Category Archives: Green Acton Organization

new Green Acton mission statement

Green Acton has revised its Mission Statement to be more comprehensive and robust:

Green Acton works to protect and enhance Acton’s natural environment and resources for present and future generations, and to help resolve the urgent environmental issues that transcend Acton’s boundaries.

Click here for the rest of the new mission statement.

It was inspiring to work with everyone involved to make sure it spoke to people’s values, concerns, and hopes. We hope it inspires you, as well.


Email Guidelines

Green Acton Email Guidelines
(still under review)

We value diversity of opinion

  1. Be kind, honest, and direct.
  2. Remember that what you write is permanent; all communications are archived.
  3. Try not to overwhelm people with giant volumes of email in a given day or week.
  4. Adjust subject lines to keep them relevant; double check cc: and to: fields for accuracy; using bcc is generally a poor idea.
  5. Comment on or criticize ideas, not people.
  6. If you think you have a personal or financial stake in a topic, disclose that stake in the same messages as your comments.

    The big no-nos:
  7. Do not cast aspersions on or malign people or groups of people.
  8. Do not promote personal or financial interests.
  9. Do not include in your email personal contact information (e.g., email addresses, phone numbers, et al.) for people unless you have permission to do so. It’s fine to use GA committee, director, and/or officer group email names and addresses.
  10. Do not endorse candidates for political office.

Administration and conflict resolution

Each email list has one or more administrators who can, in the event that an email seems to have transgressed these guidelines, contact and work with an individual poster to review these guidelines and help steer the individual toward adherence. If you see list emails that don’t seem to comply with these guidelines, please contact the poster directly, or contact the list administrator. If you don’t know who the administrators are, they can always be reached by contacting, who will pass messages on, or act directly if there is urgency. If you have concerns about the administrator or the Clerk, please contact the Green Acton Board of Directors at Emails to the whole list about one person violating a guideline should be a last resort.

The administrator of an email list can remove an individual from the relevant list if the administrator determines that the need is urgent, or has communicated about the guidelines with the individual on three subject emails and violations persist. Individuals may appeal removal decisions to the Green Acton Board of Directors; decisions of the Board will be final.

Privacy Policy

Green Acton Privacy Policy and Disclosure:


Green Acton respects your right to control your data. Any personally identifiable data you give us will be shared ONLY with the Green Acton Board of Directors, and, in some circumstances detailed below, other people involved in Green Acton. We will be thoughtful about contacting you. If you want us to delete your information at any time, just let us know by writing to We will NOT give your data to “trusted third parties” or other allies, or share or sell your data. We do NOT reserve the right to sell your data upon merger or acquisition. We do not anticipate changing this privacy policy, but If we do, we will notify you via email and give you a chance to have us delete your data in our records if you do not agree with the new privacy policy.


We are volunteers and amateurs, relying on tools (see below) created by others to store and protect your data. The most likely ways for your data ever to become public are either human error in the use of our tools, or via flaws in the tools themselves, misuse by the tool owners, or malicious activity by hackers. To help you evaluate whether or not to trust us with your data, we are disclosing the tools we use, the way we use these tools to protect your data, and our understanding of what information is protected and what is public. We are also including links to the privacy policies of the tool-makers.

How are your data collected and stored?

This policy and disclosure address the following ways in which you might interact with Green Acton and share some personally identifiable information, such as your name, email address, phone number, or personal preferences:

  1. the inbound email address
  2. group email lists, including:
    1. the two Google groups:
    2. various committee lists, for example:
      1.,, etc.
  3. the Green Acton website, a WordPress site hosted by, including:
    1. posting of articles
    2. the commenting system for posts
    3. the “contact us” form
  4. the Green Acton Facebook presence at
  5. any Green Acton sign-up forms you might have filled out (digital or hard copy)

If we have your name and contact information, such as your email, address, or phone, it’s because you have voluntarily provided it via one of the means above. We don’t do any automatic data collection, such as tracking who uses the website.

Your right to review and remove the data

At any time, you can contact the Clerk at, and ask to see what data we have about you. At your direction, these data can be updated or removed.

How we use the data

Your information is copied out of the systems listed above only for one of two reasons: to contact you to help support some part of Green Acton’s mission, or to store your information in a more-organized manner (to make it easier to contact you at some future time). We use the collection of networked products currently known as GSuite from Google, sometimes called Google Drive or Google Docs, to store your data in a more-organized manner. We send general announcements only to those who explicitly sign up for one of our email lists. If you have indicated some particular interest, we may contact you about that.

