A Momentous Occasion for the Planners of Boston GreenFest

August 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

The organizers of second annual Boston GreenFest 2009  have many ideals regarding their festival, what it represents,  and view it as an ethic to live by.   They have worked tirelessly to promote many aspects of green thinking, living and architecture – including green roofs, of course – but their scope is quite global and much more encompassing.   Karen L. Weber, Coordinator of Boston GreenFest and Executive Director of Foundation for a Green Future, Inc., told me that last Thursday, August 13, 2009 was indeed  “a momentous occasion for the planners of Boston GreenFest.”

Massachusetts State House's Grand Staircase; Photo taken by Halef Gunawan; Source: Boston GreenFest

Massachusetts State House's Grand Staircase; Photo taken by Halef Gunawan; Source: Boston GreenFest

Karen elaborates, “We held our first Green Town Meeting at the Massachusetts State House in front of the Grand Staircase with over 50 people in attendance.   Rep. Frank Smizik, Chair of the Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, opened the session.   He reminded everyone about the importance of energy efficiency and working to make the changes we need to go forward.   He also suggested that although Massachusetts has an excellent record about advocating for policy that addresses climate change, we must do more.   Senator Marc Pacheco of Taunton, recommended that everyone continue to lobby and push hard for their legislators to strive for higher goals in regards to climate change and efficiency.   Ben Wright of Environment Massachusetts, a group that works hard to advocate the weatherizing of everyone’s home and ways to reduce the cost on homeowners, acknowledged the remarks of Smizik and Pacheco.”

Karen read the draft of the GreenFest Manifest to set the stage for  their brainstorming session, and continues, “Scotland Willis, a member of the GreenFest planning committee and candidate for City Councilor at Large, reaffirmed the work we had to do and the unique opportunity GreenFest provides to the community to bring everyone together.   Raking Williams spoke about the fact that we have entered a time for change, for all life to be revered.   Tito Jackson, another City Council candidate, praised us for doing the work we are doing.   Craig Altemose, law student at Harvard, local coordinator of Massachusetts Power Shift and Green Town Meeting Coordinator for GreenFest, set the parameters of our work today.   We were to break in three discussion groups, with reports back before lunch.   After lunch, we were to constitute new groups and refine our ideas from the ones proposed at report back.   Final summary at 1:45 – 2 pm.
“The GreenFest Manifest is a document that combines ideas and a plan for action.   We decided to create a way to bring everyone on board to making changes in ways that could impact energy conservation and efficiency, global warming, and respect for life in a way that could establish clear actions for our city and commonwealth.   We intend to read the Manifest publicly at Boston GreenFest and hope to have everyone at GreenFest sign it.   It will then by sent to President Obama and our world leaders at Copenhagen to show them what we are ready to begin doing, and to inspire them to do that much more on a global level.   We hope we can inspire every state around the country and groups across the globe to come up with their own Manifest and put it into action.”
Here is the preamble to the GreenFest   Manifest,   and when the final form is complete, Karen will share  it with us:
Whereas Boston GreenFest invites all of our communities to come together regardless of race, color, background, and diverse beliefs to learn, connect and celebrate, today we reaffirm our commitment to protect and nurture life in all of its forms; to explore a balanced relationship with our complete self and our world; and to use sincerity, justice, discipline, kindness, wisdom, and principled determination to achieve a better union and universal peace.

We pledge to eradicate hunger and war so that peace will reign in our world; to educate each other so that we can create a world in which we live in harmony with nature and our surroundings; a world in which our children will not have to worry about carbon counts or rising tides; a world in which a stable climate will continue to provide us with the blessings of all our natural systems as well as the blessings of agriculture; a world in which the ties of family and community are placed above material possessions.

We commit to the principle that in all our decisions, we will consider their impact on all future generations.

Participants and Volunteers from Boston GreenFest 2008; SOurce: Bostone GreenFest

How inspirational, and momentous, indeed!

~ Linda V.

Boston GreenFest 2009

August 17, 2009 at 12:48 am

Boston GreenFest 2009Coming up this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, August  20-22 is the second annual Boston GreenFest 2009  held on the steps of City Hall in lovely Boston, Massachusetts.

