THE GREEN DECADE MISSION
Our mission is to create an environment in better balance with the natural world by making significant, measurable improvements in the way we use resources. Goals include helping households, businesses and institutions to:
What People are Saying!
"Green Decade is a leader in the fight to protect our natural resources and preserve our environment. I am committed to working with this grassroots organization to help make Newton the greenest city it can be."
--Newton Mayor Setti D. Warren
- Increase energy efficiency and seek alternatives to fossil and nuclear fuels
- Use IPM and organic alternatives to pesticides
- Promote high performance (green) building measures
- Prevent pollution through source reduction and reduced consumption
- Promote reuse and recycling practices
- Improve waste disposal practices
- Conserve water and other resources
Our programs are designed to build awareness,to provide opportunities for public dialogue, and to educate and empower citizens to take personal and civic action.
WHO ARE WE?
Founded in 1990, the GD/N is a 501(c)(3) non-profit representing people living or working in Newton and neighboring communities, including representatives of community organizations, institutions and businesses. We are working together to create sustainable solutions to environmental problems facing our city and our world.
A few highlights of our accomplishments in the last year:
2009 Annual Environmental Leadership Awards:
- Individual Leadership Award: Mayor David B. Cohen for outstanding environmental leadership of our City.
- Business Leadership Award: Unidine for their commitment to fresh food and a sustainable food service program.
- Organization: The Silent Spring Institute, whose actions positively impact the health of our community.
Close to 700 people receive the monthly e-bulletins with information on upcoming events, educational resources and other pertinent information.
Environment Show on NewTV
Françoise LaMonica, Producer of the Environment Show on NewTV and her volunteer staff produced 4 episodes of the Environment Show hosted by Beverly Droz.
- July - Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with Ellie Goldberg and Ruthann Rudel
- September - Energy and Elections 2008 with Eric Olson
- November - Zero Waste with Lynne Pledger of Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee
- May - Bicycling in Newton with Dan Fitzmartin and Bill Aldrich
- June - Received a Red Carpet Video Trophy Award again this year from NewTV for Democracy in Action.
The TAB (Environment Page) continued to publish articles and information submitted by Lois Levin and other volunteer reporters.
The Green News continues to be published every 2 months, bringing readers information and substantive news articles on environmental issues written by volunteers. Louise Bruyn stepped down as a co-editor after 19 years of her outstanding contribution to the Green News.
Ad Hoc Committee on the Mayoral Election
The Public Affairs Committee with input from the Board of Directors has put together a list of environmental issues to help prepare a questionnaire to give to Newton’s Mayoral Candidates. The Committee will publicize the positions of the candidates so that the voters can form educated, “green” decisions when they vote for the next Mayor.
Art and Essay Contest for Newton Students
Mayor Cohen presented awards to winners of Green Decade’s 3rd Annual Contest for Energy Conservation in April. More than 150 Newton students entered this year’s contest. Prize money was generously donated by the following businesses: NSTAR, Chapman Construction/Design, GDF Suez, Byggmeister Design/Build, Boston Green Building and Swartz True Value Hardware.
The Bruyn Fund
Louise and Sev Bruyn approved a donation to be given to The Newton Schools Foundation in recognition of that organization’s outstanding work, especially for their support of a project to create commercial standard biodiesel in a new green engineering major at Newton North High School
The Eco-Team Project Committee sponsored three community wide programs for Newton residents. Eco-Teams include 5-8 participants who work with “The Low Carbon Diet” workbook to reduce home energy usage. The Mass Climate Action Network has designated Newton as a Cool Mass Community that promotes Eco-Teams. GD/N and its partner groups have been organizing the Eco-Team Project with a goal to reduce Newton’s residential carbon footprint by 25% within the next three years. Two Green Living Teams have met this year in a more advanced program that uses the Green Living Handbook.
