Friday, May 28, 2010

Green communities named by state

Getting cities and towns to shift toward clean energy was such a cornerstone of Massachusetts’ 2008 energy legislation that the law is named The Green Communities Act.

Those that meet five clean energy goals are eligible for millions in local aid, under the law. But state officials didn't expect many communities to make it right away because the rules were tough.

Yet today, Governor Deval Patrick designated 35 cities and towns as the Commonwealth’s first official “Green Communities” making them eligible for $8.1 million in grants for local renewable power and energy efficiency projects.

“These pioneers are notable not only for their commitment to a cleaner, greener Massachusetts, but also for their diversity," Patrick said in a statement.

Towns and cities had to adopt local zoning bylaws to encourage and speed up permitting for renewable energy projects. They had to agree to purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for their municipal fleet wherever possible. And the communities had to require all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet, as well as all new commercial and industrial real estate construction, to save energy by adopting new building codes.

The communities are Acton, Arlington, Athol, Andover, Becket, Belchertown, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Easthampton, Greenfield, Hamilton, Hanover, Holyoke, Hopkinton, Kingston, Lancaster, Lenox, Lexington, Lincoln, Lowell, Mashpee, Medford, Melrose, Montague, Natick, Newton, Northampton, Palmer, Pittsfield, Salem, Springfield, Sudbury, Tyngsboro, Wenham, and Worcester.

The communities' deadline for a piece of the $8 million will be on June 4; the grants will be awarded in late June.

The grants will help the communities “go further -- saving energy costs for their residents, reducing the environmental impact of municipal operations, and validating the Commonwealth’s reputation as a national clean energy leader,” said Ian Bowles, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary.

Each community will also receive a Big Belly solar waste compactor to be delivered in time for the summer parks and beaches season.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog Posted by Beth Daley

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hot cars are death traps for dogs

Five reasons not to leave your dog in the car this summer, even for "just a minute"

SACRAMENTO, CA (May 18, 2010) – United Animal Nations (UAN) is imploring pet owners to avoid leaving their dogs in hot cars this summer – a practice that can lead to serious illness and even death.
Leaving a dog in a hot car is dangerous and often deadly. Visit to learn more.

“Often people leave their dogs in the car while they shop or run errands, but doing so when the weather is warm can literally be a death sentence for your pet,” said UAN President and CEO Nicole Forsyth.Forsyth offered five reasons why leaving a dog in a hot car can be deadly:

1. Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet.

2. Even on seemingly mild days, an enclosed car can be deadly. In a Stanford University study, when it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees within one hour.

3. Enclosed cars heat up quickly. In a study by San Francisco State University, when it was 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car rose to 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 20 minutes.

4. A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees; a dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.

5. Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a car’s internal temperature.

Already this year, UAN has received reports of dogs like Snuggle, a Maltese/Lhasa Apso who was locked in a car while her owner visited a Tampa, Florida amusement park. When Snuggle was rescued, the temperature inside the car was more than 90 degrees and her core temperature was nearly 106 degrees.

·         To learn more about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars, visit

·         Follow UAN on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook.


What happens to dogs left in hot cars?

·         Exposure to excessive heat causes the body’s cells to stop working properly and release dangerous chemicals, which can lead to nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage and even death. Essentially, all of the dog’s organ systems shut down at once.

·         Signs a dog is suffering from a heat-related illness include:

    • Excessive panting
    • Excessive drooling
    • Increased heart rate
    • Trouble breathing
    • Disorientation
    • Collapse or loss of consciousness
    • Seizure
    • Respiratory arrest
Visit to get educational materials, like this visually powerful poster.

What is United Animal Nations (UAN) doing to protect dogs from the dangers of hot cars?

·         UAN operates, a repository of free resources to help people spread the word about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars.

· offerse educational materials, including:

    • “Don’t Leave Me in Here – It’s Hot!” fliers that can be left on windshields
    • Free downloadable posters that can be hung in store windows to remind customers not to leave their dogs in the car on a warm day.
    • A weather forecasting tool that indicates if it is too hot to leave a dog in the car.

What should people do if they see a dog in a hot car?

  • If the dog looks distressed (see above signs of heat-related illness), call the police, the local animal control agency or 911 right away.
  • Leave your name and phone number with the person who takes the call in case the responding officers need more information.
  • Go inside the nearest business(es) and ask the manager to make an announcement.

