Workshop Proposals

Help shape the Summit agenda by proposing a workshop and/or voting for workshop proposals!

This year, Community Summit workshops will be broken up into two highly interactive, hour-long sessions. Workshops will relate to the City of Boston's Climate Action Plan, with the first session highlighting relevant best practices and the second session focusing on next steps to implement climate action in Boston.

The following workshop topics are confirmed:

  • Maintaining Boston's Trees and Open Spaces
  • Integrating Sustainability into Boston Public Schools
  • Neighborhood Sustainability Planning
  • Sustainability in Higher Ed
  • Residential Energy Efficiency


Voting for workshops is now closed. Thank you for participating.

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Ecological System Thinking and Climate Change.

1. Ecological System Thinking and its Application to Dealing with Climate Change. The high concentration of humans, and human needs, in urban areas involves a dynamic relation with the rural and non-habitable surroundings. Food, potable water, transportation of goods, all the requirements of good city living place a limit on the growth of population for an optimal relation between rural and urban. The best practices are ecologically sound when examined in the light of that relation. 2. Actionable items that will help implement climate change action in Boston are: a) institute full environment cost accounting on all economic activity to determine the public cost as a ground for taxation. b) re-structure consumption to minimize production of waste. c) encourage individual creative innovation in the arts. d) develop a public banking system. e) eradicate poverty as a wasteful economic institution -- i.e., wasteful of human social potential for change.

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Toxic Chemicals in the Built Environment: Bridging Sustainability and Health

We propose a workshop topic that focuses on how the sustainability movement toward greener building design has an opportunity to consider how occupants interact with the building space, and how the chemicals used in the indoor environment can affect our health. Silent Spring Institute is a national leader in researching everyday chemical exposures and their impact on human health. Our research identifies priority areas to focus exposure reduction strategies, and provides healthier chemical and product alternatives.

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Thriving with Water - A Community Process

With climate change and rising sea levels, Boston and its citizens are facing unprecedented challenges in the coming decades. Rather than reacting to these changes through infrastructure improvements alone, this should be viewed as an opportunity to the engage the community in a collaborative dialogue that maximizes the potential synergistic benefits of rising waters. “Thriving with Water” will focus increasing social resilience through broad citizen engagement and process ownership across Boston’s diverse communities. In the first session, we will propose four principles around co-designing creative solutions to ensure a bright future for the city and its inhabitants. In the second, we will discuss ideas for the next steps to begin the community engagement process in order to prepare for and benefit from the effects of climate change. In both sessions, there will be ample time for asking questions, sharing thoughts, and discussing ideas and solutions. Our communities are counting on us all to work together to not only to live with water, but to thrive.

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Furthering the Goals of Boston's Climate Action Plan by Leveraging the Envision Rating System

The Envision(TM) Rating System was developed as a joint collaboration between the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) in Washington. D.C., and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Where LEED certification applies to buildings, the ISI Envision(TM) rating system applies to all types and sizes of infrastructure planning and design: energy, water, waste, transportation, landscape and telecommunications; and can be applied to remediation, restoration, development and redevelopment projects. Projects are evaluated based on 5 Categories, well-aligned to the priorities outlined in Boston’s Updated Climate Action Plan (CAP): Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk. This provides a holistic framework to evaluate the community, environmental and economic benefits of a project. Since its initial release in 2011, municipalities have employed the Envision(TM) Rating System in a number of ways: making project selection and funding decisions based on Envision(TM) sustainability metrics; as a guideline for planning and design of projects to meet community sustainability and resiliency goals; and/or for pursuit of an Envision(TM) project award and recognition. Envision(TM) can be utilized as a key tool to develop a more vibrant and sustainable Boston. This sustainability rating system, developed in our own backyard, is a tool that Boston communities can use to align their initiatives and project opportunities to the sustainable community goals outlined in the CAP, and evaluate various project alternatives against a standard set of sustainability metrics. The first workshop session will include an introduction to the Envision(TM) Rating System and an overview of best practices for use. The second session, focused on next steps for implementation of Boston’s CAP, will include case study examples – selected to align with the goals of the CAP, the Summit, and the audience – followed by Q&A.

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Business Support for Carbon Pricing in MA

Local businesses are often the most ingrained in their communities, and therefore have a lot to lose from the impacts of climate change. Massachusetts has ambitious GHG reduction targets to reach by 2020 and 2050, and putting a price on carbon has the ability to send a clear market signal to households and businesses about the real costs of climate change, while also investing in the local Massachusetts economy. A carbon tax would put Massachusetts on the road towards a more effective climate change policy and could further prove what carbon pricing in other areas, such as British Columbia, has already illustrated: environmental impacts can be reduced without sacrificing economic growth. By supporting a price on carbon in Massachusetts, local businesses can effectively fight climate change while simultaneously supporting the local economy, job creation and financial sustainability. This workshop by the Climate Action Business Association will explore what carbon pricing could look like here in Massachusetts, what impacts it could have, and what local businesses are already doing to organize in support of putting a price on carbon.

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How to Cut Your Carbon Footprint by 85% and be Happier than Ever

This presentation is a case study of how one person has slashed his carbon footprint--and how others can get similar results. The presentation is <30 minutes; the remaining time is spent with a Q&A plus discussion about green lifestyle choices. I provide a handout that guides participants to cut their carbon footprint. The video of this presentation at the Newton library is here:, starting at minute 31:00. Participants find this session interesting, because it involves the way we live and the choices we make. Dan Ruben Boston Green Tourism

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