Even in its infancy,  the inaugural Boston GreenFest 2008  was very well attended and created a lot of excitement among locals, visitors,  and politicians alike with a fun combination of exhibits, presentations, food, dance, film and environmental awareness.

The organizer is a friend and colleague, Dr. Karen L. Weber, LEED AP, Coordinator of  Boston GreenFest and Executive Director of Foundation for a Green Future, Inc.   She is an extremely energetic person with a lot of flair, enthusiasm and commitment to greening our built environment, and has devoted countless hours to this wonderful festival celebrating many aspects of green thinking and green living.   Karen is also a greenroof designer and her Foundation for a Green Future provides “opportunities to build an environmentally-friendly world from the rooftop down and the ground-up”  focusing on  greenroof technology and greening our urban spaces through education programs, community outreach, green jobs training, research and development, promotion of green businesses, and greenroof subsidies.

Boston GreenFest 2009 will bring together community groups, corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and citizens to share new technologies and ideas that can immediately change our daily lives and help bring about a more sustainable future.

Boston GreenFest 2009, the Foundation for a Green Future, Inc., and local volunteers will seek to connect with a broad audience from across all Boston neighborhoods to bring an inspiring message of action and change.   Together  they will work toward sustainability through art, music, fashion, discussions and interactive exhibits.   By engaging participants, young and old,  they will search for new ideas to reduce our impact on our planet.

Festival-goers will learn what it means to eat and grow local organic food, improve nutrition and health care, make better decisions about what we wear and the products we use for our personal care, green our city, build healthy communities, take action politically and personally, create green jobs and engage in a sustainable, green economy.

GreenFest 2008 Crew
“Boston GreenFest 2009 is a celebration of our environmental progress and a call to action for communities, citizens and corporations committed to an even brighter future,” says Karen Weber, Coordinator of Boston GreenFest 2009.   “We can no longer wait for someone to tell us what to do to improve our world.   We need to find the solutions ourselves.   The answers are within reach and we applaud the many groups in and around Boston already making positive change worthy of celebration and recognition.”

Jim Hunt, Chief Advisor to the Mayor on Environment and Energy, writes:   “Mayor Menino and the City of Boston are excited to welcome GreenFest back to City Hall Plaza.   This year’s program looks to encourage and support local community development, promote health and wellness strategies, educate the public on energy conservation and alternative transportation, and update the public on sustainability initiatives that are being pursued city, state, and nationwide.   The festival looks to combine educational programming with art projects and interactive components for area residents.    It offers something for everyone interested in sustainability issues.  

“The city is proud to serve as host for this event and we hope residents will take advantage of the myriad workshops, exhibits and demonstrations to learn what steps they can take to “go green.”   Please join the Mayor and me at Boston GreenFest 2009.    It will be a great festival and we look forward to your participation.”

For more info, please contact:

Dr. Karen L. Weber, LEED AP
Coordinator, Boston GreenFest 2009
Executive Director, Foundation for a Green Future, Inc.   (Green our roofs, green our planet!)
4 Archdale Road, Boston, MA   02131
Tel 617-477-4840/Fax 617-522-5447

A lot of fun to be had at the Boston GreenFest 2009 with all the bands and more.If you live in the Boston area, don’t miss out on a lot of (wicked) fun and entertainment,  especially some wonderful music with three stages  including over 40 live acts, and the GreenFilmFest: A series of films about going green, including The Greening of Southie, Fresh, Out Of Balance: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change and “Flow: the Film.”  

The Kick-off Concert is on Thursday, August 20, 2009 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm and the Festival runs from August 21- 22 from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.   I hope you attend, and make sure to go and say hello to Karen and crew!

~ Linda V.

Turfed Roofs of Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

August 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Aramis sent me this  interesting greenroof photo  yesterday from  “Pictures of the Day”  (August 13, 2009) in the Wall Street Journal Blogs:

Torshavn turf roof by Bob Strong, Reuters
“A worker mowed the grass roof of a government building near Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, Thursday. (Bob Strong/Reuters)”

Very cool photo!   I don’t know if I’d like to be the maintenance guy, though.

