It is April in Boston and that means the Sox are back and the Marathon is upon us. It also means Greenovate is gearing up to celebrate Earth Day and the Greenovate Boston Awards! For this month’s blog series we are highlighting past Greenovate Award winner in a series we’re calling where are they now?
We will continue to profile past winners throughout the month leading up to this year’s Greenovate Awards Party, which will be held on April 19th (save the date!). This week we are highlighting JP Green House located in the iconic Boston neighborhood Jamaica Plain. Read more about their organization and its founder Andrée Zaleska.
JP Green House is an energy-positive demonstration home, created out of a 100-year-old store and house on Bourne Street. Andrée bought the house in 2008, in an abandoned and derelict condition. With the help of an excellent team of young green-builders called Placetailor, Andrée renovated it into a house that makes more energy than it uses, via both active and passive solar technologies. You can read about the creation of JP Green House and its unique energy-positive features at JPGH.org
Along with the house, the JPGH garden was recovered from invasive weeds and utter neglect. It is now a thriving 1/8-acre growing space for fruits, vegetables and flowers.
The major project of JP Green House is a learning program called JP Green School. We teach urban gardening, green building, and sustainable living to young people aged 6-17. More information on this program is available at JPGreenSchool.org.
The JP House won the Green Building Mayor’s award in 2011. At that time the house was about half-finished! The award and the recognition of the city was a great motivator in the middle of a difficult project.
The work of JP Green House (and JP Green School) is twofold. The organization seeks to demonstrate the way an urban lifestyle might look “post carbon”–i.e. without being based on the use of fossil fuels. The house, the garden, and the school are all integral parts of this. Andrée’s family eats locally, travels only on the ground (no flying), drives minimally and engages with their community.
The second part of the work is actively opposing the fossil fuel industry. As an activist, Andrée works on climate change, and has been part of many campaigns in the city to reduce and oppose our dependence on fossil fuels–including the work of 350 MA Boston, and the campaign Resist the West Roxbury Pipeline.
As a way of fighting the despair that climate change can ignite in young people, Andrée encourages them to engage with the Earth directly. Gardening, hiking, camping, and any other outdoor activities put us in touch with the energy of the Earth–a powerful source of love and vitality. If they are also possessed by anger at all that their generation may lose to the greed of their elders, Andrée suggests that young people also engage with the climate movement. Good places to start are with the organization 350 Massachusetts (Better Future Project), and with Greenovate itself.
Young people are always welcome to visit JP Green House, to speak with Andrée or her co-director Kannan Thiruvengadam, about their concerns, their dreams, and their desire to engage. It is JP Green House’s business to guide young people through the difficult work of living sustainably, in accordance with the needs of the Earth, in these painful times.