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How Do Road Salts Impact Our Waterways?

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We all rely on the use of road salts to help us travel safely during the wintertime in Massachusetts. However, an unintended consequence of using salt is that it ends up in our waterways, carried by melting ice and snow. This increases the salinity of our waterways which can impact wildlife, and raise the cost of drinking water treatment and distribution. In fact, according to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation

and Recreation (Mass DCR), about 30% of salt used for de-icing is wasted and "salt used today can be found in drinking water up to a decade later"!

Salt your driveways and walkways more efficiently! Mass DCR has a series of education videos that cover various methods of salt reduction from creating your own salt brine to using appropriate amounts of salt (it is less than you think!). Learn more about salt reduction.

Read this ...

"Nature’s Best Hope"

by Douglas Tallamy,

reviewed by Brian White

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This fall, Green Hudson kicked off its Climate Cafe series with two presentations on what are called nature based solutions. Alexi Dart-Padover talked about native plants and Pam Helenik discussed Wetlands protection as part of climate change mitigation and adaptation. If you haven't had the opportunity to check them out, they are posted here.

Conversations like these often bring me to thinking about our place in the natural world. Genesis 1:28 says that God gave us the instruction to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Interpretations vary based on one’s reading of the passage. My view— effectively this verse presents a dual mandate to embrace the struggle with nature, and also treat nature with the loving kindness of a benevolent ruler, in other words, to be “good stewards” of the Earth.

Douglas Tallamy's book "Nature's Best Hope" well understands our singular ability not only to subdue the earth, but to demolish it. Not only have we forgotten the second part of the mandate, to be “good stewards” but we have also forgotten that we remain dependent on the fruits of the Earth. Our treatment of creation is causing a mass extinction that if left unmitigated will be our undoing.

Tallamy does not over emphasize the negative, but uses it to frame an uplifting narrative reminding us that we all have a part to play as stewards. He notes that 83% of the land in the U.S. is privately owned and if we planted native plants on just 50%, we could stabilize the biodiversity. Not only that, but no government intervention or regulatory framework is needed. Instead we can rely on local land and native plant trusts to showcase the beauty and diversity of native plants and animals.

In his book and blog post, Tallamy highlights "10 Things to Get You Started." Key among his points are:

  • Remove invasive species. These plants thrive because they are not eaten by local insects and spread rapidly. By removing them, and replacing them with native species, we stabilize the local food web.
  • Replace lawns with native meadows, native trees, and shrubs. Green lawns are no better than desert sand at sustaining our native habitats.
  • Leave the leaves, especially under trees. Insects are the basis of the food web that sustains us. Leaves provide natural protection for overwintering insects  as well as food to nourish the trees in future seasons.
  • Spread the word. Network with neighbors, towns, and civic organizations to create a "Homegrown National Park"
  • Plant an oak tree. Tallamy states, "The 'new luxury landscape' is one of meadows and formal native planted gardens—it is no longer rolling green lawns." and "If you can plant one tree, make it a native oak."

Native plants clean our water and support native insects. Native insects pollinate our gardens and feed native birds. Benefits cascade back to us as song birds and butterflies bring us joy; pollinators bring us honey and summer vegetables; trees give us shade in the summer, buffer us from wind in the winter, prevent erosion, and store carbon in their branches and roots. Once established, native plants can support themselves. They are easier to maintain because they don't need to be watered or mowed. They can be an individual expression of artistic visual interest and bring the antics of birds and other wildlife back into our lives reconnecting us with the abundance and natural beauty of the creation that we are called to steward. Read Nature’s Best Hope. You will be both inspired and instructed in the why and how of becoming the good steward Nature requires of us.

Natures Best Hope is available via bookshop.org; local, independent bookstores; or the Hudson Public Library.

Committee Reports

Climate and Energy
Climate and Energy continues its focus on electrification and reducing carbon emissions. Join us to put advocacy in action by promoting renewable energy, heat pumps, and electric appliances in the Hudson community. Contact: Brian White [email protected]

Education and Outreach

January’s Climate Cafe featured Bart Yeager from Black Earth Compost. Black Earth provides curbside compost pickup in Hudson as well as many other towns in MA and NH. A lively Q & A followed his presentation. This presentation, and all previous presentations, can be found here.

