive to cut back to help keep our environment and our oceans from being overwhelmed by plastic. If you are wondering how you can get started, just visit the Plastic Free July website to find tips and answers to common questions. You can also find Plastic Free July on Facebook and Twitter (@plasticfreejuly). We’ll be writing about more resources during the month of July to help inspire you to #ChooseToRefuse plastic waste!
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  • We Won!

    The Wellesley Celebrations Committee announced last week that the Sustainable Wellesley float was awarded “The Best Organizational Float of the 50th Wellesley Veterans’ Parade”. Pete Jones, Treasurer of the Wellesley Celebrations Committee awarded the plaque to Scott Bender of Sustainable Wellesley. Thanks to all that contributed to make the float a success and to those who cheered us on during the Parade. Now we need to up our game even more. Let us know if you have ideas for next year’s float!
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  • Your Milkweed Is Calling You

    Just a quick reminder for those that have not picked up your milkweed plants yet, please do so as they are eager to be in the garden now! We have a few extra plants in case you have not ordered one and would like some. By planting milkweed in your yard, you are helping the monarch butterfly population. They need to eat milkweed to survive, plus it is a beautiful pink and white plant that attracts even more beautiful butterflies to your home! Please click here to order yours. Happy Summer. Send us your butterfly photos.
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  • Pollinator Garden Workshop

    The Wellesley Police Station will soon be the site of a beautiful new pollinator garden! The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission applied to the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) to host a garden and our community was chosen as one of three in Massachusetts for a garden installation! The Wellesley Police Department kindly agreed to provide the location. On June 26, NEWFS will offer a talk on pollinator gardening from 6:30 to 8 pm (the garden installation workshop from 1 to 4 pm is FULL). Come learn about gardening for pollinators using beautiful native plants adapted for our area. These events are free but space is limited so please register right away! For the lecture, please click here.
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  • 2 Clicks to Help Pass Clean Energy Legislation

    From Mass Power Forward: Last Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed the most ambitious and far-reaching piece of clean energy legislation (S2545) in the country. It includes key Mass Power Forward priorities: solar equity, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, a dedicated plan to act on climate change and reforms to push back on pipeline expansion. Click here to easily thank your Senator for supporting this historic bill, and urge your State Representative to take action. This victory shows the enormous public pressure to combat climate change––pressure YOU helped generate. But now we need the House to act. Please tell Your State Representative: Pass A Bold Clean Energy Bill Before July 31! Click here to thank your State Senator today and urge your Representative to take up the bill!
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  • Interested in Becoming Appointed?

    From the Town of Wellesley: Volunteers are, and have always been, an integral part of Wellesley Town Government. It is volunteers, elected or appointed, who make policy, serve on committees, give of their time and talents, and make the Town what it is. The Board of Selectmen are charged with making a number of these appointments to town boards which they do annually in late spring for the ensuing fiscal year that begins on July 1. Do you have a special interest in a particular area or a talent you are willing to share? Would you just like to become involved? We encourage you to contact us and make your interest known. The Board of Selectmen follow their Appointments Policy to select persons to serve on boards/committees, including: Council on Aging Cultural Council Veterans Council If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, you can apply online or download the application and email it to BOS@wellesleyma.gov, or mail it to us at Town Hall, 525 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482. For July 1, 2018 appointments, please respond by June 1st. To learn more about individual Boards or Commissions, please visit this page. Review this document for a list of current vacancies.
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  • Make A Call or Send Email TODAY

    From the Sierra Club: Clean energy and environmental justice are on the move! Please email and call your state senator TODAY. – There is a major vote tomorrow, Thursday.  (There is new information in this notice concerning the amendments.  If you have already called, calling again is not a problem.)  To find your state senator’s phone number, go to https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator The Senate will vote on S.2545, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, and on a variety of amendments. This is a bold clean energy bill with strong provisions for the Renewable Portfolio Standard and offshore wind. However, it can be made even better if several amendments are voted as well. S.2545 is missing: solar access for all, reforms to push back against pipeline expansion, community empowerment, and a comprehensive plan to combat climate change. Please call your Senator and Chairwoman Karen Spilka, Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov, 617-722-1640. Urge them to support the bill and the following amendments: Amendments 6 and 60 will push back on pipeline expansion Amendment 22 will empower communities and give new tools to promote renewable energy Amendments 41, 42 and 43 (by Senator Chang Diaz) will ensure all communities can access solar energy. Amendment 44 will create a detailed plan for achieving our 80% global warming pollution reductions by 2050. If you can’t call, please send your senator an email.  You can use the text below. SAMPLE SCRIPT/MESSAGE: Thank you for your dedication to clean energy and our environment. I support S.2545, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future which is strong on the environment and climate. Today, I am also asking you to support several amendments to the bill: Amendments 6 and 60 will push back on pipeline expansion. We must ensure Massachusetts does not burden ratepayers or our environment with costly investments in polluting gas pipelines. Amendment 22 will empower communities and give new tools to promote renewable energy Amendments 41, 42 and 43 will ensure all communities can access solar energy. I am calling to urge you to fight for equity and justice in our environmental policies. Amendment 44 will create a detailed plan for achieving our 80% global warming pollution reductions by 2050. Thank you for your support of our environment. Please support S.2545 and these amendments.
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  • Thank You Wayne

