Mass Green Network Summit to Convene Grassroots Activists

Contact:  Brad Verter, brad.verter@gmail.com, (413) 281-0522

With legislation to reduce plastic waste stalled for years on Beacon Hill, local activists have taken matters into their own hands to green their communities.

Across Massachusetts, 18 cities and towns have passed ordinances and bylaws regulating plastic bags, 10 have passed laws reducing polystyrene, and 2 have restricted the distribution of bottled water. A new network, formed to help grassroots activists pass similar legislation in their towns,  is gathering for the first time on Saturday to advance their cause.

Calling themselves The Mass Green Network, this confederation of citizens, including parents,  teachers, municipal officials, real estate agents,  restaurateurs, faith leaders, artists, programmers and others from across Massachusetts, have come together with one unifying concern:  reducing the plastic pollution that blights our communities, clogs our waste streams, chokes our wildlife, squanders our resources, and poisons our earth. More than 50 people from 20 cities and towns are expected to gather to launch the Network, and plan next steps.

Brad Verter, who led a coalition that passed groundbreaking laws restricting plastic bags and polystyrene in Williamstown, Massachusetts, founded the Mass Green Network in the fall of 2015 with support from the Toxics Action Center, MassPIRG, and the Massachusetts Sierra Club.  “There’s a steep learning curve for anyone who wants to pass environmental legislation even at the local level, and everybody was reinventing the wheel,” Verter says.  “The Mass Green Network allows people in communities across the state to share ideas, strategies, and resources, and inspire each other in the vital work of greening the Commonwealth.” 

Five months later, the Mass Green Network has over 160 members.  “Local democracy is alive and well here in Massachusetts,,” says Sylvia Broude, Executive Director of Toxics Action Center, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that helps communities address local environmental threats.  “Citizen leaders are making positive changes in their community and supporting statewide action, and that’s what the Mass Green Network is all about.”

The summit, designed to support community leaders seeking to pass bylaws and ordinances this spring, will feature panels and workshops focused on learning what worked in other communities, understanding the hidden costs of disposables, crafting effective legislation, and building a winning campaign. Registration is free -- details below.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

9:30 am - 3:30pm

Wellesley Free Library

530 Washington Street, Wellesley