Mayoral Candidates Questionnaire Quotes

During the 2013 Boston mayoral campaign, GreeningRozzie joined Neighborhoods for Climate Accountability, a coalition of Boston green groups that issued a questionnaire about environmental issues. What follows are particularly good quotes from the responses. (The quotes are arranged by candidate, and the candidates are in alphabetical order.)

Felix Arroyo

Our investments should reflect our values. We should invest in renewable energy and not in an industry that is destructive to our environment and contributing to climate change. ...As we seek to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels as a city, state, and nation, we should not use our city’s resources to support those companies that perpetuate that dependence.

John Connolly

Consequences of climate change such as more frequent and severe flooding and an exacerbated heat island effect have the potential to most adversely affect Bostonians living in poverty and elderly residents. We have to make sure that emergency preparedness and climate change adaptation planning focuses on our most vulnerable residents.

We need a holistic strategy that brings transit, housing, and amenities together near workplaces to make it possible for more people to live in the kind of sustainable, walkable, bikeable, vibrant neighborhoods that are attracting startups and innovation economy workers.

Rob Consalvo

Increasing the number of trees in the city is important, but where the trees are planted is more important. Priority should be given to neighborhoods where we have less tree canopy and higher rates of asthma and higher impacts from high heat days. It is not simply about the quantity of trees, it also needs to be about the quality of the spaces.

Capturing energy savings in Boston’s rental property sector will not only help to address the impacts of climate change, but it will also increase energy affordability for tenants, job opportunities for energy service providers and lower operating costs for nonresident property owners.

… reducing the number of cars on the road by ensuring that every resident has access to public transportation, a Hubway bike station, an electric vehicle charging station and a park within a 5 minute walk of their home.

Charlotte Golar-Richie

We are making policy decisions now, especially regarding infrastructure that will affect the future of this city for decades to come, and could limit or enhance our ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 2050 may appear to be a long way off now, but vision and leadership regarding our city’s future are more critical than ever as we try to halt and adapt to climate change.

We need to shift vehicular and highway funding to better transit. Boston can lead in this effort by adopting local policies that encourage transit and bike oriented development, and insisting that new development follow a “green Boston” paradigm that focuses investment on non-vehicular modes. The time is long overdue for us to level the playing field in this area.

Mike Ross

The best strategies for preparing for emergencies are simply to build strong communities that look out for one and other. Supporting broad community building and neighborhood engagement efforts is something we can get better at as a city, and will be a critical component of our climate action strategies.

There is a lot more that the city can do to encourage both recycling and composting among large producers, such as restaurants. Through a coordinated effort, the City can play a key role in consolidating hauling services to increase efficiency and reduce costs, and grow the number of businesses that recycle and compost.

While it’s important for us to increase the amount of renewable energy generated in Boston, we must first ensure that our buildings are operating at the highest levels of energy efficiency as possible. This is the financially and environmentally responsible thing to do.

From Brighton to Roxbury, Mattapan to Dorchester, acres of land sit empty that can be used for food production that can help provide food -- and jobs -- to Bostonians in need. Through the use of raised bed gardening, greenhouses, and also green roofs, Boston has [a] huge opportunity to address multiple issues at once by increasing local food production.

“Green jobs” are not just in the clean energy generating sector. We should be working with the business community to ensure that all businesses are adopting environmentally responsible practices and that all jobs provide safe work environments.

Bill Walczak

We must also expand building energy conservation efforts to treat buildings more holistically. For example, many buildings are unsuitable for additional insulation because of roof leaks and other moisture problems. We must address these moisture problems, which will allow greater insulation levels to reduce operating costs and fossil-fuel emissions, as well as reducing interior mold that can trigger asthma.

Car ownership should not be encouraged within the city, and less parking allows both higher residential density and more green area.

We must improve public transit to underserved areas of the city, and make sure every citizen of Boston has the option to use public transit. Nobody in Boston should have to own a car.

Since energy conservation will be an on-going effort for the next several decades, we should expand the mission of Renew Boston and Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) to stress job training and job creation in the energy conservation sector, especially in the low-income areas that they serve.

Marty Walsh

Recycling and diversion of paper and organic material from the waste stream are two priority areas given the proportion of the overall waste stream they represent. One of the exciting opportunities for waste diversion is market development complementary to the new zoning passed for urban agriculture. There [is] a space for innovative and entrepreneurial companies to bridge the gap between organic waste products and the demand for organic compost from residential gardeners and organizational famers.

The next generation of Bostonians should be educated not only in the traditional skill sets (reading, writing, math and science) but... they should leave school with an appreciation for and understanding of the important role sustainability will play in all of our lives.

In addition to making sure the city's youngest residents are exposed to the importance of green jobs and innovation from an early age, it is just as important to provide the spaces which support innovative thinking throughout the city. We have buildings in every neighborhood that can serve as incubator space to fledgling companies or even individuals with simply a great idea.

We must make the city a place that not only says it wants green jobs but demonstrates that it wants green jobs by preparing our students to be the next generation of innovators, supporting innovative projects which can serve as a demonstration of what is possible with green technology and by creating spaces for locally grown innovators to make their ideas a reality.