United Animal Nations (UAN) focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Learn more at

Green Your Laundry: Go Nontoxic

Whether you lug a bag to the laundromat or roll a basket into the garage, you've got to clean your clothes. But doing laundry consumes a lot of energy and water, so this week we're providing tips for an eco-friendlier wash and dry.

Tip : Choose Earth-Friendly Cleaning Products

You dump all sorts of fancy-smelling products into the machine with your clothes, but those commercial detergents are full of nasty chemicals that can end up in rivers and streams. Consider switching to a plant-based, biodegradable laundry soap (but beware of greenwashing) and don't forget to read the instructions on the container, because you may be using much more detergent than necessary. Worried about your whites? Instead of chlorine bleach, scan the store's shelves for a nontoxic alternative – and skip the fabric softener altogether.

Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tips for Line Drying Your Clothes

1. Use vinegar in your rinse cycle to avoid stiff clothing.
I often hear people complain that when they line dry their clothing (especially jeans and towels), it ends up stiff and scratchy. Using just a
half to three-quarters of a cup of vinegar per load, added just before your rinse cycle starts, will keep your clothing soft. Don't worry about any vinegar odor -- it disappears as the clothing dries.

2. Hang your shirts by the hemline, rather than the shoulders.
This prevents weird bunching at the shoulders, which is a pain to get out after the shirt is dry. Use two clothespins at the hem instead, and you won't have to worry about bunchy shoulders.

3. Don't fold clothing over the line.
Use clothespins, and clip all of your clothes to the line. Folding results in longer drying times and fold lines in weird places once your clothes have dried.

4. Don't crowd your lines.
If you're like me, you just want to get the laundry done as quickly as possible, and you might, maybe, sometimes do larger loads than you have room to hang. Resist the temptation, and give your clothing room on the lines. Crowding results in wrinkles and longer drying times, as well as weighing down the line (which could make your clothes drag on the ground.)

5. Freshen between washings.
If you have an item that you've worn, but isn't exactly dirty, go ahead and hang it out on the line to let it air out. For even more freshening power, make an
all natural linen spray, spritz the item, and let it dry. Double energy savings!

Line drying is easy, effective, and (dare I say it?) enjoyable. I hope these tips help make laundry day a little simpler.

Article courtesy of The Planet Green By Colleen Vanderlinden

Friday, May 21, 2010

Breaking News: Major Victory - Mass Ave in Boston to have bike lanes!

Groundbreaking victory - Mass Ave gets bike lanes!

This summer, there will be bicycle lanes on Massachusetts Avenue between Albany Street and St. Botolph Street in Boston.

With your support, LivableStreets has worked non stop the past two years to get bicycle accommodations included in the plan. Why is this a big deal? By showing that bike lanes can work on Mass Ave, we've proved they can be made to work just about anywhere else too! Bicycle lanes are one vital piece in a world-class transportation network.

This is a major victory for bicycling in Boston! Thank you Massachusetts Department of Transportation and City of Boston!


City of Boston and Massachusetts Department of Transportation announce Mass Ave bicycle lanes this morning at Mayor Menino's Bike Friday Festival!

Left to right: MassDOT Highway Administrator, MassDOT Secretary of Transportation, Boston Transportation Commissioner, Boston Chief of Policy & Planning, LivableStreets Director

We are witnessing a growing wave of interest in walking, bicycling, public transit and livable communities. This weeks big wins are just an example - new secure bike parking at South Station, bike lanes and bike boxes installed on Commonwealth Avenue and approved bicycle lanes on Mass Ave.

Never has there been a better time to show your support.
Join now! The more people that join the livable streets movement, the stronger it will be. Your contributions will be matched 100% by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, and your contribution will go directly to our campaigns for more bicycle, walking, and public transit infrastructure.

Already a member? Take the next step:
1. Forward this e-newsletter to 5 friends and ask them to sign up
2. Volunteer



Before After

(LivableStreets conceptual

by OZIIO design)

Damage lives on from 1969 Cape oil spill

Traces from barge accident remain embedded in marsh

WEST FALMOUTH — Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Chris Reddy rammed a plastic cylinder into the sticky mud of the Wild Harbor salt marsh and extracted 6 inches of muck.

