GreenRoots is a spin-off of the Green Space Committee, the environmental justice arm of the Chelsea Collaborative, Inc. The decision to become an independent organization with a concentrated focus came about as Green Space members reflected on their 20+ year track record of significant environmental justice accomplishments and victories; yet they noted how much more work is necessary to achieve true environmental equity and improved public health.
The Green Space Committee began in 1994 with the goal of 1) ensuring the City of Chelsea lived up to its commitment to replace taken parkland for the construction of new schools; 2) that new open spaces would be well maintained; and 3) that the new schools be opened to residents through the creation of community schools programming.
Shortly after inception, GreenRoots (formerly Green Space) matured to take on vitally important environmental justice, public health and quality of life campaigns and programs.
Some of our most notable victories include:
Stopping a dirty fossil fuel power plant
Preventing the siting and construction of a dirty diesel power plant across from Chelsea’s elementary school complex.
Empowering dozens of teens through the Environmental Chelsea Organizers (ECO) youth crew.
Cleaning air pollution hotspots
Investing more than $3 million in federal, state and private funds to reduce air pollutants by more than 2,000 tons annually at the New England Produce Center and elsewhere in Chelsea and Everett.
Stopping transport of dangerous fuels
Stopping the hazardous transport of flammable ethanol on mile-long trains using commuter rail lines traveling through 90 communities in Massachusetts to an end location on the Chelsea Creek.
Restoring Mill Creek
Restoring more than 2 acres of urban salt marsh; designing, fundraising for and overseeing the construction of a dynamic one-acre park; designing and installing interpretive signage; implementing green infrastructure; obtaining walk front walkways; and funding to create a natural playground – all on the Mill Creek in Chelsea and Revere.
Collaborating for environmental justice
Collaborating with Alternatives for Community & Environment and other partners, successfully got Governor Patrick to enact and Executive Order on Environmental Justice; and won the Youth Pass Pilot Program which became adopted as an official MBTA Program in Fiscal Year 2017 allowing students ages 12-20 to travel on public transit at affordable fares.
Creating a Community Vision for a more balanced Chelsea Creek.
Increasing green space
Building a park and community garden in one day with the organization KABOOM!
Creating three additional community gardens
Youth transit justice
After almost a nine-year campaign, including a year-long pilot, WE WON! Youth in Chelsea and the Greater Boston area will have access to a reduced fare Youth Pass! The Environmental Chelsea Organizers (ECO) youth crew played a key role as members of the Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition in advocating for a pilot program that would allow youth to have affordable access to public transit. Through direct action and mobilization, as well as written and oral testimonies, we were able to gain final approval for the Youth Pass pilot for youth between the ages of 12 to 21. This was first signed by the Secretary of Transportation and General Manager of the MBTA, and later approved by the Fiscal and Management Control Board. The campaign was led primarily by Boston youth, with Chelsea being the only additional city to partner in designing the the pilot program with MBTA officials. The cities of Somerville and Malden later joined as municipal partners who would run the pilot program for youth residents.