The 2017 Mayor’s Greenovate Awards – Community Engagment Nominees
Learn more about the businesses, organizations, and individuals nominated for the 2017 Mayor’s Greenovate Award nominees in the Community Engagement category.
In order to reach Boston’s climate action goals, every resident and business must help. Empowering residents and businesses to take climate action in their own neighborhoods, and empowering and educating youth are two priorities of the City of Boston.
The championing of climate action in partnership with our neighborhoods will enable the City to adopt smart policies and programs that prepare the City for climate change, and drive further GHG reductions over the long term.
You can vote for your favorite Greenovate Award nominees, based on the description above, now through April 7th. Votes will determine the top 3 finalists, and the winner will be announced live at Greenovate’s Earth Day Party on April 19th — be sure to save the date and stay tuned for more details! Vote for Greenovate Award winners
Fabienne Eliacin – Downtown
Fabienne is the Environmental Services Coordinator at the InterContinental Boston Hotel; she works with local businesses and nonprofits to make sure nothing from the hotel goes to waste. From damaged linens, towels, pillows, unclaimed lost & found clothing, and food from big events — Fabienne finds a place in the community to donate to, including sending items to Haiti after natural disasters. Fabienne also encourages hotel employees in different activities, such as EarthHour or collecting soaps and bottle amenities to send to Clean the World for re-processing. Her goal is to make the hotel an example for others to help the environment, as well of supporting local nonprofits.
Codman Square Library Seniors Organic Vegetable Garden – Dorchester
Andrea Burns spearheaded an intergovernmental team –that included Patricia McCormack of the Elderly Commission, Friends of the Codman Square Library, Norfolk Hardware, Home Depot – South Bay, City Councilor Frank Baker, Jim Sheehan of the Boston Park Department, and City of Boston Dream Team– and was able to build raised organic vegetable beds on land in back of the Codman Square Library for the seniors in the community with a zero dollar budget. In addition to working on the project itself, Andrea Burns fielded a team from Boston Center for Youth and Families, young people, Patricia and the Friends of the Codman Square Library. Through the salvage operation and construction, and the planting of the beds the project displayed an amazing collaboration between interdepartmental cooperation, neighborhood engagement, the support of Codman Square Librarian Janice Knight and the passion and commitment of Carl and Arnetta Baty and other members of the Friends of the Codman Square Library. The beds are still up and waiting for the Spring season to start!
Sustainability Guild – Dorchester
The Sustainability Guild is a center to achieve inner-city sustainability and resiliency; it promotes equity, prosperity, healing, and beauty. The space is a jewel of the neighborhood, and draws from residents’ skills and assets where they offer movement classes, and host concerts and drumming circles.The vision for their new building which will eventually replace the existing one, will incorporate renewable energy technology, local flora and fauna, sustainable construction practices including LEED certification, include spaces that promote healthy living practices, and locally grown, healthy food.
Boston GreenFest – Citywide
In their 10th year, the Boston GreenFest is an annual 3-day festival which aims to educate and involve the Boston community in climate change actionand has impacted thousands of people over the years. Through the participation of eco-friendly, sustainable vendors and sponsors, groups all over Boston come together to interact with the Boston community. Furthermore, through the arts, the festival allows artists to express their thoughts, ideas and solutions to the wider community. It is the ideal platform for climate action community engagement, and I believe this festival should be honoured with this prestigious award. The event gives children and family a space to explore – science, robotics, music, art, fitness and fashion, among other themes, while also providing a stage for artists, dancers, musicians, fashion designers and others who want to share their message through art. Learn more about the Boston Greenfest on their website.
Magdalena Ayed – East Boston
Magdalena Ayed has been working on community engagement in East Boston for many years. In the summer of 2016, she launched Harborkeepers, a waterfront environmental advocacy organization dedicated to fostering stewardship of the Boston harbor as a way to build coastal community resiliency. Through the Harborkeepers, Magdalena is working closely with East Boston residents across the neighborhoods on initiatives that promote marine education, create environmental awareness through initiatives and community-led programming such as harbor clean-ups, marine science fairs, and by building a pathway to maritime and marine-related jobs for youth and adults. Magdalena is a strong voice for the future of East Boston’s waterfront!
