Jamaica Plain’s Herst Joins Boston Green Ribbon Commission

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The Boston Green Ribbon Commission announced the appointment of Rebecca Herst as associate director for resilience.

The long-time Jamaica Plain resident and former director of the Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL) at UMass Boston will bring extensive experience and expertise to advance coastal resilience and climate justice.

Herst will help advance all aspects of the GRC’s work to accelerate climate action in Boston, with emphasis on coastal resilience and climate justice. She will also help with strategic alignment across the GRC’s six working groups and Climate Justice Initiative, leveraging the GRC’s unique convening role among its network of private sector and public sector leaders at the city and commonwealth, as the pressure grows to meet 2030 climate goals.

The mission of the Green Ribbon Commission is to accelerate the implementation of the city’s Climate Action Plan by convening, organizing, and enabling leaders from Boston’s key sectors.

“Rebecca is a deeply respected leader in the Boston climate action community who knows how to get things done,” said Amy Longsworth, Executive Director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission. “She built the Sustainable Solutions Lab, a unique, cross-disciplinary center at UMass Boston to focus research and attention on climate equity, which strongly elevated that field in both theory and practice and boosted momentum in Boston. She has also played key roles on UMB project teams that, in partnership with the GRC, produced several important reports on projections for sea level rise and other forms of climate impacts on the City while providing recommendations for potential solutions. Rebecca’s qualifications and expertise – combined with her deep relationships in Boston and throughout Massachusetts – made her a perfect fit for this important new role with the GRC.”

Her background as a community organizer informed her work as she successfully brought faculty, adaptation professionals, and local leaders together. She established the Northeast Climate Justice Research Collaborative, a network of researchers around the region focused on climate justice, co-developed the Climate Adaptation Forum, a quarterly event bringing together a wide swath of the Greater Boston climate resilience field, and organized the UMass Boston Climate Justice Deep Dive, a semester-long faculty development program.

Prior to her work at the SSL, Rebecca worked on climate resilience issues at Boston Harbor Now, Harvard University’s Office for Sustainability, and the Urban Land Institute.

“I am excited to join the GRC in this newly created role of Associate Director for Resilience, which will draw from my experience working across Boston’s policy, academic, and business community to advance climate resilience initiatives,” said Herst. “The GRC’s mission and work are more important than ever, and I look forward to joining the team at this pivotal time. With strong leadership at the city and state level that are fully committed to addressing climate change and 2030 climate commitments looming, the time to take action is now. I’m ready to work with our Members to accelerate climate action, advocate for policies to meet our climate targets, and to build a more climate resilient Boston where everyone can thrive.”

Herst earned an MBA from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Carleton College. In 2020, she was the recipient of the prestigious Roy J. Zuckerberg Endowed Leadership Award.

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