“Smell this,’’ he said, taking a whiff. There, faint but unmistakable, was the stench of oil.

It’s been more than 40 years since the oil barge Florida ran aground on a foggy night in Buzzards Bay, spilling close to 200,000 gallons of fuel. Some of it is still there.

At the time of the 1969 spill, lobsters, clams, and fish died by the thousands, but most people thought the harm would be temporary, reflecting what was then the conventional wisdom.

Now, as the first tendrils of heavy oil from the leaking BP well begin to suffocate Louisiana marshes, Wild Harbor’s muck shows that damage can persist for decades in fragile marshes.

No two spills and no two coastlines are the same, but the long-studied Falmouth spill has helped scientists understand the vulnerability of marshland and prepare for oil disasters that coat wetlands, ooze down crab burrows, and kill the nurseries of numerous marine species

Read more--

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-The Green Blog by Beth Daley-Globe Staff

New report shows forest cover declining in New England

After almost 200 years of natural reforestation, forest cover is declining in all six New England states, according to a new report by Harvard Forest, the forest ecology research center of Harvard University.

The authors of the Wildlands and Woodlands report calls for the conservation of 70 percent of New England as forestland to adequately protect clean water, steel against climate change and ensure a woods industry – and sets out a strategy to do so.

“We’ve been given a second chance to determine the future of the region’s forests. This report calls attention to the pressing need to couple New England’s existing conservation capacity and shared land ethic with a vision for the next century in which forests remain an integral part of our livelihoods,” said David Foster, lead author of the report and Director of the Harvard Forest.

woods.jpgThe 70 percent would require a tripling of the amount of conserved land in New England, but would also leave room for future development, according to the report. It calls for conserving most of the landscape (63%) as working woodlands owned and managed by private landowners, and protecting a smaller portion (7%) as wildland reserves.

The regional vision has roots in similar report Harvard Forest did for Massachusetts that called to protect one half of Massachusetts - 2.5 million acres- in forest. 
Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-The Green Blog Posted by Beth Daley

How to Save Paper: Go Electronic

This week’s tips are about how to cut down paper use – there are many reasons to, perhaps the foremost of which is that much of climate change is caused by deforestation. Also, paper production consumes energy, and thrown-away sheets clog landfills. Here’s what you can do. 

Tip : Digitize Your Greetings

The rise of e-mail has saved forests’ worth of trees. Which is great – but perhaps it’s time to take the paper-saving up another notch. Are you willing to rethink social graces traditionally carried out with paper? If you’re planning a wedding, say, would you consider making your save-the-dates electronic? How about the actual invitations? Can thank-you cards be e-mailed instead of produced at a paper mill, printed, bought, and delivered? How do you feel about sending electronic special-occasion cards, like for this upcoming Father’s Day? A Google search turns up plenty of services for sending online greetings; our favorite is Pingg, which stocks stunning nature imagery.
Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

States losing to costly coal, UCS says

In 2008, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut spent more than half a billion combined on coal -- nearly three quarters of it imported from other countries, according to a study released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Cambridge-based research and advocacy group said its data shows that three dozen states are "collectively hemmorhaging tens of billions of dollars" a year on imported coal. The fossil fuel is considered a significant contributor to climate change.

Instead of using coal, the Union of Concerned Scientists recommended that states continue the push for renewable electricity-generating systems, like wind turbines and solar panels.

Of the 38 states reviewed, Massachusetts ranked third in how much it spent on international imports of coal -- $206 million to get the fossil fuel from Colombia -- and was also the largest user of coal among the three New England states in the study. Coal-fired power plants generate roughly a quarter of the electricity used in Massachusetts, compared to 15.1 percent in New Hampshire and 14 percent in Connecticut.

While the Bay State gets the bulk of its coal from Colombia, some of its supply also comes from within the US. In 2008, Massachusetts spent $1 million on coal from Colorado and $41 million on coal from Kentucky, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Much of the coal purchased for use in Massachusetts goes to one place, the Union of Concerned Scientists said: Brayton Point, a power plant in Somerset. It spent $214 on coal in 2008, the organization said.

Brayton Point, which is run by the Virginia-based Dominion power company, is the state's largest fossil-fuel plant, according to the company's web site, and paid more than $13 million in taxes this year. The plant, which employs more than 262 full-time workers, generates electricity using coal, natural gas and fuel oil, and produces enough to power 1.2 million homes.

