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Written by Seung-Hyeok Bae

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Emerging Professionals of Massachusetts (EPMA) hosted the “USGBC MA Advocacy Mixer,” a great networking opportunity event to connect the green building community with local advocacy groups last Thursday. The eight organizations briefly shared their sustainability missions, and how they engage and motivate our local community. There were opportunities to engage in discussions and sign up to volunteer before and after the presentations.   

350 Mass

Cory Alperstein, representative of 350 Mass, addresses the audience.

350 Mass is engaging in the “Better Future
Project” which is a Cambridge-based organizing nonprofit to help the need for a
grassroots climate network in Massachusetts. One of the important campaigns
they executed to confront the climate crisis is “Road to a Green New Deal in MA
which were protests and street performances in clown costumes targeted at important decision-makers, such as major American banks, in order to stop investment in fossil fuel infrastructure.

Clean Water Action

Laura Spark, one of the representatives of Clean Water Action, addresses the audience.

Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns
to elect environmental candidates to solve environmental and community
problems. They are campaigning for legislation that would ban flame
retardants in building materials, children’s toys, furniture, and other
materials and products. Clean Water Action also worked closely with the USGBC
MA on speaking at the hearing for this legislature.


Drew Grande, representative of MCAN, addresses the audience.

MCAN (The Massachusetts Climate Network) works with and advocates for
Massachusetts cities and towns to be the best in the nation at addressing
climate change. MCAN recently reported that Massachusetts’ municipal light
plants need improvement to meet the state’s clean energy goals.  


Lisa Kumpf, representative of the Charles River Watershed Association, addresses the audience.

CRWA (Charles River Watershed Association) was formed in response to
concern about the environment and the health of the Charles River and its
watershed through science, advocacy, education, and engineering. By CRWA and
community’s tremendous efforts, the Charles River recently received a water
quality report card grade A-, which is considered one of the cleanest urban
rivers in the United States.    

Mothers Out Front  

Representatives from Mothers Out Front address the audience.

The mission is to build their power as mothers to ensure a livable climate
for all children. One of the big movements is to reduce the dependence of our
system on methane, a potent greenhouse gas, by promoting the shift to clean
renewable energy for heating and cooking in the built environment. They
encourage people to use an electric stove instead of a gas stove. According to
the research, using a gas stove gives us many disadvantages, such as increasing
childhood asthma rates and releasing more energy and emissions.

Sunrise Movement

Nick Raab, one of the representatives of Sunrise Movement, addresses the audience.

Sunrise is a movement by young people to stop climate change and create
millions of good jobs in the process. Representatives of the organization note
that “we live in a climate change era” and that action needs to be taken to
stop the effects of climate change. They are pushing for the “Green New Deal”
along with other nonprofits, like Mass 350, and pressuring local candidates
running for 2020 to support the “Green New Deal” and to not accept campaign
donations from companies like Exxon.

Living Building Challenge

Jim Newman, one of the representatives of the Living Building Challenge, addresses the audience.

The Living Building Challenge envisions a thriving and diverse community
working together for a living future. They are looking at how we build own
homes like a forest; they are not only looking for reducing our carbon
footprint, but also giving back to the surrounding environment. They challenge
everyone who is involved in the creation of the home (e.g. customer,
construction firm, materials vendor, etc) to work for the mission of Living
Building Challenge.

City of Boston

Alisha Pegan, one of the representatives of City of Boston, addresses the audience.

Their mission is to enhance the quality of life in Boston by protecting our
air, water, and land resources, while addressing climate change. They are
continuously updating the city’s climate action plan to be carbon-free by 2050
and figuring out how to achieve this goal.

We would like to give a special thanks to the organizations in attendance as well as Boston Architectural College who provided a great event venue.   


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