Environmental Speaker Series (Environmental Speaker Series Calendar)
In January, Robert Zimmerman, Exec. Director of the Charles River Watershed Association spoke on how Newton can comply with the EPA’s new storm water regulations. Amy Perlmutter, Manager UMass Lowell Clean Tech Initiative, spoke in February on Clean Technology. A film celebrating the work of Rachel Carson, “A Sense of Wonder” was shown in March (and at the Senior Center in June). Organic Gardening was the featured topic in April with a presentation by Ted Chapman, Risa Edelstein and Henrietta Light. Environmental projects of Newton Students and Students for a Greener World were featured in May and socially responsible investing in June.
Green Decade and The League of Women Voters co-sponsored 2 forums to review Newton’s trial program of automated trash collection, single stream recycling and Pay-As-You-Throw. Residents were informed as to how we can reduce waste and save money in the City’s budget for trash collection by increasing participation in recycling.
Urban Ark Seminars
Our two Urban Ark Seminars at the home of Elva and David Del Porto demonstrated green house living, wash water gardens, sewage avoidance, energy and water conservation and solar heating.
Green Decade and the Newton Historical Society co-sponsored Insulating your Older Home workshops at the Jackson Homestead in October and February.
Finance and Fundraising
The Board of Directors approved updated policies pertaining to fundraising and expenditures relating to projects, programs and events. GD/N raised funds from the sale of Whole Foods register coupons that customers purchased at the checkout counters during the month of April. Over $900 was raised from the sale of register coupons.
We continue to have over 400 paid members in a calendar year and offer complimentary memberships to students who entered the Art and Essay contest.
Documents were filed with the State to change our name to Green Decade/Newton
GD/N and the Newton/Needham Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored the 2nd Annual Green Business Expo in May. Awards were given to businesses for outstanding environmental achievements. Jim Gordon, President of Cape Wind, David Cash, Assistant Secretary of Policy, MA, and David Brown from WCRB-TV were the keynote speakers.
- The Committee organized GD/N’s 8th Annual Newton Solar/Green Homes Tour in October. Homes on the tour saw a home-scale combined heat and power installation. Other technologies featured were solar hot water systems, solar photovoltaic arrays, passive solar design and Sunwoo Kahng’s highly efficient LEED certified home.
- Eric Olson and Heather Tausig represented GD/N in appearances in Newton Public Schools often as ways to launch the light bulb fund raiser in association with NSTAR
- The Energy Committee in cooperation with the Newton/Needham Chamber of Commerce organized a tour and workshop at the Chapman/Design facility in Newton. The tour encouraged local businesses to take advantage of solar rooftop systems. All participants were given Eric Olson’s cd to encourage them to use more resources beyond what they learned at the event.
- Kyoto Project Committee is focused on helping the Mass Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) improve the proposed draft Statewide Electric and Gas Energy Efficiency Plans. The Committee is working with a consortium of residential energy experts to ensure the Plans contain specific quality control requirements, and better reporting of data in order to obtain concrete measurable results for home weatherization improvements.
Faith and the Environment Committee
In November, Green Decade joined others at Temple Beth Avodah’s first Green Fair and Trade Show for an opportunity to showcase the model green house from LDa Architects, as well as the “Magic Energy Bike”. Committee goals: Share greening initiatives that have been implemented in our churches and synagogues, encourage our houses of worship to band together to purchase environmentally friendly products and advocate for the formation of groups in our churches, synagogues and the community wide meeting where the Eco-Team Project was discussed. Teams will begin forming this fall.
Green Decade set up an outreach table under a tent twice weekly at Newton’s 2 Farmer’s Markets. Volunteers staffed the table to provide residents with a wealth of information on everything from organic gardening to the safe disposal of compact fluorescent bulbs. Eric Olsen provided special caterpillars to delight young children and inspire them to join Green Decade’s Caterpillar Club. The Magic Energy Bike has a new generator attached to the back wheel with an incandescent light bulb on one handle bar and a CFL on the other. Children learned how much more effort they need to power the incandescent bulb when they peddle the bike and how the CFL bulb is more energy efficient.
