Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Massachusetts to tackle plastic bag pollution

By Pam Sinotte

What do Brookline, California and Hawaii have in common? Each has enacted laws to reduce plastic bag pollution – and now we in the state of Massachusetts have the opportunity to do the same.

Trees festooned with plastic bags may not be very appealing, but the problem of plastic bags goes much deeper than the visuals. Consider this:
  • 100 billion single-use plastic bags are used each year in the United States, and Massachusetts alone uses 4.2 billion.
  • The 700 billion plastics bags used in the world each year contribute to global warming and climate disruption via fossil fuel energy used to produce and transport them and carbon emissions as they decompose.
  • Plastic bag pollution in our oceans causes $13 billion in marine damage yearly.
There are four bills in the Massachusetts legislature’s Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to reduce single-use plastic bags. The bills differ slightly, but all deserve our support. They are H. 663 – An Act to reduce plastic bag pollution (submitted by Rep. Lori Ehrlich), H. 739 – An Act relative to plastic bag reduction (by Rep. Denise Provost), S. 406 An Act relative to plastic bag reduction (by Sen. James Eldridge), and S. 434 – An Act to prohibit plastic carry-out bags by 2019 (by Sen. Brian Joyce). To read these bills in their entirety, go to malegislature.gov/Bills/Search.

Please email, call and/or write your state elected officials and ask them to support these bills in the Committee. Ask that these bills be sent to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. You can find elected officials’ addresses at Wheredoivotema.com. Please ask your friends to join the effort, and stay tuned for updates from GreeningRozzie.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recipes from the GreeningRozzie 2-21-15 Potluck

Want to re-create the delicious food we had at the GreeningRozzie potluck on February 21, 2015? Here’s a PDF of the recipes, including photos. 

The recipes:
  • Lentil Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Whole Wheat Biscuits
  • Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Chocolate Pecan Oat Truffles
  • Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
  • Southwestern Quinoa Salad
  • Cornbread
  • Pan-Fried Potatoes
  • Marinated Tofu

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mayor Walsh in the kitchen with GreeningRozzie

Photo by Renée DeKona
By Eric Smalley

GreeningRozzie members had a fun time cooking and eating together at the community cooking event on Saturday. It was also a great opportunity to share ideas for making Roslindale greener. We were joined by Mayor Marty Walsh, city counselor Tim McCarthy and Sheila Dillon, chief of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development.

We prepared and enjoyed a range of vegetarian dishes and talked about GreeningRozzie’s projects, including our plans to attract maker spaces to Roslindale. We also looked at a compilation of quotes from the mayoral candidates drawn from their responses to the Neighborhoods for Climate Accountability survey during the campaign. The quotes highlight many good ideas we’d like to see the city follow up on.

Mayor Walsh showed his stuff, both with a kitchen cutting board and in responding to questions about city environmental issues ranging from planting and maintaining street trees to next steps in the struggle to have our voices heard about the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline.

Photo by Renée DeKona
Here are more photos taken by the mayor’s office. Watch for future community cooking events.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Protesters mark route of planned West Roxbury pipeline

By Eric Smalley

A pair of protesters spray-painted a line along the route of the planned West Roxbury Lateral high-pressure natural gas pipeline last month. The proposed pipeline would pass through densely populated residential neighborhoods, including a stretch of heavily trafficked Washington Street, and terminate across the street from the active West Roxbury Quarry.

The intersection of Washington and Grove Streets in West Roxbury
Here’s Universal Hub's coverage of the protesters’ action:
Protesters don hard hats, wield spray paint in protest against West Roxbury pipeline

For the latest updates on the pipeline and efforts to block it, check out West Roxbury Saves Energy’s pipeline page:
West Roxbury Lateral pipeline updates from WRSE

Here are our previous blog posts on the topic:
Residents say no to West Roxbury pipeline
West Roxbury pipeline: health, safety and climate at risk

Grove Street, approaching the West Roxbury Quarry

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Spring Planting 2015 got Rozzie thinking green

By Pam Sinotte

On March 14th, many braved the cold and rain to attend Spring Planting 2015 where they learned about vegetable and flower gardening, neighborhood “green” initiatives, and even about making a healthy smoothie! Presented by Foundation for a Green Future and Green Neighbors Education Committee, Inc. and free to the public, the event, which took place at the Menino Community Center in Roslindale, featured a variety of vendors and non-profit groups. GreeningRozzie was one of the co-sponsors.

The Friends of Healy Field unveiled the recently approved plan for a community garden at the field.

A Boston Climate Action Network volunteer gave out free perennial collard plants.

Photo by Renée DeKona
Trevor Harrigan, of Green Neighbors Education Committee, Inc., listened intently as Pam Sinotte of GreeningRozzie explained that while a Styrofoam container that once held mushrooms can’t go into the recycling bin, it can be used for seed starting.

Photo by Renée DeKona
Ellen Fine’s healthy smoothies table was by far one of the more popular. Children from the Menino Community Center Afterschool Program helped make the smoothies.

Photo by Renée DeKona
The children also learned about planting.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Natural gas leaks worse than thought

natural gas pipeline warning sign
By Eric Smalley

Natural gas leaks in the greater Boston area are 2 to 3 times worse than previous estimates, according to a study led by researchers at Harvard University. The researchers found that 2.7 percent of the total natural gas distributed in the urban area, plus or minus 0.6 percent, is lost as gas leaks. Previous estimates put the figure at 1.1 percent.

The researchers continuously monitored methane emissions at four stations in the Boston area for a year, and developed a computer model to estimate emissions for the region. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The natural gas leaks account for 60 to 100 percent of the methane released to the atmosphere in the area, depending on the season. The emissions for the year totaled 15 billion cubic feet. The study put the value of the lost gas at $90 million.

The study raises the possibility that methane emissions from natural gas distribution and use are much higher than thought for the country as a whole. The Boston Globe quoted the study’s lead researcher, Kathryn McKain, explaining that the numbers don’t add up:
If federal estimates are correct, that would mean the Boston area is contributing to 9 percent of the nation’s methane from natural gas, the authors said.

“That seems pretty impossible, and it suggests the entire national estimate is wrong,” McKain said.

The new year brings new allies

Progressive Massachusetts logo
GreeningRozzie welcomes Progressive WRox-Roz, our new, local branch of Progressive Massachusetts. The organization lobbies the Massachusetts legislature and supports candidates to advance progressive political goals, including fair taxation, paid family and medical leave, Election Day voter registration, single-payer healthcare, and overturning Citizens United. If you’d like to get involved, sign up for the Progressive Massachusetts email list and ask Rachel Poliner to add you to the nascent Progressive WRox-Roz email list.

We’d also like to welcome Austin Blackmon, Boston’s new Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space. Blackmon's background is in the renewable energy industry. He holds an MBA from Harvard where he was a member of the Harvard Council of Student Sustainability Leaders.