Since it purchased Brayton Point in 2005, Dominion has reduced the amount of pollution the plant emits by installing an ash recovery system that offsets about 170,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year. The company also plans to reduce its water consumption and other air emissions, and said that by 2012 it will have spent $1.1 billion on environmental improvements.

Article coutesy of The Boston Globe -The Green Blog  Posted by Erin Ailworth

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The first official statewide Bay State Bike Week is in full gear! Weve already had awesome bike breakfasts and other events all over the state, with much more to come. The MassCommuter Challenge has blown away its goal of 125,000 miles pledged and is closing in on 200,000 miles! MassBike and MassDOT got together this year to throw a unifying umbrella over Bike Week, showing everyone just how many people want to get around by bike. Yes, you heard it, our state government is actively encouraging bicycling, and we really appreciate the collaborative effort this year. MassBike has been working hard to build a stronger relationship with MassDOT and other state agencies, and Bay State Bike Week and the Same Roads, Same Rules campaign are the most visible fruits of that effort to date.

Check out the calendar, get a free t-shirt or ankle reflector, grab a Same Roads, Same Rules spoke card, and have fun!

Click here to find events near you

Friday, May 14, 2010

EZRide Shuttle - Two-day Detour in Cambridgeport May 12 & 13

Due to unforeseen difficulties in street reconstruction, Brookline Street will remain closed to EZRide Shuttle for at least the next two weeks. In order to accommodate this construction, EZRide Shuttle will remain on detour through at least the end of May.

EZRide will detour by turning left onto Erie Street from Sidney Street instead of its typical right turn. The buses will return to regular route at the Landsdowne Street stops via Erie, Albany, and Pacific, Sidney and Pilgrim Streets. This is the same detour used during earlier road closures.

EZRide stops at Fort Washington (Erie at Sidney Streets), Cambridgeport (Brookline at Erie Streets), and Pacific Street (at Landsdowne Street) will be affected as follows:

Fort Washington: Stop moves across Sidney Street to the opposite side of the intersection.. The stop will be on Erie Street, outside of 200 Sidney Street.

Cambridgeport: There will be NO SERVICE at this stop during the detour. Customers at this stop should walk to the Fort Washington temporary stop at Sidney and Erie Streets (in front of 200 Sidney Street) for all service.

Pacific Street (MIT's Sidney Pacific Dorm): Outbound stop remains in place, and all inbound service will board at the Outbound stop as well.

We anticipate resuming normal service during the first week of June. An announcement will be sent when normal service resumes.

These stop changes are TEMPORARY.

We appreciate your understanding and patience during this detour.

For full information see EZRide service updates.

Charles River Transportation Management Association

P.O. Box 425255

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tips for Bike Lovers: Celebrate Bike to Work Day

Cycling is a great way to stay fit while reducing your dependence on fossil fuels. Since May is National Bike Month, this week's tips will help you get more enjoyment from your two-wheeled wonder.

Riding your bike to the office saves money, reduces your carbon footprint, and provides an energy boost in the morning. This month, you can connect with your local commuter community by celebrating Bike to Work Day, which is generally observed on third the Friday in May. If you live in San Francisco, Bike to Work Day is this Thursday, May 13. If you're a new cyclist, check out our tips for bike

Article courtesy of The Green Life (

Monday, May 10, 2010

Two-day Detour in Cambridgeport to affect three EZRide Stops

Please distribute to affected Commuters

Two-day Detour in Cambridgeport to
affect three EZRide Stops
Wed., May 12 and Thurs., May 13, 2010

On Wednesday and Thursday, May 12 and 13, 2010, the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works will close Brookline Street for two days to perform milling work on Brookline Street, in advance of full paving. This will result in street closures and other disruptions that will require EZRide Shuttle to detour away from Brookline Street on Wednesday and Thursday.

EZRide will detour by turning left onto Erie Street from Sidney Street instead of its typical right turn. The buses will return to regular route at the Landsdowne Street stops via Erie, Albany, and Pacific, Sidney and Pilgrim Streets. This is the same detour used during earlier road closures.

