GreenRoots, Inc. engages in ecological restoration activities, provides educational activities, convenes educational events, holds meetings, and organizes local groups and individuals. We work on a broad range of issues that improve the health and environment of residents in Chelsea and the Greater Boston area.
Environmental Justice (EJ)
Chelsea is severely impacted by environmental injustice. According to Dr. Daniel R. Faber and Dr. Eric Krieg, Chelsea is the 3rd most intensively overburdened communities in Massachusetts. The entire New England Region benefits from industries located in and around Chelsea. Public health and quality of life are compromised by the overabundance of industries in such a small, dense area.
GreenRoots EJ campaigns focus on creating more accountability with industries that do not have a relationship with the community; increasing communication between responsible businesses and the community; and thwarting egregious proposals that will further degrade the community’s public health and environment.
Using the Chelsea Creek Community Vision Plan, created with deep community involvement by the Chelsea Creek Action Group (a partnership between GreenRoots and East Boston residents organized with staff support from the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing), GreenRoots implements aggressive campaigns to gain public access to the Chelsea Creek, Mill Creek, Island End River and Mystic River. Furthermore, we implement ecological habitat, wetland restoration, green infrastructure and water quality improvement projects.
Youth Leadership on Environmental Justice Concerns
GreenRoots values the leadership development and empowerment of the Environmental Chelsea Organizers (ECO), a team of 6 teens that work on projects important to youth in Chelsea. They lead campaigns for the full implementation of the youth pass pilot program; community-wide surveys to document health and displacement concerns; advocacy and design for teen parks; tree planting projects; expansion of peer teaching initiatives in public and private after school programs; and other campaigns envisioned by youth.
Improved Public Health and Air and Water Quality
GreenRoots works to improve public health by reducing air pollutants, improving (surface) water quality; and partnering on research studies seeking to document health measures, indoor and outdoor pollutants and ways in which they exacerbate quality of life concerns and worsen health outcomes.
Almost every neighborhood in Chelsea and in surrounding waterfront communities is impacted by climate change and sea level rise. GreenRoots is engaging with businesses and governmental organizations as well as other membership-based organizations to tackle climate justice concerns. Our work includes energy efficiency, creating opportunities for communities to “own” their own power and implementing green infrastructure to reduce flooding and water quality impacts.
Greater Open, Green Space
Since its inception, GreenRoots has worked to maximize the quantity and quality of open, green, space and recreational opportunities for Chelsea and beyond. We’ve done so by constructing two (soon to be three) new parks and advocating for the creation of others. GreenRoots also engages in aggressive tree planting efforts to build a wide tree canopy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve residents’ feeling of tranquility that comes with trees cover. GreenRoots was a driving force behind the City of Chelsea’s Tree City USA designation.
Urban Agriculture and Food Justice
Low-income, ethnically diverse communities like Chelsea often find less access to healthy, local foods than wealthier communities. To combat this, community gardens and local farms provide opportunities for residents to have access to fruits, vegetables and herbs. They also provide pockets of open space and respite in an urban environment. GreenRoots manages four successful community gardens and is implementing a plan to maximize urban agricultural opportunities on vacant and underutilized land.
GreenRoots understand transit justice to be a key pillar of environmental justice and economic justice. As one of the most densely populated and transit-dependent communities in the Commonwealth, we see access to public, affordable and reliable means of transportation as central to transitioning from our dependence on fossil fuels, reducing our carbon emissions, improving our public health and lifting our communities out of poverty. Most recently, we have focused our work around the new Youth Pass Pilot, the Silver Line extension coming to Chelsea and supporting the work of our allies in fighting against the privatization of any MBTA services, changes in late-night service and fare structures which would disproportionately impact our residents. We continue to also work with the MBTA and DOT for improved services and infrastructure in our city.