By Jana L. Pickart
Jana L. Pickart moved to JP a year ago and currently helps lead the “Resiliency Measures Working Group” at JPNET.
Last summer 31 young people embarked on a seven-week bike trek around New England as part of the Better Future Project, documenting community re-localization efforts to address our nation’s fossil fuel dependence. At the end of the seven weeks, the six teams of bikers reconvened and shared stories about what our communities are doing to keep industry, sustainability, and resilience in our own neighborhoods. The results?
The bikers identified nine sectors of sustainability and detailed town-by-town examples of what neighbors are doing to keep our communities healthy. Each week for nine weeks, this blog will address a category on their list, beginning with sustainable economies.
What does a sustainable Boston economy look like? Well, for one, it means we reduce our utility use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. In 2010 alone, we produced 14 tons of greenhouse gas per person, slightly better than the 16 tons produced per person in the rest of Massachusetts. To counter these trends, companies like Renew Boston help reduce the need for energy in general by providing weatherization assistance and free energy audits for homeowners. In 2008, the Mass Green Communities Act required electric and gas utilities to help customers take cost-effective measures for energy efficiency.
A sustainable Boston economy also creates new jobs, training people for a green economy with skills such as retrofitting old buildings. The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston provides sustainability consulting to businesses that are concerned with their “triple bottom lines”—i.e. their environmental and societal impact. Taza Chocolate of Somerville teamed up with Metro Pedal Power, also of Somerville, to make local business deliveries by bicycle. Here we are, back full circle with the power of bicycles to re-localize our communities.
Next week, we’ll discuss sustainable food systems from community gardens to sustainable restaurants. In the meantime, jump on your bicycle and get connected to your local community!