EZRide stops at Fort Washington (Erie at Sidney Streets), Cambridgeport (Brookline at Erie Streets), and Pacific Street (at Landsdowne Street) will be affected as follows:

Fort Washington: Stop moves across Sidney Street to the opposite side of the intersection.. The stop will be on Erie Street, outside of 200 Sidney Street.

Cambridgeport: There will be NO SERVICE at this stop during the detour. Customers at this stop should walk to the Fort Washington temporary stop at Sidney and Erie Streets (in front of 200 Sidney Street) for all service.

Pacific Street (MIT's Sidney Pacific Dorm): Outbound stop remains in place, and all inbound service will board at the Outbound stop as well.

Please be advised that an additional extended closure is tentatively scheduled for May 20-28, 2010.

These stop changes are TEMPORARY.

We appreciate your understanding and patience during this detour.

For full information see EZRide service updates.

Boston Bike Week and Hub on Wheels

Boston Bike Week May 17-21, 2010
Bike Week is just one week away. Kick-off the cycling season at Boston Bike Week, May 17-21. Sign up today!
  • Mayor Menino's Bike Festival, May 21
    City Hall Plaza, Boston, 7-9 AM
    Give your car the day off. Enjoy a guided bike convoy to Boston's City Hall Plaza, where you'll be met with a free breakfast from Boloco, a bike festival and expo with music and tons of free giveaways. While you're there enter for your chance to win a bike from GIANT Bicycles.
  • Bike Week Kickoff, May 17
    City Hall Plaza, Boston, 11:45 AM
    Join Mayor Menino and hundreds of cyclists to kickoff Bike Week in Beantown. Ride with Mayor Menino, participate in the ribbon cutting of new Commonwealth Ave bike lanes, and hear what's new in Boston.
  • Cities for Cycling - Best Cycling Cities, May 20
    Boston University's Jacob Sleeper Auditorium
    871 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, 5-7:30 PM.
    Learn what what Roger Geller from Portland OR, Jon Orcutt from New York City and Timothy Papandreou from San Francisco are doing to make their cities world-class bicycling cities. All are invited to a reception after the summit at Landry's Bicycles, courtesy of Boloco and Harpoon Brewery.
Free Registration for Boston Bike Week is now open. Keep riding all summer at Bike Fridays too. Sign up today!
TD Bank Boston Cycling Celebration
SEPTEMBER 26, 2010
Hub On Wheels and the TD Bank Mayor's Cup Pro Race, now on one spectacular day: Sunday, September 26, 2010.
Join us for the 6th Annual Hub On Wheels Citywide Ride. Bike down a car-free Storrow Drive, enjoy harbor views and hidden pathways, river greenways and Boston's wonderful eclectic neighborhoods, all in the company of 6,000 fellow cyclists. Sign up today!
The TD Bank Mayor's Cup Pro Race is moving to the same day as Hub On Wheels for an entire day-long cycling extravaganza. Watch more than two hundred of the top professional cyclists zoom around the action-packed course at speeds of over 30 mph and check out the Boloco Block Party on City Hall Plaza.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Boston University Bridge Closure

Evening/Overnight Bridge Closure

 Boston University Bridge

All traffic will be detoured to the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge

MassDOT crews will be moving ahead to the next phase of demolition scheduled for the Boston University Bridge Rehabilitation Project during the month of May. On Monday, May 10, 2010 through Friday, May 14, 2010 the Boston University Bridge, which carries traffic over the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston, will be closed to traffic from 9 PM to 5 AM on an as need basis.  Beginning Sunday, May 16, 2010 through Thursday, May 27, 2010 the bridge will be closed to traffic each week (Sunday to Thursday) from 9 PM to 5 AM.  In the case of Red Sox home games, all night work will commence one hour after the game end time.

During the night closures, All Cambridge-to-Boston traffic and Boston-to-Cambridge traffic will be detoured to the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. Buses and emergency vehicles will be permitted to cross the bridge. The upstream (Boston-bound) sidewalk will remain open during the bridge closure for bicycle and pedestrian accessCharles River passage will also be maintained. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and seek alternative routes during the closures.

At all other times, traffic has been reduced to one lane in each direction from Boston to Cambridge until further notice. The downstream (Cambridge-bound) sidewalk remains closed as well.

For transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT website at, the MassDOT blog at or follow MassDOT on twitter at