With over 60 business owners, nonprofit and faith organization leaders in attendance, the kick-off workshop “Climate is Everybody’s Business” held on Sept. 24th at Brookline Town Hall demonstrated, once again, that all sectors of the Brookline community are committed to climate action.
According to Director of Climate Is Everybody’s Business David Gladstone, the workshop was the first step in a four part project aimed to inspire action within the commercial sector, which accounts for approximately 25% of the greenhouse gas pollution generated in Brookline. The event provided guidance on how to adopt sustainable and climate friendly practices, from investing in energy efficiency to “opting up” to 100 percent renewable electricity through the Town’s Brookline All Green program.
State Rep. Tommy Vitolo emphasized just how feasible it is for organizations to source their electricity from renewables through the Brookline All Green program. “There’s no need to schedule an appointment, no need to buy and install equipment or new infrastructure,” he said. “All it takes is going online and making the choice to opt up to 100% renewable; it’s one of the easiest and most impactful steps an organization can take.”
Presenters included students from the Pierce School, who opened the morning with a passionate call to action, as well as a panel of business owners-- Rifrullo Cafe, The Village Works and Simons Shoes--who have had success in implementing sustainability into their businesses. Michael Kerstein, the owner of Simons Shoes, spoke to his own path to energy efficiency at his store.
“Transitioning to LED lightbulbs was made possible by MassSave, which paid for 70% of the cost. With the money I saved in energy costs by using more efficient lighting, I was able to then invest in “Opting Up” to 100% renewable energy through Brookline All Green,” Kerstein said. “It’s something that I can be incredibly proud of, running a store that supports sustainability as much as possible.”
It’s not too late to sign up for the pilot and learn how your organization can save money and reduce its climate impact. Visit gogreen.brooklinechamber.com for more information.
Hats off to the many partners who made the event possible: Climate Action Brookline, Mothers Out Front, Brookline Chamber of Commerce, Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants, the Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation, Climate Action Brookline, Brookline Bank, Eversource and Chestnut Hill Realty.
Casey Maslan is an Environmental Studies major at Boston College, and an intern with Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.