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Friday Feature: GreenRoots Chelsea
A conversation and a fight for environmental justice in Massachusetts
This week we are introducing a new segment to our newsletter: Friday Features. This segment is meant to give you highlights of inspirational climate groups that are taking action. I hope you enjoy it!
Today’s Friday Feature is centered around a fierce environmental justice group called GreenRoots Chelsea. Located in Chelsea, Massachusetts, GreenRoots Chelsea is a collective-action based group that focuses on community unity in order to achieve environmental justice. Chelsea is a resilient community that has been and continues to be overburdened by industries that impact the changing climate, and the city has been ranked the “third most intensely overburdened communities in Massachusetts.” For example, Chelsea is home to fuel tank storage for airplanes, salt pile storage, and produce storage in addition to other things.
Last week I had the privilege of talking with Mitikei Chengerei, the community health ambassador organizing for public health and improved public transit, to learn more about the organization. I had first heard about GreenRoots Chelsea through my environmental studies classes in Massachusetts, but have since learned more after seeing it again on our Climate Action Explorer. In my meeting with Mitikei, she shared with me her excitement about the various initiatives and research going on with GreenRoots Chelsea. Specifically, Mitikei plans to work alongside Tufts Medical Center to make a brochure about city nutrition and health in the community, since there are many health concerns in Chelsea.
Chelsea has many different actions and initiatives going on at once. Recently, Eversource, a residential energy provider in New England, has been working on building an electrical substation in a dangerous flood zone in Chelsea, and the community has been fighting it hard. While construction has begun, the community is still fiercely opposing its implementation, voicing their concern for residents’ health and wellbeing. An innovative alternative to this substation is the proposed Chelsea Community Microgrid, that would make power in the community more resilient, and significantly safer. A microgrid is similar to an electric grid but is much smaller and more stable in the face of power outages since it can disconnect from the grid and maintain power to certain buildings. Additionally, Chelsea has implemented community gardens to fight for food justice, and created a youth group called Environmental Chelsea Organizers (ECO) that work on advocacy, education, and the Youth Pass Program that offers reduced fares on the MBTA (the public transit system in Massachusetts).
GreenRoots Chelsea has had an immense amount of accomplishments regarding food justice, advocacy, grants, environmental justice legislation, and more. With that said, there is always more work to be done. If you want to get involved in GreenRoots Chelsea, you can get updates, become a member, donate, and spread the word on the incredible work that this organization is doing.
Having now gone to school for two years in Massachusetts, GreenRoots Chelsea continues to bring me inspiration and hope that we can move forward in the climate movement in a just and equitable way. Stay tuned for more climate action and updates, and don’t forget to check out our Climate Action Explorer!