|Over population, deforestation, and industrialization have led to an
increase in atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide - what are now commonly referred to as "greenhouse gases." It is
generally accepted throughout the world that these gases are the primary
contributor to a rise in the Earth's temperature, also known as climate
IEven under the best managed scenarios, it is expected that the Earth's
temperature will rise between one half and one degree with attendant
dramatic changes in weather, temperature extremes, ocean levels and the
location of arable land.
The first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
(UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, was held in Rio de
Janeiro in June 1992. It resulted in a treaty known as the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its objectives were to
stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
better known product of this organization is the Kyoto Protocol (1997)
legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their
greenhouse gas emissions. Many countries signed on to the Kyoto
Protocol; others did not. The politics notwithstanding, efforts
to document existing conditions, conduct research and promote awareness
of Global Warming continue throughout the world to this day.
Climate change is but one aspect of a multifaceted global problem.
Since the end of World War II much of the developed world has climbed
onto a consumerism track which promotes a throw-away society, producing
waste, depletion of resources and the rise of greenhouse gases. View video "Story of Stuff."
The developed and developing nations of the world are using our
limited planetary resources at an ever-increasing rate. Waste and toxic
chemicals, oil spills, ocean dead zones and the loss of habitat are
leading to world species dying off "like flies."
At the heart of the problem is society itself and the problem is huge.
Despite the skeptics, divisive politics and limited resources, progress
on Global Warming is being made. A growing segment of people is looking
seriously at how we live, move about, produce and consume food and what
constitutes a meaningful lifestyle.
10 years after the Kyoto Protocol, the word "green" has begun to emerge
everywhere - green jobs, green products, green committees, green
buildings, green communities and more. This is the start of a movement
that will change our world forever.
In April 2007 Governor Deval Patrick established the Leading by Example
- Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings program. It is overseen by the
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the
Executive Office for Administration and Finance (A&F). Through
various initiatives, LBE works to reduce the overall environmental
impacts of state government operations, particularly climate and energy
In July 2008 Governor Deval Patrick signed a landmark energy bill,
known as the Green Communities Act. It is designed to do away with
long-standing obstacles to building renewable power projects in
Massachusetts and making homes and businesses more energy efficient.
The Commonwealth's Energy and Environmental Affairs Office created the
Green Communities Division and charged it with guiding all 351 Commonwealth
cities and towns towards energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The Green Communities Grant Program encourages cities and towns to
apply for funds after meeting the program's five clean energy
benchmarks. If approved, the community is funded and designated a
Another result of the Green Communities Program is Mass Save, an online resource for energy efficiency programs and products.
- In early 2010 thirty-five (35) cities and towns were
designated as Green Communities
- In December 2010 an additional 18 cities and towns
were added including the City of Boston.