Friends of Healy Field – Roslindale
Friends of Healy Field (FOHF) has been advocating and organizing for a community garden at Roslindale’s Healy Field since 2010. Of the 200 plus community gardens in Boston, there is only one in Roslindale. FOHF’s outreach found that there is strong demand for a second community garden in this densely populated, socio-economically diverse neighborhood. It will give people, 25% of whom are foreign born, access to land to grow food. As FOHF canvassed neighborhoods surrounding the Field, people’s eyes would light up when informed of the possibility of growing food nearby, and their excitement was palpable. For some people, having access to land to grow food will really make a difference on what they can feed themselves and their families. FOHF is poised to raise funds to build the garden in partnership with GreeningRozzie, after years of doorknocking, meetings, a community design process. The FOHF has received the support of Mayor Walsh and the Boston Parks Department.
The New Garden Society – Citywide
The New Garden Society brings farmers, landscapers, and horticulturists into Greater-Boston prisons to facilitate vocational training, transforming prison yards into diverse, resilient, productive landscapes yielding fruit, flowers and over 1,000 pounds of organic vegetables annually. Since 2013, The New Garden Society has worked in collaboration with the MA Department of Corrections and MA Department of Youth Services in building a bridge between local prisons, prison hospitals, and youth detention facilities and Boston’s vibrant green industry. The organization activates the compassion of local farmers, landscapers, and horticulturists in the service of expanded opportunities for our incarcerated neighbors, reduced recidivism, organic land care and ultimately, a healthier, more resilient Boston.
Coalesce – Downtown
Coalesce engages many schools in the Boston area, by bringing together stakeholders from all levels of an institution to help catalyze and strengthen their internal capacity to make sustainable change. They are committed to sharing best practices and encouraging others to take meaningful action. Founder, Sierra Flanigan has demonstrated this commitment by organizing multiple sustainability events providing a space where the community can engage and learn about the importance of climate action.
Operation B Fit – Dorchester
Operation B Fit aims to assist individuals and families develop a healthy lifestyle with nutrition and fitness guidance. Owner Michelle Cook also created Roxbury Rides, promoting exercise and cycling to work, and is committed to building better infrastructure for walking and biking in Roxbury and Dorchester.
Hike 4 Life – Dorchester
Hike4Life is a community-based organization focused on connecting African-Americans and the urban community to the great outdoors. Their motto: Out of the Hoods, Into the Woods! The mission is to service the under-served, and to erase the deficiencies of the nature-deficient, while focusing on changing the narrative of African-American engagement with the outdoors and nature.
Hike 4 Life hosts outdoor adventures customized for individuals and families. They offer hiking in the woods, urban hiking, camping, mountain adventures, outdoor education, children’s activities, and community events that take place around the greater Boston area.
Gas Leaks Allies – Citywide
The Gas Leaks Allies achieved real success in 2016 in our campaign to fix gas leaks by mounting a creative, sustained campaign pressing utilities to accelerate repairs.
The Problem. Boston’s underground gas pipes were laid in the 1800s and are among the oldest and leakiest in the US. The leaked gas is methane – 86x more potent than carbon dioxide in its first 20 years in the atmosphere. Not only is the gas a powerful climate-disrupter, it also kills trees, causes respiratory problems, and can explode. By the utilities’ own estimates, Boston had nearly 1,500 leaks in 2015.
Who We Are. In 2015, the Gas Leaks Allies coalition was launched – including representatives from Mothers Out Front (convener and chair), Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, BCAN, HEET, BU professor Nathan Phillips, Conservation Law Foundation, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Friends of the Public Garden, Green Justice Coalition, Community Labor United and 10 other groups. The group has met every other week for two years to design and implement a focused gas leaks campaign, with each organization bringing complementary skills including community engagement know-how, legal and policy expertise, scientific knowledge, and connections with key constituencies like labor.
What We Did. We built community awareness in a variety of creative ways: in addition to offering gas leaks slideshow presentations and writing letters-to-the-editor, we held a birthday party for Boston’s oldest leak, invited people on gas leaks “safaris,” organized leak-tagging events that engaged hundreds of people (including youth), and coordinated a twitter-storm targeting the utilities for their inaction on high-volume “super-emitter” leaks. We also engaged politically. We met with 11 of Boston’s 13 City Councilors and with their help, drafted and shepherded a gas leaks ordinance through the council. At the two public hearings for the ordinance, we turned out over 100 supporters, and organized effective testimony. We also pressed for stronger state legislation on gas leaks, working with legislators and their staff and attending and testifying at public hearings organized by the Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Utilities.
Our Accomplishments. These efforts resulted in several key successes in 2016:
- Passage of an energy omnibus bill including language requiring utilities to fix not only explosive leaks, but those that have a significant environmental impact. Governor Baker also issued an executive order on climate change that specifically included gas leaks.