In September, Green Decade participated in Greenfest Boston, by reserving a booth and in June we also set up a booth at Newton Highlands Village Day.
High Performance Building Coalition
This group was formed to advocate for long-term sustainability in the new Newton North High School that can be best achieved through life cycle costing of all major systems. This year the High Performance Building Coalition met with the Mayor, Building Commissioner and the architects for the new school. We advocated to have the exterior walls and roof of the new facility meet very high standards of insulation and sealant required in order to provide an environment calculated to reduce the size of the heating and air conditioning system as designed. We were pleased that the final construction included a liquid wall sealant that met the high standard. We wrote an op ed piece for the Newton TAB that detailed the information about the green building elements in the new school.
Co-Chairs Peter Smith and Betsy Harper retired as chairs after this effort and turned the leadership over to longtime active members Deborah Crossley and Jonathan Kantar. Their recent efforts have been to successfully advocate for the Massachusetts “Stretch” (energy) Code, which will allow municipalities to adopt a higher standard than the existing state code for all buildings built within the city. The next step is to lobby the City to adopt the stretch code.
Organic Garden & Landscape Committee
In September, the Organic Garden Tour brought a number of visitors to see Ted Chapman’s large home garden, Newton’s Angino Community Farm, a peaceful nonsectarian Meditation Garden at St. Paul’s Parish and Rohna Shoul’s organic garden. The Organic Garden Committee organized children's crafts activities for "Spring in My Backyard" at the Newton Cultural Center as part of March Newton Unplugged, the showing of the film "A Sense of Wonder" for the March Speaker Series, and the lecture "Organic Gardening 101" in April.
Outreach at Whole Foods
During the month of April, including Earth Day, Green Decade had volunteers at both of Newton’s Whole Foods Stores to do outreach and encourage shoppers to purchase register coupons to benefit our organization.
School Outreach Committee
This Committee has grown in significant ways by establishing a presence at 9 of the Newton elementary schools and participating in citywide schools meetings including the citywide PTO council regarding environmental issues. Member schools have organized environmental clubs, expanded recycling in their schools involving many students. Energy Presentations by Heather Tausig and Eric Olsen promoted CFL sales. A Green Tip of the Month suggestion will be run in each school's PTO newsletter with a promotion for Green Decade. The Committee intends to work with city officials to convene a citywide summit to discuss environmental issues in the schools and how to improve and expand current efforts.
Students for a Greener World
SGW planned and participated in the Business Recycling Project for NewtonSERVES 2009, for Newtonville and Newton Highlands businesses. The students contacted businesses in both villages the week before the event, then picked up their cardboard & paper to be recycled and transported it to collection bins provided by Waste Management & Newton DPW’s Dept of Environmental Affairs/Recycling. In March, SGW coordinated 3 “green” events for kids and parents with the Newton Community Service Center and other organizations as part of Newton Unplugged. SGW volunteers helped at the Magic Recycled Box Workshop at the Library, “Spring in My Backyard Workshop” and the Bicycle Tune-Up Clinic for Kids. They have also helped at Temple Beth Avodah’s Green Fair and Trade Show and the Science Club for Girls “Reverse Science Fair” among other events.
In October, Green Decade and Bike Newton co-sponsored the movie “Contested Streets” with footage from London, Paris and Copenhagen showcasing how limiting automobile use has improved the quality of life with increased bicycling in those locations. The Transportation Committee and Bike Newton also organized a lively and well-attended Transportation Forum with the mayoral candidates in April at the War Memorial Auditorium. Green Decade was a sponsor of the Bike Newton Rally in May.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE E-BULLETIN
The E-Bulletin is an informative monthly newsletter sent via email.
P.O. Box 590242,
Newton, MA 02459