Verdant Lawns, Quiet Neighborhoods and Public Health: Wellesley Starts a Conversation about Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
Amid a health crisis, three Wellesley organizations, the independent not-for-profit Sustainable Wellesley, Wellesley Natural Resources Commission and the Sustainable Energy Committee, have decided the time is right to address concerns about the use of gas-powered leaf blowers for routine landscaping. The conversation will begin on Tuesday, July 28, from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. with a Zoom panel discussion led by Jamie Banks, founder of Quiet Communities, Inc.
Some of the key concerns sparking the discussion: noise pollution that can lead to hearing loss; carbon emissions; dangerous exhaust and ground-sourced particulates from animal feces, bacteria, fungi, pollen, chemical lawn treatments; and damage to soil health and beneficial eco-systems.
Banks has worked with towns nationwide to shape strategies tailored to each community. In Lexington, that means phasing out municipal gas-powered equipment and replacing mowers, leaf blowers and other equipment with electric-powered alternatives. As the town transitions, the hope is that awareness will rise among homeowners who will adapt the same model. In Southampton, NY, all municipal properties are being transitioned to battery electric tools and certified as AGZA Green Zones®, meaning they are maintained routinely with low noise, zero emissions electric battery-powered equipment and manual tools.
“Every town has different needs and different concerns,” according to Banks, the environmentalist and health care scientist who founded Quiet Communities, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to protecting public health, the environment and quality of life by reducing noise and related pollution. “These conversations are helpful to determine which approach works in your community,” said Banks.
What’s Right for Wellesley?
Banks will be joined on the panel by Dan Mabe, founder of American Green Zone Alliance; Brendan McCue, Strategic Sourcing Manager at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Operational Services Division; and David Pinsonneault, Public Works Director for the Town of Lexington. All members of the community are welcome. Space will be limited so those interested in joining the conversation are urged to Register Today.
Wellesley's Municipal Light Plant has a great idea to help us reduce our Town’s summer electrical peak.
During the summer, there are a few days when we are all using a great deal of electricity. To meet the skyrocketing electric demand, the grid operator turns to “peaker plants,” the power generators of last resort. These power plants are generally the dirtiest and most expensive, running on gas and oil and selling their power at extremely high rates.
To avoid this, the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant is asking their customers (us) to help reduce electricity use during peak hours so we can avoid dependence on high carbon-producing generators.
Here Is how we can SHAVE THE PEAK
When an electric peak is forecasted, Wellesley Municipal Light Plant will ask us to voluntarily reduce our use of electricity during certain hours. They will share tips on how to accomplish that.
By doing this, we will also reduce our electric bill by using less energy.
To receive a notification of when a peak demand event is expected, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “shave the peak” in the subject line. There should be no more than 15 notifications sent this summer.
We have 30 beautiful, healthy milkweed plants for sale: 30 small and 6 large.
Please email email@example.com if you are interested in purchasing them for $5 each. First come first serve and pick up in Wellesley only.
Thank you to all who worked to support this Citizens Petition
Remember our last LIVE Action Meeting where we discussed the Citizens Petition to expand the Town’s Voluntary Renewable Energy Program (VREP)?
Well, great news...It passed! 158 Town Meeting Members voted in favor vs. 48 against.
This vote expresses our communities desire for the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant to enroll all town electricity customers in the program by adding a fee of 7% to the electric portion of the utility bills, with the understanding that any customer may opt out of the program, thereby avoiding the monthly fee. This article complements other current and planned measures by Wellesley’s Municipal Light Plant, Sustainable Energy Committee, and Board of Selectmen, as well as what is in the Town Unified Plan.
The passing of this Article will have a real impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while keeping Wellesley’s electricity costs 30% lower than the Massachusetts average. The Article will allow our Light Plant to fund voluntary renewable energy measures to be selected by the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant for their impact on greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Potential projects include purchase of additional renewable electricity, installation of community solar generation facilities, battery storage capacity, and electric vehicle charging stations, and other related initiatives.
Thank you to all who worked to support this Citizens Petition. Your efforts paid off.
What can we accomplish next?
Please join us for another action meeting on Zoom tomorrow night, Tuesday, June 30th from 7.30-8.30pm to find out what we can accomplish next. Feel free to invite friends, family, and neighbors to this meeting.
Please click here to get the link for the online meeting.
Sustainable Wellesley is happy to announce its next online action meeting on Tuesday, June 30 from 7:30-8:30pm.
Ready to “get together” and to “do something”?
Please click here to get the link for the online meeting.
The topics of this action meeting have been generated from the community’s interest seen in the survey earlier this month. Topics that will be covered include:
Feel free to invite friends, family, and neighbors to this meeting.
Please click here to get the link for the online meeting.
Want to eat more from your pantry and garden?
Ready to dabble into more plant based meals?
