Walk/Ride Day Challenge Update

The UUA joined Green Streets Initiative‘s Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge in March to challenge ourselves to use a greener form of transportation to work one day per month. So far, our participation has been a success–exceeding our own expectations and that of the Green Initiatives staff!

Here is an update:

  • In March, the UUA led other organizations of a similar size, with 36% participation.
  • We went up from there and had 40% participation in April–continuing to lead our category!

Prizes, prizes, and more prizes!

One of the perks of being a leader is that one staff person each month wins a prize. I’m very pleased to announce that Linda Rose won a $25 gift card to Eastern Mountain Sports for her participation in March. Kimberly Reardon was April’s winner and will take home a nifty Green Streets umbrella. Congratulations to you both!

Next month’s prize will be a $75 gift card to The Beehive, a fabulous dining and nightlife destination in Boston’s South End. Green Streets is also offering prizes for people who log their commute outside of the Corporate Challenge. So tell your friends to log their commutes, too, and they could win a gift card from Darwin’s Ltd, a coffee house in Cambridge, MA.

This Friday, May 25, is our next Walk/Ride Challenge Day! Be sure to head over to http://greenstreets.mapc.org/ to log your commute any time this week. Let’s keep the momentum going and show our community our commitment to promoting a greener world in all areas of our life–including our work!

The UUA’s Green Initiatives Staff Team (GIST) are Pat Grimm, Rob Molla, Jan Sneegas, Mike O’Herron, Alexis Rizzuto, Rachel Walden, Tim Brennan, and Adrianne Ross. If you’d like to join us in minimizing our environmental impact at work, please feel free to get in touch with any one of us.

UUA joining Green Streets Initiative Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge

Join us in greening the UUA and entering our staff for raffle prizes!  The UUA is joining Green Streets Initiative‘s Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge.  All UUA Staff have to do is go to their website on the last Friday of the month and log their commute that day (as long as it was not a single person driving in a car to work).  Be sure to include that you work for the UUA and log in with your uua.org email address.  Options for alternative transportation commuting are:

  • Walk
  • Ride a Bicycle
  • Take the Bus
  • Ride the Train
  • Jog
  • Car Pool
  • They also include kayak and canoe on their list, but I’m not sure that applies… let me know if it does for you!

They have a number of sponsors who offer special deals on the last Friday of the month- make sure to check out all the opportunities here (and note there are 7 pages of sponsors!)

Staff who work offsite can participate and log their commute as well!

Days of the challenge: (last Friday of each month March-September):

March 30, April 27, May 25, June 29, July 27, August 31, September 28.


Tar Sands Action Leads to Change

[Taken From Beacon Broadside] On November 6, Beacon Press editor Alexis Rizzuto was part of the Tar Sands Action protest in Washington, DC. She sat down with our blog editor to discuss the protest and its impact.

Beacon Press editor Alexis Rizzuto

What was the protest about?

It was to tell Obama not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline in Alberta, Canada, proposed by TransCanada corporation to run from Canada to Texas. They are cutting down the boreal forest in Alberta and turning it into a toxic wasteland to get at the oil up there. Which is a hugely intensive use of energy—you have to burn a lot of carbon to get the oil out, (more…)

40 day commitment Challenge for Earth Day

Earth Day is approaching and we would like all UUA staff to take part in the celebration. We’d like to take this opportunity for the UUA as an institution to make our workplaces friendlier to the environment and help people most adversely affected by environmental degradation.

We’re kicking off a 40 day commitment challenge on Wednesday, April 27th, where staff will engage in small and large daily actions to support and celebrate our life-giving planet.  We’re focusing our actions on water justice, but a multitude of social justice issues impact water, from food to energy to immigration, so we encourage you to be creative in what you might do! (more…)

Going to the Farmer’s Market & Finding Local Food around Boston

We in the Green Initiatives Staff team have been reading books about ethical, sustainable, healthy food, watching Food Inc and discussing all these great choices we can make regarding food.

map of over 6,000 farmers markets in the US

Next step: where to find it.  We’re all going to our local Copley Square farmers market on Friday May 20th.  Join us if you can, and if not check out these resources.

Finding Local food around Boston: (more…)

Meatless Monday

It’s Monday, it’s lunchtime, I’m hungry, and I’m thinking about what to make for dinner tonight when suddenly I get an e-mail from my friend Cindie. Cindie always comes through at just the right time and she’s a real inspiration to me in so many ways: Cindie’s an animal rights activist and a vegan, and she also has boundless energy and enthusiasm for all things green. To top it all off, she also happens to be an amazingly talented fabric artist. Her quilts are magnificent.

Today’s e-mail from Cindie was a promising and seemingly easy-to-prepare recipe from Meatless Monday called Sweet Potato Barley Soup. Meatless Monday’s premise is very simple: We improve our health and the health of the planet by not eating meat on Mondays.

I’m going to commit to Meatless Mondays. Do give it a try. If today’s recipe tastes as good as it sounds, my friend Cindie’s going to get a special acknowledgement of thanks when I say grace before I eat tonight. And, I’ll sleep just a little better knowing that I made the right food choices for me, our environment, and for the animals.

Digging for Victory

When I started my vegetable garden in the spring of 2010, I swore I’d be the only “urban farmer” who could do so without having to

Historic Poster: Dig for Victory!

blog about it. Seems like these days every sprig of parsley grown within sight of concrete has to be documented.  Well, here I am to wax poetic about my own sprigs.

I have a 4 ft by 40 ft raised bed on the south side of my house, and wanted to pay homage to my Sicilian great grandmother who was an actual farmer. What she would think of my efforts… I have to imagine her kind heavenly laughter. Early on, a neighbor asked if she could plant some herbs in a corner somewhere and our “community garden” was born. Rebecca’s sister raises horses, so our first activity was to rent a truck and fill it with manure. And hay (more…)


In November I attended the Northern New England District (NNED) Environmental Sustainability and Justice Conference, co-hosted by the UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE).

NNED Awakening the Dreamer Changing the Dream Symposium presenters

The first day of the conference the Awakening the Dreamer Changing the Dream Symposium was offered. My favorite part of the day was when we were handed commitment cards and invited to sign them. The simplicity and the vastness of the statement struck me.  Though, you don’t have a commitment card, I invite you to read the commitment and then decide whether or not you can write down the statement and sign your name to it.  The statement reads:

I am committed to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on this planet as the guiding principle of our times.

I’m a Green Newbie (Groobie? – oops, that sounds like a hippie with a cold…)

I joined the GIST team with a beginner’s desire to learn how to live lighter on the planet,  not with any notion that I knew how to do that.  I like the idea of being the change we want to see in the world, but I’m not at a point where the practices necessary to support that come easily or naturally.

For example, one small thing I decided I could do was to carry my insulated mug with me all the time so that I wouldn’t use disposable cups. Seems simple enough, and sometimes it is. If I have my mug with me, I can either make coffee at home in the morning and carry it to the train, or I can buy coffee at the train station using my mug – no paper cup and related stuff plus the coffee guy gives me a discount for using my own cup. (more…)