While talk about sustainability often comes in the form of discussions about steel straws and reusable tote bags, there are lots of larger scale initiatives looking to promote sustainability and fight the effects of climate change. One such initiative is the Arnold Arboretum's installation of 1,000-plus solar panels. Video Courtesy of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
The Arnold Arboretum began operations in 1872 after Harvard alumni became trustees as part of James Arnold’s estate. The arboretum has since become a pioneer in research and ecology education, and is also home to 15,000 plants, with most species hailing from North America and Asia, according to the Arnold Arboretum's website. Research and education also remain a top priority for the arboretum.
If you've driven along Francis Parkman Drive recently you may have seen a sizable forest area clearcut by the city to remove dead trees, some of which killed by an insect that feeds by sucking sap from hemlocks. The removed trees were between the Francis Parkman Drive and Prince Street, including a hemlock grove and individual trees that were dead or failing, said Margaret Dyson, Director of Historic Parks for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The area looks to be several hundred square feet and is visible from Francis Parkman Drive. The culprit was the hemlock woolly adelgid, which is native to east Asia, where's it not a problem because natural predators keep it in check. But on America's east coast it goes unchecked.
On Wednesday, the city announced a wide-ranging plan with an eventual goal of having Boston be a zero waste city. The new plan includes launching a food scrap curbside composting program, extending residential yard waste options, increasing environmental education and more. "By implementing Boston's first zero waste plan, we will be a healthier and greener city for future generations to come," said District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley, Chairman of the Council's Environment, Sustainability and Parks Committee. "I am proud to have spearheaded the Council's efforts to institute curbside composting and textile recycling programs in the city of Boston and I look forward to seeing these programs develop even further." O'Malley added that expanding Boston's composting program will improve Boston's recycling rate, reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, while working toward carbon neutrality.
The next JP Fixit Clinic will have an extra facet added to its regular focus on helping people fix their broken household items. Clinic organizers will also be letting people know about the Digital Right to Repair legislation that is currently under consideration at the State House. The JP Fixit Clinic is organized by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council's Environment, Parks & Energy Committee. The JPNC sent a letter in support of the bill last year, which didn't make it out of committee. This year it has been reintroduced (read the text here). If enacted the bill would require digital electronics manufacturers to provide owners and independent repair businesses with fair access to service information, security updates, and replacement parts.
Jamaica Plain's City Councilor Matt O'Malley has called for a hearing to determine the feasibility of a textile recycling program in Boston. “Curbside textile recycling is another opportunity of sound environmental policy that can generate revenue for the city of Boston. The city of Boston can reduce our waste stream, greenhouse gas emissions and receive payment for the value of the material,” said O'Malley to Jamaica Plain News. Ever the environmental politician of Boston, O'Malley points out that 40 Massachusetts municipalities, including Brookline, Somerville and Natick have implemented curbside textile recycling. Those programs have diverted more than 2.2 million pounds from their waste stream.