Sustainable Wellesley members gathered in front of the Wellesley Community Center holding signs, and wearing safety vests and tape measures of the sort used by utility crews to draw attention to National Grid’s lack of action on gas leaks. The community center is located near a major leak that has been known to the gas company since 2015.

Last week, Sustainable Wellesley called on National Grid to fix the dozens of persistent gas leaks in Wellesley. The leaks emit vast amounts of methane, which is a dangerous and highly potent greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming.

Sustainable Wellesley President Quentin Prideaux said, “We first started looking at gas leaks in Wellesley in 2015 when there were 197 leaks reported by National Grid — now there are 261. The leaks are actually getting worse and we need National Grid to step up to protect our climate, our safety, and our health.”

The Sustainable Wellesley action was part of a larger effort across the Boston metropolitan area led by Mothers Out Front, the Gas Leaks Allies, and other environmental groups frustrated by the lack of progress on gas leaks. In Boston, more than 100 protesters gathered on Cambridge Street near a 13-year old leak. Activists are particularly concerned that National Grid has backed away from its previous commitment to identify and repair the largest volume leaks, sometimes called “super-emitters.” These large volume leaks make up only about 7 percent of the more than 16,000 leaks in the state but they emit roughly 50 percent of the methane. The other large gas companies — Eversource and Columbia Gas — have already begun using the accepted method for identifying and repairing these leaks, while National Grid has said it will not do so until next year.

Kelly Caiazzo

Thank you to all who attended the Sustainable Wellesley and Wellesley Natural Resources Commission documentary screening of Stink!.

We packed the Wakelin Room with approximately 70 attendees in honor of Rachel Carson Day on May 27th. That’s a lot more people who are now aware of the fragrance loophole and lack of regulation of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals in our everyday products! 

Vote your values! As helpful as it is to know how to buy safer products personally, sweeping change happens when busy consumers don’t need to do their homework because of protective legislation. If the film resonated with you, consider making chemical regulations and transparency part of your voting agenda.

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Below are some resources to help simplify the process of making safer consumer choices. Because kids should be worried about what’s on their pancakes, not what’s in their pajamas!

Resources: 

Apps for the phone: 

Silent Springs Institute App, Detox Me: https://silentspring.org/detoxme/

Environmental Working Group App, Healthy Living: https://www.ewg.org/apps/

Textiles: 

  • Oeko-Tex certification: https://www.oeko-tex.com/en/consumer/consumers_home/consumers_home.xhtml

  • Avoid flame retardants, look for pajamas that say “wear snug fitting, doesn’t contain flame retardant”

  • Tip: Google “oeko-tex certified _____” to find products, you’ll often discover brands and companies that way for everything from sheets to shirts

Cosmetics: 

Household cleaners: 

Someone asked specifically about dishwasher pacs – I use this powder in my dishwasher, but there are dishwasher pods & pouches listed in the EWG guide as well. 

Sunscreen:

  • Look for sunscreens labeled “reef safe” and avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate in particular

  • EWG Sunscreen Guide:  https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/

Lawn Care:

Video about Healthy Yards in Wellesley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xztcmcjH_f0&feature=youtu.be

Organic Landscapers that Service Wellesley: http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/organic-landscapers-servicing-wellesley/

Letter from the Wellesley Board of Health and NRC about toxic lawn chemicals: https://wellesleyma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14672/Joint-Letter-from-the-Board-of-Health-and-NRC-about-Pesticides-in-Wellesley-2019pdf

Reading Labels: 

EWG guide to label decoding: https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/decoding_labels

Stink! documentary resources page: https://stinkmovie.com/take-action/

Silent Spring Institutehttps://silentspring.org/

Sustainable Wellesley: www.sustainablewellesley.com

Wellesley Natural Resources Commission: https://wellesleyma.gov/418/Natural-Resources-Commission-NRC

Audience suggestions:

  • Consider googling soap nuts (soap berries) for laundry – some attendees have had great success, one person recommended ones originating from Nepal

  • When speaking to people to encourage environmental change, using language like “Would you consider…” is less likely to put them on the defensive. A great tip for initiating respectful conversations!

Additional questions: Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me if you’re having difficulty finding a product replacement or have questions. I’m not an expert, but I am an enthusiast who has found a lot of resources who are experts. I am happy to point you in the right direction or dive into the problem solving with you to find a solution that works. kelly.caiazzo@gmail.com

There’s also a local Facebook group where people swap resources and problem solve together to find more environmental solutions for living: Sustainable Living Wellesley Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/372633353537543/

Thank you so much to everyone who attended!

Jon Whelan, the film’s narrator and director, responded personally to our request for a non-profit screening license to show the film. I was able to send him the photo below from the event thanking him for the license and let him know how many attendees we had. Given how personal the film was for him after losing his wife to cancer, it was meaningful to me to share with him how many of you showed up to hear his message.

Thank you.

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Special Thanks to Raina McManus of the NRC for presenting, Dr. Michael McManus (Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry) for fielding the Q&A, and Sustainable Wellesley volunteers Ellie Perkins and Janie Penn.

 

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Preview YouTube video Healthy Yards in Wellesley