Sustainable Wellesley has created the EAT WELLesley Facebook page to share easy and manageable recipes as well as tips and tricks.
Eating plant based, even occasionally, is extremely beneficial to just about everything. Plant-based diets make a significant impact for you as an individual, our community, and the health of our climate. Whether you're a student moving into a dorm/apartment, a professional chef, the family appointed cook, or just someone curious about easy plant-based recipes and cooking tips, this Sustainable Eating page will offer some great ideas!
Get inspired with delicious, cost effective recipes, and prepping and storing hacks,.
This is a community page and encourages participation so please check it out and share your recipes and tips that you love! Share the news with friends, family and neighbors.
We realize there are many pressing issues.
That is why we want to know what is on the top of your mind.
This survey will allow us to gauge the vibe in the "room." Let us know what you are passionate about so we can connect our community members together with those that share similar interests and want to make a difference.
In this survey there is also an opportunity to let us know what date works best for you for our next online action meeting.
Our last meeting was incredibly successful and we’d love to see this continue with even more attendees for our next meeting.
We urge you to get involved; please start by filling out this 1 minute survey!
Your voice matters and your actions help make change.
Save the date: July 28 1-2 p.m.
Join us for a conversation about how lawn care practices impact public health. Jamie L. Banks, PhD, MS and founder of Quiet Communities, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting public health, the environment, and quality of life by reducing noise and related pollution, has worked with over 30 towns to mediate discussions with residents, professionals and town officials. With input from a panel of experts, including Dan Mabe of American Green Zones Alliance (AGZA), Banks will share ways her work has led to cleaner, quieter living in towns including Lexington and Concord, MA, Southampton, NY and Chevy Chase, MD.
ACTIONS YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE THE racial injustice and the disproportionate impact of THE fossil fuel infrastructure -- and other sources of pollution -- on communities of color
Want to take action to reduce racial injustice and the disproportionate impact of the fossil fuel infrastructure -- and other sources of pollution -- on communities of color?
Make a difference by taking some of these actions offered by Senator Cynthia Creem, WHS grad and Amherst College student Olivia Gieger, and LEED architect Ellen Watts discussed at the Sustainable Wellesley meeting last week.
FLEX YOUR POLITICAL MUSCLE
Senator Creem expects progress on the FUTURE’s Act-- delayed due to COVID-19 --to happen in July but said that pieces of the FUTURE’s Act is in the Next Generation Climate Policy that is currently sitting in the House. She recommends partnering with people throughout Massachusetts to get the word out about this Next Generation Climate Policy and urge lawmakers to move it out of the House so work can begin.
Mass Power Forward's virtual “Lobby Day” is Friday, June 12th. Please register TODAY for the lobby day. Never done it before? No problem, participants that register will have an opportunity to meet ahead of time and organize their meetings. Instructions will be provided. Then, participants will meet with their legislators (virtually) by region. The lobby day guide and meeting logistics/instructions will be provided to those who register.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS:
Olivia Gieger shared ways to stay engaged while at home. These actions are applicable to everyone but especially cater to high school and college students.
Want SPECIFICS? Learn more here and here.
NEW SYSTEMS, NEW HOMES, RENOVATIONS
LEED architect Ellen Watts spoke about innovations in sustainable construction including short payback with high efficiency and performing technologies. For example, heat pumps are energy and cost efficient in business settings and homes. Want to learn more? View the meeting here.
SO WHAT NOW?
As for what YOU can do now, click here for lots of options
WHAT MATTERS TO YOU?
WHAT SHOULD WE DO GOING FORWARD?
Hear what candidates have to say at the virtual MA 4th Congressional District Candidate Forum on Energy and the Environment. This will be divided into three, one-hour Zoom sessions to allow all 10 candidates to respond to crucial questions on environmental and energy policy.
Candidates will discuss their views on environmental protection, renewable energy, equity, sustainable transportation, climate resilience, and more. As a national leader in environmental policy, Massachusetts needs representation in Congress that understands and prioritizes building a thriving, green, and equitable Commonwealth. How our elected officials intend to manage our climate and environmental challenges must be a top issue in every campaign.
Registrants will have the opportunity to submit questions for the candidates at registration as well as live during the webinars. Consider that the HEET interactive GAS LEAKS map is updated, showing where gas leaks and repaired gas leaks are located in over 300 municipalities across the state.
All three sessions will be moderated by Clare Kelly, Executive Director of the ELM Action Fund.
June 9th | 12 PM - 1 PM EST
Ihssane Leckey, Jesse Mermell, & Ben Sigel
June 11th | 12 PM - 1 PM EST
Becky Grossman, Julie Hall, Alan Khazei, & Chris Zannetos
June 16th | 12 PM - 1 PM EST
Jake Auchincloss, Dave Cavell, & Natalia Linos