Alternate data storage available

If you request it, we will not copy your data into a GSuite document, and instead, store your data on non-networked software on a computer owned by a Green Acton director, or simply on paper. This information will then be used only for specific contact requests, and won’t be moved into GSuite storage unless you give us specific permission to do so.

How your data are protected

This email address is published widely as a way of being in touch with Green Acton. Email services at are provided by Google. We use the administrative settings to ensure that these messages are NOT archived centrally. Emails sent to this address are passed on to one or more of the directors’ personal email accounts. Those directors are bound by our privacy policy.

The announcements list is used to send emails to anyone interested in keeping up with general Green Acton information, such as minutes and agendas of our monthly meetings, and announcements of other Green Acton events or activities. These group email services are provided by Google. Anyone can join the list by providing an email address. We use the administrative settings to ensure that only administrators (owners and managers, in Google-groups terminology) are able to see the email addresses. Anyone can see the individual messages, so it is our policy not to include personal email addresses in those messages, except for the address of the person sending the email. The administrators are Green Acton directors or officers.

The discussion list is used to share information and discuss topics among anyone interested. Anyone can request to join the list by providing an email address. These group email services are provided by Google. We use the administrative settings to ensure that only administrators (owners and managers, in Google-groups terminology) are able to see the list of email addresses, and only group members can see the individual messages. Individual messages do contain the email address of the sender, and thus, other group members can see those email addresses.

Committee and other Green Acton group email lists

Each Green Acton committee or subcommittee, such as Plastics, Water, Land Use, Energy, et al., uses its own group email address for discussions of committee topics, and to allow those interested in a committee’s work to learn more. These group email services are provided by Google, as part of our GSuite account. In other words, these group emails look like Google groups, but use the name. We use the administrative settings as follows: anyone can read the emails; only committee members and Green Acton directors can see the complete list of who is on the committee list; anyone can see who a particular email is from. Green Acton has agreed that joining a committee list requires the agreement of the committee. One person on the committee, and the Green Acton Clerk, both have the actual administrative privileges to add someone. articles (“posts” and “pages” and “comments”)

The website is a site hosted by We use a copy of WordPress publishing software to manage the site. Much of the content of the site is in the form of  “posts,” each of which is publicly listed with the author’s name. WordPress also provides a commenting system, so that users who sign up for accounts can comment on articles. The connection between an author’s name and the actual email address of that author is maintained in a protected database on a server, managed by our copy of the WordPress software. The only personally identifiable information kept with WordPress is that connection between names and email addresses. WordPress installations are often targets of hackers. We update our copy of the software when there are security updates, to increase our chances of keeping ahead of any hackers. WordPress installations, including ours, are also built by installing “plug-ins,” additional bits of code to provide specific functionality. We have installed a number of widely used security-protection plug-ins to prevent, for example, spam users from signing up for accounts. We also update these plug-ins when we are notified to do so. The Clerk and one volunteer are currently the administrators of the website: it is especially important that administrators keep their passwords protected.

The Green Geeks terms of service disallow them from looking at our databases unless they have a reasonable suspicion that we are misusing the terms of our agreement with them, or breaking the law, as described below in their terms of service.

The makers of WordPress can’t see our files directly because we are hosting the files on our own server.

Some of the plug-ins can see our files, but these plug-ins are open source files that anyone can examine. A well-known plug-in is very unlikely to contain malicious code. Plug-ins from less-well-known software writers have this risk: we avoid using plug-ins at that are not widely used and well-reviewed. Facebook page

Green Acton uses the Facebook page to amplify a motley variety of general messages related to Green Acton’s mission. Most new WordPress posts are referenced in corresponding Facebook posts. As of Fall 2018, more people follow the Green Acton page than are signed up for the Green Acton announcements or discussion lists. Using Facebook, however, comes with a wide variety of well-publicized privacy risks, most of which can be managed by careful use of settings. There are many guides for doing so, including this one from Consumer Reports:

Green Acton Shared GSuite Google Drive files

There is a shared Green Acton Google drive with a large collection of files and folders. These are mostly used by committees to share information. Some of these files have been shared on the website or via widely distributed emails, and thus, are deliberately publicly viewable. Folders and files with private information are individually protected. The Clerk is the administrator of these files, but most also are editable by relevant committees or individuals. A risk is that files may have incorrect protections, or that protections are later changed to be public when they shouldn’t be. Another risk is that files or folders are shared with individuals rather than Green Acton lists, and are still shared with those individuals after they are no longer part of Green Acton. Still another risk is that some files and folders are set to allow people who do not need that access to change the protection status; there is also the risk that they may use it unskillfully. Some instances of all of these risks have been detected and fixed via periodic informal security checks by the Clerk.

