ACE Blog

Working for a just future at the Regional Sustainability Energy Summit

June 24, 2008

Over the past weekend, over 20 people from ACE and our partner organizations attended the 2008 Regional Sustainable Energy Summit sponsored by Co-op Power at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The green jobs contingent of ACE and our partners

On Friday, the Pre-Summit featured day-long lectures including green jobs training and networking opportunities. Speeches were delivered by Dr. Beth Sawin and Dr. Phil Rice from the Our Climate Ourselves Program at the Sustainability Institute, and Tina Clarke from Clean Water Action. Attendees also enjoyed a catered dinner and salsa dancing to a live Puerto Rican band. Read more...

Urban Ring: A transit injustice in the making?

June 20, 2008

Monday night in Roxbury, the state Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) held the last in a series of meetings about the Urban Ring. This proposed network of bus rapid transit (BRT) lines would run in a loop around Downtown Boston, offering connectivity for communities that are underserved by the MBTA's rapid transit routes.

A slide in the consultant's presentation on the Urban Ring

Employees of Earth Tech, the state's consultant for the project, shared how the Urban Ring would pass through the Melnea Cass corridor, using renderings and design guidelines from the Roxbury Master Plan. After passing through a tunnel under the Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA), the Ring would come above ground at Ruggles Station, then travel in a dedicated busway on Melnea Cass Boulevard. Some service buses along the Urban Ring would also include a stop at Dudley Station, running in mixed traffic down Washington Street. These presenters insisted that the Urban Ring would provide accessibility benefits to Roxbury residents and learn from the mistakes of the Silver Line Bus.

Despite problems with facilitation and misleading information about the format of the meeting, TRU members and Roxbury residents were able to raise some critical concerns about the project. Read more...

Diesel school buses to be cleaned up in Massachusetts

June 19, 2008

Last Thursday, Governor Deval Patrick announced a plan to install pollution control equipment on 5,500 diesel school buses by 2010.

Retrofitting school buses would improve the air and health of children and drivers

The initiative, MassCleanDiesel: Clean Air for Kids, will fund retrofits for all school buses through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The announcement was made in Lynn, MA, which will be serviced by newly retrofitted school buses operated by the first bus company to sign up for funding, the North Reading Transportation Co.

Though the program is voluntary, bus companies are encouraged to join to avoid any potential later costs. We are currently working to pass the Diesel Bill, which would require state and municipal buses and other diesel powered heavy-duty vehicles to be retrofitted by 2012. Read more...

Serve and Protect: Exploring interactions between youth and police

June 18, 2008

Youth speak about their experiences during the premiere

Last Thursday, Suffolk Law School hosted the premiere screening of Serve and Protect – Reframing Youth Police Relationships. The 35 minute film was created by the youth media production group of the YWCA Boston Youth Voice Collaborative. The film features interviews with juvenile justice professionals, teens, youth workers and MBTA transit police. It explores the relationship between teens and police, particularly within the Boston area, and how this dynamic is shaped and affected by the media.

According to the YWCA, "this film hopes to make adults and young people aware of the role that manufactured images play in the decisions they make about law and order, and aims to give everyone some tools to think critically about a more just society." Read more...

Boston Pride celebrates green theme

June 17, 2008

Floats incorporated green messages

This year's Boston Pride theme, "Sustaining our Community, Conserving Our World," lead the festivities of the LGBTQQIAA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally) community's annual celebration.

Running from June 6 to June 15, Pride featured green initiatives such as increased usage of recycled materials, encouragement of greener transportation like public transit, biking, and car-pooling, and plans to offset the 2009 event's carbon footprint. The theme also promoted health awareness and community unity. Read more...

Pictures from the Chelsea River Revel

June 16, 2008

Runners starting the 5K race through the Chelsea community

Over the weekend ACE staff, members and interns had a blast at the Fifth Annual Chelsea River Revel on the Meridian Street Bridge in Chelsea, MA. This event is "the one day of the year that the Chelsea Creek is opened to the community" according to the Chelsea Creek Action Group (CCAG), a neighborhood coalition of local residents in Chelsea and East Boston working on environmental justice issues.

Through tabling, music and boat tours, the event highlighted local environmental injustices such as the infamous "Salt Mountain," and was hosted by Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee, the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) and CCAG. See more pictures...

Green Jobs: How do we build this movement?

June 13, 2008

ACE is currently working with organizations in the Boston area like Community Labor United (CLU) on a campaign for local green jobs. We believe that the green revolution has major potential for training people in lower income communities and communities of color for jobs that will provide life-long skills and also make our air, water and land cleaner.

Interested in learning more? Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP) youth organizers will be presenting a green jobs workshop on July 2 for youth and adults as part of the Radical Organizing Conference's Summer Institute. ACE staff Marina Spitkovskaya will be speaking in Springfield on June 25 about building a movement that serves local communities, guarantees workers’ rights to organize and promotes community-owned sustainable projects.

Recently, in conjunction with Earth Day and the 35th anniversary of their Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy Program, Tufts University hosted Van Jones, champion of the green jobs movement and founder and president of Green For All, an organization that works to build an inclusive, green economy "strong enough to lift millions of people out of poverty." Read more...

Environmental justice at the BNB Bike-A-Thon

June 12, 2008

ACE’s own Khalida Smalls gave the keynote speech at the Bikes not Bombs Green Roots Festival this past Sunday, June 8. Guests enjoyed many events, from green building workshops to live music and scavenger hunts. Bikes Not Bombs, a Boston-based non-profit organization, promotes youth leadership and bicycle recycling over war and environmental destruction.

Participants at the Bike-A-Thon, including our littlest TRU member (center)

An ACE staff member for over ten years, Khalida spoke about the meaning of environmental justice. She explained that the justice side of environmentalism is different from mainstream environmentalism because environmental justice concerns people’s lives. A person’s environment includes encompasses the air we breathe to the buses we ride to the places we work and learn. This includes the violence and degradation that threaten our communities. Read more...

Celebrate Dudley at the EJ in the 'Hood festival

June 11, 2008

After the success of Jammin’ for Justice, we are continuing the summer excitement with the EJ in the 'Hood Festival on Saturday, June 28. The festival will run from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Blair parking lot across from ACE’s office in Dudley Square.

EJ in the 'Hood, June 28, 11 am - 6 pm, Dudley Square, Roxbury)

This year, EJ in the 'Hood is gearing up to be the most vibrant and successful yet! Come visit with ACE staff and members and become a member of the ACE community yourself. Bring the entire family and enjoy free barbeque, musicians, an Open House at the ACE office, yard sale, EJ Tours of Dudley and kid friendly activities. Community groups will share information about ways for folks to connect to positive work in the community. Relax with your fellow neighbors, shop from local vendors and celebrate the vibrancy of our Dudley Square community! Read more...

Free energy efficient lights for lower-income communities

June 10, 2006

LiveCooler makes compact fluorescent light bulbs available to lower-income families

Non-profit housing organizations in lower income communities can now receive donations of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to distribute to residents. These are purchased by LiveCooler, a non-profit that accepts donations to offset carbon emissions. Installation of CFLs not only reduces household carbon footprints but also energy bills. Although CFL bulbs provide a long term financial gain, their significant cost makes them less accessible than their incandescent counterparts.

LiveCooler lessens the financial strain on lower income families while helping to combat global warming. Donors can offset the carbon emissions of their homes, cars, or flights and see the number of light bulbs purchased as well as the projected reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and energy costs. Over 10 years, a $36 contribution prevents 6,000 lbs of CO2 emissions and saves $1,094 for two families, all by screwing in 13 light bulbs. Read more...