    We are sorry to share that Wayne Yee Mon has passed away. He devoted much of his time recently to helping to reduce plastic pollution in Wellesley. We are grateful for his lovely spirit, and dedication to the topic and fully appreciated his interest, efforts, ideas and compassion. His devotion to this cause, all while waiting for a heart transplant, shows his true passion for making a change. He developed this eco friendly products list, as well as data on where plastics are being banned as part of his efforts to get Wellesley to #SkipTheStraw. Our hearts go out to his friends and family. -Sustainable Wellesley Community  
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  • Use This Free Drinking Water Fountain @ Your Next Event

    The MWRA Free Drinking Water Fountain is coming to the Schofield Road Race this Sunday! This is the first time this very cool Water Fountain has visited Wellesley. Schedule this fountain for your next event. The fountain provides free chilled drinking water to public event-goers in Boston and other MWRA service communities. Just bring your own bottle or cup and fill it at the fountain for free, or try drinking from one of the old-fashioned bubblers. Either way, the water is fresh, local and safe, and you don’t have to spend extra money on bottled water or worry about throwing away an empty container. MWRA’s water comes from the pristine and protected Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs in Central Massachusetts. It is treated according to strict state and federal standards and tested every step of the way to your tap. If you are planning a public event within the MWRA service area and would like to book our free fountain, please contact Katie Ronan, MWRA, (617) 788-1177.
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  • Dining Out? Consider This…

    Thank you to those who have already have signed up to talk to some local restaurants. There are a few left so please take a look at this list and jump in where you can. Here are #SkipTheStrawWellesley Talking Points and a leave behind you can use when speaking with restaurant managers. Might be best to make time in advance to meet with them on their non busy hours. Finally, please use this form for EACH restaurant you meet with so we can keep track of the progress we are making around town. Big shout out to Hardy Elementary School’s 3rd Grade Girl Scout Brownie Troop (#72113) for their huge efforts to get our community to make small changes that have a big impact.                                       
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  • A Message from Sustainable Wellesley About June 5th Special Town Meeting

    On Tuesday, June 5, members of Wellesley Town Meeting will vote on whether to approve $1 million to fund a feasibility study for the reconstruction of Hunnewell Elementary School. There are many excellent reasons why the reconstruction of this school will help to maintain a high standard of educational services for our children. We believe it also makes sense from an environmental perspective. This project presents an extraordinary opportunity for Wellesley to take another leap forward in becoming a model for sustainability as we build a school for the decades to come. Technological advances have now made it possible to build a high performing, sustainable building within the same budget as a conventional building. A school building also happens to be a particularly appropriate application for net-zero energy design (defined as a building that uses no more energy than it generates). Net-zero energy schools have proven to – Save thousands of dollars in energy costs every year – Create valuable learning opportunities for students as the features of the building can be used for research projects – Enhance the sense of common purpose as the whole school community works toward reducing energy use – Provide a healthy and appealing work environment for students and teachers. For the past year, the Town’s Sustainable Energy Committee (comprised of members appointed by the Selectmen, and representatives of the School Committee and the Municipal Light Plant board) has been working with the School Building Committee on this project. Together, they have incorporated into the scope of the proposed feasibility study an evaluation of the most sustainable options for the Hunnewell site. We are confident that these options will be presented to the School Building Committee and that the priorities for educational services, fiscal responsibility, and sustainability will be in full alignment. We know that there are still issues to be resolved concerning Upham and Hardy. In the meantime, it is clear that Hunnewell is an antiquated building in poor condition that must be re-envisioned as a school for the future — both from an educational perspective and from an environmental one. Please contact your Town Meeting Members and urge them to vote for favorable action on Article 3 this week. Scott Bender, Mary Gard, Lise Olney, Quentin Prideaux, Phyllis Theermann, Sustainable Wellesley Leadership Team
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  • Felt the Love @ the Parade