February’s Climate Cafe will focus on recycling with Jackie Gillis, local recycling organizer and GH member. She’ll also address future trash issues as well as the proposed, new Hudson transfer station. Bring your recycling questions and ideas for getting more Hudson residents to recycle! Contact: Jeanette Millard [email protected]

Plastics Reduction Committee (PRC)

Help push single-use plastic reduction bills across the finish line before the end of this term. Follow this link https://greenhudson.org/plastic-reduction/ to read about the bills related to plastic reduction that are currently being considered in the state house. Contact Elisa Pearmain if you would like some postcards to send to our state government leaders. A list of leaders and their addresses will be provided.

Good news: one of those bills, "An Act to Reduce Plastics. S.570/H.882" sponsored by Senator Becca Rausch and Rep. Ted Philips, has moved from the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee to the Ways and Means Committee. This is a very comprehensive bill that would ban single use plastic bags, single use food service ware, and plastic water bottles of one liter or less, and alcohol in plastic bottles containing less than 100 milliliters. To read more about this bill, go to https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/S570. Thank you for reaching out to the Governor, your legislators and leaders of the Ways and Means Committee. Contact: Elisa Pearmain [email protected]

Legislative Update

Elders Climate Action Mass (ECAMass) members met with Representative Jeff Roy, the House chair of the Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee (TUE), where most of the energy/climate related bills are. He had a draft of an omnibus climate bill that he is getting ready to send out of committee. He could possibly hold the bills back to get an extension while he continues to work on the bill.

Senator Mike Barrett, Senate chair of TUE will be writing his own omnibus climate bill. Then the two chairs will send their bills to a conference committee to put them into one bill.

The plastics bill is rumored to be getting a lot of support and has been moved out of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) committee into Ways and Means.

CANCELLED: Third Act Call to Action—Opposing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Expansion

A big thank you to all the folks who reached out to President Biden asking for a stop to the LNG expansions in the Gulf. On January 26th, the Biden administration said it is delaying consideration of new natural gas export terminals in the United States. Your voices were heard!

Hudson Community Garden’s 2024 

growing season is about to begin. 

Lots are available, so apply now!

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Join this established, volunteer-run garden to grow your own food and flowers, meet new people, and maybe learn new gardening tips. All skill levels and ages are welcome to apply. Open to Hudson, MA residents.

To request an application, email [email protected]. Don’t wait! Plots fill up fast!

Are Your Recycling Efforts Going to Waste?

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Green Hudson’s own Jackie Gillis and Volunteer Hudson Recycling Coordinator will share her first hand knowledge and guidance through a presentation that includes show and tell, do’s and don’ts, what to do with those hard to recycle items and if time allows, a discussion about reuse options as well as reducing your plastic purchasing.

Join us on Tuesday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Avidia Financial Center’s Community Room located at 17 Pope St., in Hudson.

There will be time for Q & As. Light refreshments and juice will be served.

This is part of an ongoing series of Climate Cafes brought to you by Green Hudson, a non-profit dedicated to improving our town’s impact on the environment. Visit us: www.greenhudson.org.

Green Hudson's next meeting

will be at 6:00 p.m. 

on Sunday, February 18th,

at the Avidia Bank’s Community Room, 

located at 17 Pope St.


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(rear parking lot, side of building near the drive thru)

or via zoom.

Agenda and zoom invites are sent out one week before meetings.

Recycling Volunteers Needed!

Have fun! Meet your neighbors and

make new friends while helping the planet.

Recycling volunteers needed Saturdays.

For more information:

contact [email protected]

You are invited

Do you have suggestions for articles, resources of note, inspirations, relevant books to recommend, etc.? Send to [email protected] with the subject line "Green Hudson".

Share Green Hudson’s Newsletter

If you found something of value in this newsletter, please forward it to others who might be interested. And, if you’re reading someone else’s copy and would like to receive your own newsletter each month, please subscribe by emailing [email protected].

For more information on Green Hudson ... visit our website at www.greenhudson.org.

 The Assabet River flows through   the town of Hudson providing a   powerful reminder of why we   want to protect the beauty the   earth provides. Scientists are   alarmed as we witness climate   change happening. We need to   do more to put a stop to the   threat. To learn more, join Green Hudson now.

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The Green Hudson Newsletter team needs your help! Low commitment and lots of fun! Contact Linda Miller at [email protected].

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