Category Archives: Green Acton Organization

Green Acton Retreat

Green Acton held its first retreat on Sunday, March 26, 2017, at the Assabet Valley Nature Preserve in Sudbury, MA.  The retreat ran from 10am to 4pm and was facilitated by Sarah Bursky, a community planner who works for the National Park Service.  Sarah has close to 20 years experience in capacity building for nonprofit organizations and networks, in particular in the areas of program management, conservation planning, and community engagement.

Attendees were Jim Snyder-Grant, Sue Cudmore, Lori Fassman, Debra Simes, Steve Long, Franny Osman, Sarah Bursky (facilitator), Debby Andell, Karen Herther, Sue Jick, Danny Factor, and Kim Kastens.

We spent the day identifying our top priorities and brainstorming about how to tackle our long wish list, how to engage new members and raise awareness about Green Acton in the community.

 

About the Green Acton Website

The greenacton.org  website is built on top of WordPress, a free and open source content management system that allows our writers and editors to work on portions of the website as if they were using a basic word processor. Continue reading

First Lego League Presentation

First Lego League 6th grade girls’ team presentation: Microfiber pollution of oceans. All from different schools. There are three parts to this team’s competition project: (1) the project they’re presenting today, for which they had to research a problem within the theme of interaction between humans and animals (“animal allies”). They chose how microfibers (tiny plastic shards from fleece clothing) can end up in the ocean, be eaten by organisms, and then move up the food chain. They did a presentation in the form of a skit; (2) a robot game, on the same theme (animal allies), in which robots have to complete missions; (3) sharing their project with their communities.

Microfibers are teeny bits of fabric, from fleece clothing, that shed in the washing machine, and often end up eventually in the oceans. Fish are eating them either directly or indirectly, and 700 marine species are in danger. The fish on our plate may contain microfibers. Microfibers have been found in beer in Germany.

Before water from washing machines goes to oceans, it typically goes through treatment plants. Yet, there are so many of these fibers in the water that even if they filter out 15% of them, the volume entering oceans is huge. Upgrading treatment plants is challenging and expensive. Scientists are working on making washing machines more efficient at trapping these fibers. The team reached out to 200 adults and a few kids and only a few knew about microfibers and their effect on the planet.

How to prevent? Wash clothes only when necessary, in full loads, in cold water, and at lower speeds/gentle cycles. Using liquid soap and fabric softeners helps. The fabric industry is researching fabrics to figure out how to manufacture clothes that don’t have this problem; Patagonia is the premier example. There is a product in prototype (available 2017) that would go into the wash and capture microfibers. Polyester (including fleece), rayon, acrylic, and all synthetic fabrics are the culprits; natural fibers (cotton, wool, linen) do not present this problem. The older the item, the more fibers it sheds. President Obama signed a law last year (which will take effect next year) that will ban the use of microplastic beads in personal care items, but that doesn’t include microfibers for fabric.

The team became interested in this problem — discovered by ecologist Dr. Mark Browne and published in 2011 —through an article they read in school. The team, which meets 3–4 times each week, was featured in an article in the Acton Beacon, and has shared its findings with the local community and the New England Aquarium. They have completed one regional tournament, and will now go on to statewide competition. The group will continue to work to raise awareness of this problem; they may do a presentation for the local schools and perhaps for the 2017 AB PIP-STEM fest.

For more info: http://www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge

Hosted Sen. Jamie Eldridge – “Green” Initiatives

At the October 2016 Green Acton meeting, State Senator Jamie Eldridge spoke on “green” initiatives and bills pending at State House.

  • Positive steps, if underwhelming, from last session

  • In Aug., Gov. Baker signed the omnibus energy bill, which included 1,600 MW of offshore wind and 1,200MW of hydropower.

    • Eldridge’s gas leaks language was included in this law., which requires that Grade 3 (low level) gas leaks be evaluated not only for safety risk, but also, for significant environmental impact, and must be addressed.

    • Not in the bill: an increase in the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard)

    • Not in the bill: a ban on ratepayers funding new natural gas pipelines

  • Solar net metering bill (a compromise) passed and was signed

    • Increased the cap on commercial solar, but not for community solar; helps the well off with big roofs, but not the less–well off.

    • Reimbursement rate was reduced

  • Water

    • Stopped the government from moving wastewater monitoring from EPA to DEP. DEP staff has been decimated, so moving to DEP would have been, de facto, a move to less monitoring.

  • Working on now

    • Zero emission vehicle bill. Will encourage by allowing to drive in HOV lanes and other advantages

    • Plastic bag ban. Didn’t pass, but will be back. Cities and towns are passing such bans, and the Massachusetts Grocers Association may soon prefer a statewide ban to piecemeal bans.

    • Gas leaks. Whenever the roads are ripped up for any reason, the utilities would have to go in and repair/replace old gas lines.

    • Pipeline issue. Prohibit companies from charging ratepayers for costs of new pipelines (Spectra pipeline still alive).

    • Droughts, and measures for response to future droughts.

Presentation on Electricity Aggregation

Acton Town Manager Steve Ledoux gathered together a small group to prepare a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen about choosing an aggregator. Continue reading

Green Acton Inc. – Officers and Board of Directors

Green Acton and ACES recently completed their merger to become Green Acton Inc. Per our general bylaws, we report to our Board of Directors.

Last NameFirst NameRole / Note / Contact
AndellDebbyTreasurer
CampoJosephCo-Treasurer (and not a director)
CerasoJane
CudmoreSue
FactorDanny
HertherKaren
JickSue
LongSteve
SimesDebraPresident
Snyder-GrantJimClerk, Co-President

 

Green Acton Bylaws

These bylaws control what Green Acton, Inc, and its officers and directors, can and can’t do.  Continue reading

Green Acton Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation are filed with the Secretary of State’s office. The two most important ones are also here: Article II (the purposes of the corporation) and Article IV (additional provisions) Continue reading

Jane Ceraso December 2014 public comments on the Nuclear Metals Superfund Site

EPA Public Hearing on Proposed Remedial Action Plan for the Concord, Massachusetts Nuclear Metals, Inc. Superfund site

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Other ACES Projects

In addition to the creation of Charlotte’s Garden and technical review, advocacy, and raising public awareness of the federal WR Grace Superfund Site, ACES was involved in many other environmental activities, including the following: Continue reading