    Thank you to all that marched in the parade and encouraged us on along the lovely parade route. We heard more shout outs and got more cheers than ever before, and are very thankful. We are grateful to Laurel for organizing us, the Bender Family for building the float, the Wellesley Wonderful Weekend Parade organizers and Dedham Tesla for letting us borrow the Tesla Model X. There is a great deal of environmental enthusiasm in town. Simply, email info@SustainableWellesley.com to learn how you can get involved.
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  • Update from The Sustainable Energy Committee

    ***Green Communities The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) agreed to fund both projects in Wellesley’s Green Communities Designation Grant proposal. A grant award of $137,250 will go toward an exterior light-emitting diode (LED) retrofit on the Department of Public Works (DPW) campus that will upgrade 116 lights, and an energy audit of the Town’s water and wastewater systems. The audit is expected to identify energy conservation measures that the Town will propose in future Green Communities grant applications. ***Sustainable Development Guidelines The SEC is reviewing development and building guidelines and policies for cities, towns and colleges across the United States. The information gleaned from this review will inform the process by which the Town of Wellesley writes its own sustainable development guidelines. ***Transportation Our new Assistant Superintendent, who will join the school department in July, currently directs the Weston Transportation program that is in house and she is very knowledgeable on the subject. The Transportation Working Group is meeting with the Transportation Director of MAPC (regional planning agency for eastern MA) to be briefed on a variety of issues including: collaborative models, the latest technology (e.g. a potential pilot for anti-idling equipment), school transportation models, programs to reduce single vehicle trips (e.g. bike sharing) and potential access to metrics that would better measure our success directly in Wellesley. Immediately afterwards, Ellen Gibbs, Chair of the Selectmen, will convene a meeting with the three local colleges to explore whether collaboration is possible on transportation programs.
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  • This Float Has Your Name On It. See You This Sunday @ New Location 🙂

    March with us in Wellesley’s 2018 Veterans’ Parade! This year, we’re celebrating the legacy of environmental champion Rachel Carson, by encouraging our community to stop using pesticides on their lawns. The parade is a great opportunity to meet new folks and enjoy a stroll through town supporting a cause you care about. Plus it is fun – simply show up, smile, and wave! Details: New Date– Sunday, June 3rd New location –See you near the intersection of Oakland and Washington St. @ Pole # 5, look for our signs. Looks like the weather will be lovely for a walk through our town! Please meet us at 12:30, the parade gets underway at 1:00. We have a fabulous float this year thanks so very much to Scott Bender for his work and enthusiasm!  The theme is Healthy Lawns = Healthy Kids! Please come and see the float and march with us! Bring the kids, bring the neighbors! We’ll provide signage or you can bring your own. Parade route is approximately 2 miles. Parking: at the Wellesley Public Works yard – entrance is off of Woodlawn Ave. Shuttle Bus: a big yellow school bus will be at the Crest Road Bridge (end of the parade route) to take folks back to the Wellesley Community Center. (Near the Public Works lot) Or you could leave a vehicle at the Wellesley train station parking lot. Please contact Laurel at laurellanders2003@yahoo.com if you, your neighbors, family and friends are interested.
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  • Make a Call on Clean Energy Today!

    We’re nearing the end of the legislative session on Beacon Hill. With so much legislation to consider, important bills on clean energy must be strengthened and they may get lost in shuffle unless we act now! Let’s make sure that Rep. Alice Peisch — Wellesley’s state representative — knows how important clean energy is to Wellesley voters. Please give her office a call to express you support for key clean energy legislation. Call 617-722-2070 and ask for Rep. Peisch’s office. CLICK HERE FOR AN EASY CALL SCRIPT created by our partners at Mass Power Forward. Rep. Peisch has been a supporter of clean energy in the past and we need her support again now. Please make your call today and thanks for taking action on clean energy!
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  • Action Requested on Gas Leaks Near Schools

