Category Archives: Background

Background: Stormwater and Its Regulation

Stormwater: 

Stormwater is water that runs off the land when it rains or when snow melts. On landscapes impacted by human development, stormwater carries fertilizer, harmful bacteria, oil, gas, toxic metals, and salt into nearby waterways. Julia Blatt, executive director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, says in the Boston Globe, “Stormwater is the state’s No. 1 pollution problem.”

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Sustainability

When elected officials and Town staff in Acton are making decisions, they are thinking of maintaining health, welfare, financial solvency, and other measures of the town’s well-being. “Sustainability” takes those same measures, but deepens them to include future generations, and broadens them to include the wider web of life of which we are a part, including people beyond Acton.  Because of the intertwined environmental emergencies we are in the middle of, sustainability usually has an environmental focus: a large part of these emergencies arise from short-term and narrow thinking, and making progress on environmental crises requires a consistent focus on the wide and deep impacts of today’s decisions.

In 2017, the Acton Board of Selectmen voted during their annual goal-setting exercise to put the creation of a sustainability policy as their top priority for the upcoming year, and they asked Green Acton to help them think this through.

Background: Water in Acton

Water flows into Acton from rain and groundwater, and from a few small streams that flow into Acton. Continue reading

Background: Community Choice Aggregation

Community Choice Aggregation or CCA is a relatively new way for communities to bring the financial and environmental advantages of bidding for alternate electrical suppliers to homeowners and local businesses.  Continue reading

Background: Climate Change

Earth’s climate has gone through many changes.

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Background: the Nuclear Metals Superfund Site

From the EPA Superfund information site for Nuclear Metals

The Nuclear Metals, Inc. (NMI) property is located on a 46.4-acre parcel located at 2229 Main Street in Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The facility includes five interconnected buildings, a paved parking area, a sphagnum bog, a cooling water recharge pond, and a holding basin. The topography of the property slopes down to the north. The property is bordered to the north by Main Street, commercial and residential properties, and the Assabet River; to the east by woodland and residential properties; to the west by woodland and commercial/industrial properties; and to the south by woodland and residential properties.

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Background: Acton-Boxborough Farmers Market

http://www.abfarmersmarket.org/ Continue reading

Background: How to Measure a Town’s Carbon Footprint (Marlborough model)

In 2007, Jennifer Boudrie released a 65 page report entitled “Energy and Environmental Inventory For Marlborough, Massachusetts“. She shows how to use EPA formulas and data from utilities and the municipality to create a detailed carbon emissions inventory. The carefully documented details in the report give an excellent starting point for creating and updating an inventory for other towns such as Acton.

Background: Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting

Light pollution from excess artificial light causes problems for people and wildlife. Sometimes we cannot even see the stars because of unnecessary artificial lights shining upward.

We can reduce the problem through community awareness, legislation (for example, requiring shielding on outdoor lights), and improved lighting technology. Continue reading

Background: Kinder-Morgan Pipeline

This text was sent to the Acton Beacon by Green Acton when the Beacon asked for some background information on the Kinder Morgan/TGP pipeline:

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