Sustainable Belmont originally formed in 2003 as task force of the Vision 21 Implementation Committee to “develop and implement a variety of activities and initiatives to assist Belmont’s government, residents, and businesses in becoming a more environmentally responsible community.” As of December of 2014, Sustainable Belmont no longer serves as a formal task force of the Vision 21 Implementation Committee, rather we have expanded our mandate to include selected advocacy campaigns in addition to the continuing with our historical mandate.
We are an all-volunteer group ranging from very actively engaged members to supportive and informed members. We are working together to find solutions that will prepare Belmont for the impacts of climate change and be environmentally responsible for its residents.
In the past environmentally focused initiatives ranged from seemingly-small behavioral changes like the anti-idling campaign (improved air quality and reduced gas consumption) to supporting ESCo projects (improving energy efficiency in town buildings – the most recent one yielding greater cost avoidances than originally estimated in part due to increased fuel costs).
We continue to advocate for a range of improved environmental conditions for the benefit of the entire community, working to promote biodiversity, clean air, clean water, and clean land while recognizing what we do in Belmont has impacts beyond our town. Always with respect, we aim to build community (a more sustainable community) through collaboration, communication, education, and action.
In 2022 we have covered topics such as the benefits of Native Plants and Biodiversity, the dangers of PFAS (so called “forever chemicals”), supported efforts to educate ourselves and others on the health dangers of gas-oil powered leaf blowers through Healthy Lawns Belmont, supported trash pick ups through Clean Green Belmont and Belmont Serves, organized a discounted Rain Barrel distribution for Belmont residents with Cambridge DPW, supported invasive plant removal under the direction of Leonard Katz and the Lone Tree Hill Conservation Committee, hosted a community discussion on the MA Climate Bill and our State’s efforts to combat climate change with our State Senator and State Representative, hosted a presentation on the feasibility of electric school buses (spoiler alert – they are feasible) from Massachusetts electric school bus company Highland Fleets, and most recently co-hosted Belmont Goes Electric with Belmont Light and the Belmont Town Energy Committee which hosted information on a range ways in which families can shift away from fossil fuels to electric in the garage, the home, and yard – including ways to increase efficiency/reduce waste or avoid energy use all together for some activities.
We are currently assisting Belmont residents adjacent to Belmont Hill School (www.belmontwild.org) in raising awareness of the plans by the School to remove mature woodland from residential properties they have required off of Prospect Street up on the hill near Arlington to build a 150 place parking lot, a 7000 sq. ft. facilities building, and above ground fuel tanks (per plans as of early October 2022) – literally paving paradise for a parking lot. We are also collaborating with a local elementary school to organize a conversation and field trip on “where storm water flows the trash goes” (a trash archeology of sorts).
Who can join?
Anyone. As you can see, we work on a range of environmental initiatives and depend on YOU and other volunteers to accomplish the collective goal of becoming an ever more environmentally responsible community including reaching 80% CO2 emissions reduction by 2050. The extent to which you may be involved in our community initiatives is up to you. We do include requests for new and ongoing initiatives in our monthly newsletter periodically. Some efforts may be posting signage around town, while other efforts may involve regular meetings and research. Send us a note with your interests – we’d love to hear from you.
We have many active members who work on different initiatives. If you are interested in something particular, please contact us and we will connect you with the best person.
Dean Hickman, Chair (2021-present)
Phil Thayer (Chair, 2019-2021)
Terese Hammerle (Chair, 2018-19)
Kim Slack (Chair 2016, 2017-18)
Kate Bowen (Chair 2013-14 to 2016)
John Kolterman (Chair 2009-10 to 2012-13; Adviser 2013-14 to 2016-17)
Jan Kruse (Chair 2005-06 to 2008-09)
Darrell King (Vice Chair 2013-14 to 2015-16)