Torshavn Harbor, by Erik Christensen, Faroeislands.dk

Torshavn Harbor, by Erik Christensen, Faroeislands.dk

Situated in the North Atlantic halfway between Scotland and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are composed of 18 hilly islands covering about 1400 sq. km and remain relatively unknown.   The Vikings founded the first parliament on the Tinganes peninsiula  in Tórshavn in 825 AD, and the name of the city means Thor’s Harbour, named after the god of thunder and lightning in Norse mythology.   The Faroese usually refer to their capital simply as Havn – harbour, and with a population of about 19,000 (2008) the  city is carpeted with many traditional sod covered roofs.  

Skansin in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, June 25, 2004, by Erik Christensen, Wikipedia

Skansin in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, June 25, 2004, by Erik Christensen, Wikipedia

Tinganes is the old part of town, and small wooden houses covered with turf roofs are a common sight.   The oldest one dates back 500 years.

Turf Roofs Everywhere in Torshaven, photo by Jon Fossa, faroeislands.dk

Turf Roofs Everywhere in Torshaven, photo by Jon Fossa, faroeislands.dk

I’ve  only enjoyed  seeing photos of this rugged, picturesque archipelago nation, but have never visited (not yet, at least).     Have any of you?   Tórshavn appears to be a charming medieval city and we’d love to have someone knowledgeable write a Guest Feature on it for Greenroofs.com, especially about their extensive use of turf roofs and how (if at all) their methodology has changed throughout the years.

Please let me know if anyone is interested!

~ Linda V.

Tinganes in Torshavn, photo by Erik Christensen from Faroeislands.dk

Tinganes in Torshavn, photo by Erik Christensen from Faroeislands.dk


Congrats to all the new GRP’s!

August 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Green Roof Professional Designation

After almost seven weeks of intense scrutiny and review, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) has relased the names of their first “graduating class” of GRP’s, or Green Roof Professionals (download the Press Release “First Green Roof Professionals (GRPs) Announced” of July 21, 2009 here.    These hardy  100+ represent the inaugural group of professionals across multi-disciplinary fields to sit for and pass the GRP exam, held in Atlanta on June 5, 2009 at the 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards & Trade Show.

The purpose of the GRP exam is to establish greenroof professional viability in our growing industrial sector.   Jeffrey L. Bruce, Chair of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, whom I interviewed in May said, “We are very pleased with the caliber of the new GRPs and the fact that they come from both the green arts side, i.e., the living components of a green roof, and the black arts side, i.e., the nonliving components. Industry experts from both the black and the green arts have worked hard over the past six years to develop training materials and a professional exam that covers best practices across the spectrum of professionals, in order to improve multi-disciplinary knowledge and practice in the field.”

Congratulations to the new designees and so many people involved  in the whole process!   Many of our friends, colleagues, and several of our Contributing Editors received their GRP designtion, including Kelly Luckett, The Green Roof Guy; Patrick Carey, The Architecure Editor; and Haven Kiers, The Design Editor.   In fact, Kelly was on the GRHC Training and Accreditation Committee which developed the Green Roof Professional Accreditation program, and he can attest to the countless hours put in by all to ensure quality, integrity  and equity.   But don’t feel too badly for them as, of course, everyone on the GRP Training and Accreditation Committee was grandfathered in and didn’t have to take the actual test!

So what about me?   Remember when I said I was going to take it, too, and to join me?   Yeah, well that never happened.   Long story, but kind of typical for me, I waited too long to actually sign up for the exam and when I tried, it was closed.   It was probably a blessing in disguise, because I hadn’t studied at all and was going to cram for the test at the last minute…   Now I can plan accordingly, study like a normal person and take the GRP exam in any of these North American cities this fall: Chicago (Sept. 18), New York (Oct. 16),  Toronto (Oct. 19), and Seattle (Oct. 30).   And since I am also a greenroof designer, I do think it will be a good thing for me to have, along with my BLA and LEED AP.

So, did you take the test?   What do you think about it?   Share your comments here with us.

See the complete list of Green Roof Professionals in the latest issue of the Living Architecture Monitor online or download a PDF from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities here.   Once again, a job well done to all!

~ Linda V.