    The Wellesley School Committee recently sent this letter to National Grid at the request of the Natural Resources Commission and Wellesley Green Schools, asking that the utility company take action on gas leaks near Wellesley schools and preschools. An independent survey by the NRC last year revealed extensive leaks throughout town, including a number of leaks in or near school zones. Click here for a map showing Town-wide gas leak data Earlier this month, the NRC invited Zeyneb Magavi, Research Director for HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Team), to speak at the Wellesley’s Green Collaborative about the state-wide efforts to address gas leaks. Ms. Magavi spoke about the partnership HEET has formed with gas companies National Grid, Eversource, and Columbia Gas to devise a reliable method to identify the largest volume gas leaks for urgent repair. She also explained HEET’s efforts to help homeowners and builders transition from fracked gas to electricity for heating and cooling, and appliances. She also addressed the serious issue of fracking – the process of injecting toxic chemicals and high-pressure water into fissures in underground rocks to extract gas. The gas we use in New England is fracked in Pennsylania. With HEET, Magavi is working to build relationships with families in Pennsylvania who have been devastated by the health impacts fracking. Click here for more on gas leaks in Wellesley. Thank you to NRC for this update
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  • Wellesley High Senior Projects: Lots of Sustainability Themes

    Many Wellesley High School Seniors take on a Senior Project during the last quarter of the year before graduation and once again, the sustainability theme was highly represented. From educating the public on the importance of bees, and getting WHS teachers off 400+ junk mail lists, to collecting data on the gas leaks effect on trees in town, and creating a video capturing all that Wellesley Students have done over the years, student’s projects show that sustainability resonates with many. Other projects included collecting WHS recycling data, a campaign to keep the playing fields clean, digital artwork creation, as well as green certifying classrooms. These are our future generation, and we are grateful.
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  • Fun at the Council on Aging

    Wellesley Council on Aging hosted the first sewing Bee to launch the Town-Wide Craft Project last week. An enthusiastic group created beautiful, Japanese Furoshiki style cloths and discussed how to make reusable bags. Crafty Wellesley children and adults; sewers: novice to expert; anyone looking for a fun and easy community project, Sustainable Wellesley is looking for your talent.  Less crafty folks are welcome to rummage through their closets and donate fabrics, bandanas, and scarves and/or join us to help cut fabric. This is a great relaxing summer activity for all. “We are creating beautiful, Japanese Furoshiki style cloths and reusable bags for a future, community gift wrapping event,” said Kelly Caiazzo, one of the organizers of the town-wide project.  Here are the details: 1. Donate Fabric Flexible fabrics are ideal! Stiff fabrics are hard to tie furoshiki style Fabric remnants measuring at least 20″ square work best e-mail info@sustainablewellesley.com to make a fabric donation 2. Sew Furoshiki Cloths:Cut a square piece of fabric a little larger than your desired size. 20″ and 28”  are standard finished sizes, but in general any square that’s about 3x larger than the object being wrapped works well.  Fold in each of the edges a quarter inch and iron; fold again and iron. Find instructions online for sewing mitered corners, follow and then sew around the perimeter of your prepared cloth in the middle of the fold. Flexible fabrics like thin cotton work best for tying.  For instructions on hemming and three different corner options, click here. Please e-mail info@sustainablewellesley.com when you have completed some and Sustainable Wellesley will make plans to collect your cloths. Be sure to save wraps for yourself. To learn how to fold furoshiki gift wrap, click here. 3. Sew Bags:For a nice complement to Furoshiki (and one that doesn’t require any explanation for re-using!) the community will  also be making Boomerang cloth bags. Check out the free pattern online here. Once you have created some for personal use, and some for the community, simply email Sustainable Wellesley to collect your the bags. 4. Email info@sustainablewellesley.com to organize or attend a sewing event.
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  • Do the Write Thing…Recycle Your Pens, Mechanical Pencils and Markers Starting June 1st

    Cleaning out classrooms or lockers at the end of school? Don’t throw away dried-up markers and pens – you can recycle them at the Wellesley Town Hall and the Wellesley Free Library starting Friday, June 1, 2018. The Natural Resources Commission is partnering with the Department of Public Works on a zero waste solution for old pens, pencils, and markers. Throw items into the specially-marked TerraCycle recycling boxes in the Town Hall Lobby and the children’s area at the Wellesley Free Library Main branch. TerraCycle will separate the components, smelting the metal and molding the plastic into new plastic products. Accepted items: Pens, pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers, marker caps, permanent markers, and permanent marker caps. Not Accepted: Wooden pencils, colored pencils, paint brushes, batteries, paint, pressurized containers, or medical sharps. Next time you shop for school supplies, consider switching to refillable pens, and use wooden colored pencils instead of plastic markers and highlighters to reduce your plastic waste! Questions? Email nrc@wellesleyma.gov
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  • MORE MILKWEED AVAILABLE!

    We have more. This time its the Asclepius syriaca variety. Order yours here. If you don’t know if this is for you, read this New York Times article and you will understand the Milkweed madness. LUCKY MONARCHS and lucky us!
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