Google itself has strong policies related to not using the contents of Google drive files for marketing purposes, along with notification policies to alert us of any changes in these policies. There is a large community of privacy activists who monitor Google and help the rest of us understand the changes that Google may make in the future, and how to protect ourselves in the present. A good place to start to learn about Google privacy issues is this Wikipedia article: Here’s one of many articles on how to use Google’s privacy settings to secure your data and protect your privacy effectively: sign-up forms

Green Acton has used a variety of electronic and paper sign-up forms for people to become more connected with the organizations and its projects. The paper forms are stored by the Clerk, and the information on both electronic and paper forms eventually makes its way to GSuite spreadsheets. This generally results in one or more emails, to the people who signed up, inviting them into various kinds of participation in Green Acton. To learn more about data risks of using GSuite spreadsheets, see the previous section.

Links to underlying privacy policies

Google’s privacy policies are here (includes Groups, Gmail, and GSuite):

Our web host for is Green Geeks:

Facebook privacy information:

(Approved 2018-11-13)

Green Acton/LWV Event: Panel Discussion of 1,4-Dioxane in Acton’s Water

The Green Acton Water Committee and the Acton-area League of Women Voters are sponsoring an educational panel discussion about 1,4-Dioxane in Acton’s water supply.

Continue reading

Admin Committee

The Admin committee meets about twice/month, usually during the day at local restaurants and cafes, to plan agendas for meetings, and to prepare and edit drafts of Green Acton policies.  The committee welcomes new participants. The committee can be reached at 

Land Use Committee

The Land Use committee generally meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month at Acton Town Hall. The committee welcomes new participants. The committee can be reached at  Continue reading

Energy Committee

The Energy committee meets as needed about once every two months. The committee welcomes new participants. The committee can be reached at  Continue reading

Plastics Committee

The Plastics committee welcomes new participants especially those concerned with issues relating to plastic bags, polystyrene, water bottles, and other forms of plastic waste that blight our communities. The committee can be reached at Continue reading

Green Acton Water Committee


Green Acton’s Water Committee works to protect and improve Acton’s ground, surface and drinking water, through information gathering, advocacy, public education, and collaboration with other concerned groups.  More specifically, the Water Committee:

  • Continues the work of ACES in watchdogging the Superfund sites that threaten Acton’s water quality
  • Monitors threats and risks to the quality of Acton’s ground, surface, and drinking water, from any and all sources
  • Monitors threats and risks to water quantity and water availability, including from overdevelopment, climate change, population growth, and neighboring towns
  • Gathers, organizes and disseminates information and data relevant to water in Acton
  • Works to overcome threats to the quality or quantity of Acton’s water  through citizen advocacy, information sharing, public education, and other means.

Get involved:

The Water committee meets face-to-face once a month, generally on the second Sunday of the month, 2:30-4:30  in the Acton Memorial library (double check GA calendar, however).  We also have an active email discussion group.  The committee welcomes new participants at our meetings or on our discussion list. For questions or to join the email group:  Continue reading


The group that became Green Acton was first convened by Ann Sussman in 2008 following a request from Lauren Rosenzweig (then chair of the Acton Board of Selectmen) to gather a team to advise the Selectmen on environmental priorities. Attendees at those first few meetings included Town staff, Selectmen, and activists from the Environment Team of the Acton-Area League of Women Voters (AA-LWV), Acton Citizens for Environmental Safety (ACES), the Acton Climate Action Team (ACAT), and the Outdoor Lighting Education Committee (OLEC).

Decades before Green Acton launched, another Acton environmental group had formed — Acton Citizens for Environmental Safety (ACES) —  to watchdog the WR Grace Superfund process with Acton’s well-being in mind.  In 2014, Green Acton and remaining ACES members began discussion about a merger, the legal work of that merger was undertaken in 2015, and completed in 2016. Green Acton inherits the legacy of ACES’ critical work on ensuring the safety of Acton’s water supply, and has increased its focus on this issue. Here is more about ACES.