MELROSE, MA—In celebration of 10 years as a Green Community, Mayor Paul Brodeur is collaborating with several community groups to put on Earth Week, a series of social and educational events to drive green initiatives in the City of Melrose.
“I am so proud of the strides our community has taken toward a more sustainable future,” said Mayor Brodeur. “The story of Melrose as a Green Community has, until now, been largely untold. Melrose’s Sustainability Manager, Martha Grover has spearheaded the majority of these efforts. We very much have a culture of environmentalism here in Melrose, and we have tremendous community partners helping drive us toward our goal of NetZero 2050.”
The Green Communities Division (GCD) provides grants and technical assistance to help municipalities reduce energy use and costs by implementing clean energy projects in municipal buildings, facilities, and schools. Melrose became a designated Green Community in 2011.
“I have always been passionate about sustainability especially once I had children and started worrying about the future we’re leaving them,” said Grover. “So many people think that because it’s a global issue, there isn’t much they can do here at home, and that’s just not the case. It does take a collaborative, community effort, but there is so much each of us can do to combat the climate crisis.”
Since becoming a designated Green Community, Melrose has 457 solar rooftops (up from just six in 2011) adopted the Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy leading to a 25% reduction in emissions in the City since 2009, and installed seven electric vehicle chargers. By the end of the year, the City of Melrose is projected to be home to 18 EV chargers total in partnership with National Grid.
“Our NetZero action plan has a three-pronged approach,” said Mayor Brodeur, “governance, partnerships and collaboration, and finally, public engagement and education. That last piece is what my administration is focused on with Earth Week outreach. I want to share the accomplishments we’ve made as a community, and invite the larger population to get involved in taking climate action.”
The City of Melrose is partnering with local groups and several municipal departments to put on green events such as an electric vehicle parade, a community-wide cleanup, food waste and composting information sessions, and a plant-based eating demo, to name a few.
"Wasted food makes up 22% of household trash by weight and it is also a major contributor to greenhouse gases,” said Jeana McNeil of ZeroWaste Melrose, who is hosting an informational table at City Hall on Saturday afternoon April 24. “For Earth Week we’re partnering with The Food Drive to bring attention to the problem of food waste and offer the community practical advice to reduce waste at home. We're excited that the City has organized Earth Week to help us get the message out."
Other events will be virtual such as Melrose Public Library’s cooking events, and a panel on climate legislation hosted by Senator Jason Lewis with Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian and Mayor Brodeur.
Keep Melrose Beautiful (KMB) will unveil a litter letter installation on Friday April 23rd, and spearhead a community-wide cleanup the following day. KMB has also partnered with Melrose High Environmental Club and Tree-Plenish to organize a tree-planting event which will offset the high school’s paper consumption in a typical year. As of writing, 322 trees have been ordered through Tree-Plenish, surpassing their original goal of 250.
"Last February, Mayor Brodeur shared his ideas with me to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, and then the pandemic took hold,” said Demi DuBois co-Founder of Keep Melrose Beautiful. “This year, I'm so excited that a cross-section of municipal departments and civic organizations have come together to create such a diverse and interactive calendar of events celebrating Earth Week in Melrose. There's something for everyone, which just goes to show that we can all do our part to restore our earth."
Click here to see a detailed schedule of events.