Cabot Woods, Spring 2020

Student Voice: Nature, Our Hope for Rehabilitation

After schools closed, cases continued to increase, and we remained confined to our homes. An end to the spreading madness that is COVID-19 seems to be nowhere in sight. However, looking out the window of my home, past an empty street and the quiet rain, a possible silver lining is visible on the horizon. Or in the atmosphere, to be exact.

According to The New York Times, “Air pollution (in the form of CO2 emissions) has dropped significantly over major metropolitan areas.” Newton is undergoing these changes as many of its residents work from home. The endless wait for a break in rush-hour traffic is now a solitary drive. Faced with the restrictions of self-quarantine and social distancing, we find ourselves devoid of casual excursions to the mall or a restaurant. In a way, the environment thanks us for those sacrifices.

Amidst the budding spring, nature and wildlife find solace, unencumbered by the heavy presence of machines and smog. In this short period of recovery, we have more time to appreciate the world around us by walking outdoors or gardening. These times prove that rehabilitation is more feasible if we can commit to cutting down emissions and saving the air we breathe.

Stillness is consequential, an indicator. We can tell a lot about a community based on how people move, and in these cautious times, the world seems to stand still. So in the future, when everything starts again, we should aim to balance industry and the environment. The good that preservation creates is immeasurable, especially when changes are irreversible. Therefore, we must remember the lesson nature teaches us now about the undeniable beauty of growth and recovery.

Newton students are invited to submit essays on the environment in honor of Green Newton’s 30th Anniversary. Like Joyce’s essay, selected works will be published on the Green Newton and GN School Connections websites and in the Green Newton e-news. Click HERE for more information on how to submit and essay.

Student Voice: Small Actions, Big Changes

How does climate change impact lower economic communities?Climate change: the crisis that is not only hurting our Earth but also hurting people around us. It separates families and friends, forces and keeps people in poverty, and threatens our comfort and safety. The growing concern for climate change is greatly affecting people from all around the world. However, the consequences of climate change are creating an especially heavier burden for lower economic communities.As climate change continues to rapidly sweep the world, the chances of destructive natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and floods, also continue to increase. People of lower economic communities are at a great disadvantage, as they are less likely to have access to resources that can support them in times of dire need.Evacuating from homes after suffering from natural disasters is very costly, as the cost includes reliable transportation, safe shelter, food, water, and other necessities. As a result, many people of lower economic communities are forced to stay and risk their own safety during disasters, as they are unable to afford these things. In addition, the recovery process from natural disasters is not cheap. Rebuilding destroyed homes, cleaning up debris, and eliminating safety hazards in the house is not affordable to most; many people of low economic status are unable to access money for recovery, as many natural disaster recovery funds are targeted toward homeowners and higher-income communities.

This raises the question: what can we do to help people in these communities? We can all make conscious efforts to reduce waste, conserve energy, and consume less. Instead of throwing away your empty soda can in the trash, wash it out and recycle it. Opt for a five-minute shower instead of a ten-minute one: your small, thoughtful actions add up. If we all make a mindful effort to do our part for our environment, we can all make a big change to our environment and to lower economic communities.

Newton students are invited to submit essays on the environment in honor of Green Newton’s 30th Anniversary. Like Esther’s essay, selected works will be published on the Green Newton and GN School Connections websites and in the Green Newton e-news. Click HERE for more information on how to submit and essay.

From the Mayor: “Use Less and Green the Rest”

Original post from Mayor’s Update  – 

(Below is and excerpt. Read full article about Newton climate action plan here)

Use Less and Green the Rest
The plan reflects the strategic mantra: “Use less and green the rest.”
“Using less” will require us to increase energy efficiency in all buildings through electrification and insulated building envelopes; develop walkable and transit-oriented neighborhoods and business districts; reduce reliance on single occupancy gas and diesel vehicles; increase our biking, walking, and use of shared rides and public transportation; and minimize our “embodied carbon” emissions (the greenhouse gas emissions associated with extracting, manufacturing, and transporting materials for buildings, vehicles, roads, etc.).
“Greening the rest” means using renewable energy sources (such as solar and wind) instead of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil to generate clean electrical power; electrifying everything we can – building heating and cooling systems, vehicles and transportation systems; and capturing carbon from the atmosphere by expanding our street tree canopies and forested spaces.
By Mayor Fuller, Aug 23, 2019

Newton High School Students March on International Day of Climate Action

Students leaders representing Newton North’s Next Generation Voices Club produced an outstanding presentation that was shown to a large audience of students and staff at NNHS on Friday, March 15. During the presentation, the club leaders did an excellent job explaining the causes and effects of climate change, current climate change legislation, and actions that students can take. They made it clear that youth activism can make a big difference for finding solutions to the environmental challenges we face.

Following their presentation, students joined together in a march to Newton City Hall as part of the Newton Youth Climate March. On the steps of City Hall, students representing NNHS and NSHS urged fellow students to speak up on climate change to local and state leaders. One student, Coral Lin, urged students to continue to educate themselves and others about climate change. She suggested “walking instead of driving, not using single use plastics, starting a compost, eating less meat, shopping locally and sustainably and conserving energy at home.”

Green Newton President, Marcia Cooper, commended the students for making a commitment to take steps to conserve energy and to advocate for wise solutions to address the impacts of climate change. Mayor Fuller also praised the initiative taken by the students, while emphasizing the urgency for Newton and other communities to increase efforts to tackle climate change. Clearly, there is much more we can do to conserve energy and support a rapid transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy solutions. The speakers also highlighted the environmental benefits for Opting Up to 100% (New-England sourced) renewable electricity in Newton Power Choice.

Coral Lin’s closing comments were most inspiring…

“Our planet’s changing climate is the single most important issue that we, as the next generation, are going to have to tackle, and we’re going to have to do it soon. Let’s treat it like the priority it is and demand action. The burdens older generations are placing on us is an injustice. Young people need to fight for our futures and that starts today with each one of us taking action together.”