The City of Boston is a well-choreographed symphony, of sustainability.

 

Boston ranks high among the urban green elite. Sustainability efforts include a “Green by 2015” goal to replace traditional taxi cabs with hybrid vehicles, recycle trash to power homes, use more solar panels, and use more electric motorbikes for transportation. The city’s first annual Down2Earth conference was held in 2008. It’s designed to educate residents about how to live the most sustainable lifestyle.  An endless array of biking paths, an extremely fleet of rental bikes, conveniently located near subway stations  Overall the city is ranked 3rd on the US list of Green cities.
 

As if directed by some unseen conductor, many separate entities are collaborating to play the sweet music of a Zero ecological, zero environmental footprint.   Driving north on rte 93 just past exit 11, One can’t miss The Rainbow Swash of NGrid’s LNG Storage tank,  Unless you know it’s there you might not notice the array of solar panels, arranged almost like a nest cradleing the massive 143,foot tall (Egg) work by Corita Kent which is the largest copyrighted work of art in the world.  I was struck by the irony yet perfect symmetry of the NGrid LNG storage tank  , followed by the local 103 wind turbine. Within the same panoramic view the symbol of our past reliance on fosil fuels , leads to our future development of sustainable energy.  Further compounding the irony is the fact that, within walking distance, Pope John Paul II Park, sits on the banks of the Neponset River. That park a 65-acre former landfill with walkways, scenic open areas, playing fields and native plantings, has been restored to a place of natural splendor. The park now re-connects area residents to the resources of their unique and delicate river estuary by offering picnic facilities, soccer fields, play areas, paths for walking, restored salt marsh, and extensive plantings of native trees and shrubs.
 

The MDC, now Department of Conservation and Recreation, restored the formerly degraded, contaminated site which has also benefited area wildlife: black ducks, mergansers, teal, snowy egrets, and great blue herons have been spotted at the park since it opened in June, 2001. The restoration of the salt marsh has also greatly enhanced fisheries habitat. The park also offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, including active sports and activities such as walking, jogging, bird-watching, and picnicking. The three-mile Neponset River Greenway walking and biking trail runs through the park. Plenty of open space and a well-maintained playground make Pope John Paul II Park a perfect place for visitors all ages.

Another notable reclaimed landfill, is the Mellineum Park, in West Roxbury, its multi-teired design contains several soccer fields, its miles of crisscrossing walking trails is a favorite with dogwalkers and casual walkers alike.  Like the Pope John II Park, Mellineum is host to a teeming population of wild life and a perfect space for birdwatchers. With six miles of handicapped-accessible trails, Millennium Park has some of the bet bike trails around Boston. In addition to the trails and a canoe launch, riders can also take in beautiful views of Blue Hills, Newton and downtown Boston

Just a little further down I 93 as one enters the Downtown area, situated atop the J.F. Williams Coast Guard building is a solar array that provides an estimated 28 kilowatt photovoltaic system integrated into the roof consisting of 372 panels.  The J.W. McCormack renovated in 2009 building boasts a dazzling array of innovative sustainability features Some of the main energy-efficiency components of the design include variable-speed drives for fans and pumps, motion sensors and daylight dimming for lighting, and new insulated double-pane, low-e windows. New plumbing fixtures reduce estimated water consumption by 642,000 gallons per year, which is 32% over code requirements. The indoor air quality of the building was improved through use of low-emitting construction materials such as paint, carpeting, and composite wood. In addition 25% of the buildings footprint is covered by green roof that is the first of its kind in New England, solar panels power the irrigation system, and cisterns collect rain water to irrigate the various plantings.