- Enactment of a new City of Boston gas leaks ordinance requiring expedited, better-coordinated and safer gas leaks repair.
- Agreement by National Grid, Eversource, and Columbia Gas to work with us on a study of how best to identify super-emitters so that they can be targeted for repair. The study includes testing new technology to accurately measure methane emissions and sharing results nationally.
Union Capital Boston – Citywide
Union Capital Boston is a non-profit community engagement loyalty program that builds pathways out of poverty by organizing community resources. We partner with community-based organizations focused on education, health, finance, and community development, and enroll their low-income members in our mobile app loyalty program. We reward members financially for taking actions — in schools, education programs, community groups, and finance programs — that strengthen family and community outcomes. We hire and train community leaders to connect UCB members with resources and to strengthen networks among them. Through UCB, low-income residents increase their community ties and financial outcomes. We are a model for organizing and engaging communities in the 21st century. unioncapitalboston.org
Mary Boyle – West Roxbury
Mary Boyle was a role model for civic engagement throughout the campaign to stop the construction of Spectra Energy’s West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline. Like other community members, she became aware of the project in the winter of 2014-15. She helped to start the grassroots group SWRL (Stop the West Roxbury Pipeline), and remains a member of the steering team. She also led a daily vigil at the construction site and was a leader with another grassroots group, Resist the Pipeline. She has worked tirelessly to empower her fellow residents to engage with elected officials and the news media to fight for prioritizing the community’s health and safety over corporate profits. She has been an inspiration for hundreds.
Martha McDonough – Hyde Park
Martha organizes the Neponset River Clean Up in Hyde Park every year, is on the board of NepRWA, started the Hyde Park Community Garden, and is involved in many other causes in the neighborhood.
Joshua May – Back Bay
Joshua has a passion for building sustainably, advancing the use of renewable energy, and bringing about awareness regarding the climate crisis. As the Founder & CEO of Reventure, Joshua is a forward thinking leader bringing a holistic approach to sustainability and climate resiliency/mitigation to businesses and municipalities. Additionally, Joshua and his partners have founded Building Brighter, a non profit that is working towards sustainable tiny house communities and tiny apartment retrofits to help those dealing with the tragedy of homelessness.
Apart from his business and non profit work, Joshua was a member of the New England Veterans contingent that traveled out to Standing Rock in support of the indigenous nations protecting their right to clean water on sacred lands. Upon returning, Joshua and other veterans formed Veterans Stand – New England and they continue to fight for economic and environmental justice throughout Boston, Massachusetts and the region. Josh is also heavily involved in local and national climate policy and activist initiatives. He and ReVenture are members of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA), working on and lobbying for the first statewide carbon tax legislation anywhere in the U.S. He has also been involved with and a speaker for the Climate Reality Project since 2013. Joshua has presented the now famous slidedeck presentation featured in the film, An Inconvenient Truth, to school groups, community organizations, and business associations across the region. Recently, in Denver, Joshua was honored with the Green Ring award presented by Nobel Laureate and former Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore. This is the Climate Reality organization’s highest honor and only the second time that the award has been given.
Michael Passariello – East Boston
High school senior Michael works after school as an integral part of the Community Building and Environment division of NOAH (Neighborhood of Affordable Housing). He has involved the East Boston community in several environment and climate change initiatives, including basement cleanouts in flood-risk areas, increased resident preparedness for flood emergencies, and urban heat effect mitigation through a tree canopy census.
Michael and his peers have also helped run a public summer kayaking program, giving people the rare opportunity to enjoy an outing on the water. Their work helps increase civic participation in protecting East Boston’s aquatic surroundings.
Michael and the other youth appear consistently in community meetings around East Boston, and represent environmental issues of concern for the community. Last year, Michaels’ community engagement led to a design that eliminated local congestion of traffic through the removal of the toll plazas in East Boston. Michael has gained the respect of his peers by insisting that they operate as a team, and receive recognition as a group for their accomplishments.
Boston Food Forest Coalition – Citywide
The Boston Food Forest Coalition (BFFC) creates edible food forest gardens. They bring together a wide diversity of neighbors through harvest festivals, potlucks, bbqs, workshops, and other community events. Volunteers work together on local stewardship teams, which ensures cultural preferences are honored. The BFFC, working in collaboration with Alternatives for Community and Environment and Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, brought neighbors together to clean-up and plant a food forest on a pair of neglected trash lots. To date, BFFC has helped with 125 garden raisings across the city – over 125 neighbors have joined hands to transform their unused yards into food forests.