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Call to action, keep the headline of Boston’s Earth Day events

Environmentalists from Extinction Rebellion, seen here at a 2023 Earth Day event, will host an Earth Day celebration Monday at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Chloe Heskett, File)

Environmentalists will call on Gov. Maura Healey to halt construction of fossil fuel infrastructure in Massachusetts on Monday, as organizations celebrate Earth Day and promote conservation around the world.

Members of Extinction Rebellion, a movement aimed at creating a national dialogue around ecological conservation and the climate crisis, protested on Saturday against a proposed expansion of 17 new hangars at the Hanscom Airfield.

“It is incredibly frustrating that even with a government that has said climate is a priority, fossil fuel infrastructure is still being built and will be in use for decades,” organizer Chloe Heskett told the Herald.

In addition to their call to action, Extinction Rebellion will host an event at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park featuring a variety of games, art, music, guest speakers and other organizations looking to educate the public about preserving the planet.

“The idea is to come together and really celebrate together, but also to remind people that we really need to take action if we want to continue celebrating our planet the way we can now,” she said.

The event will feature a giant Jenga game with endangered species on each block that will eventually be removed during the game. Heskett emphasized the importance of educating the younger generation about the importance of preserving the planet, but acknowledged that children today are taught more about that importance than older generations.

“That’s a very important message for everyone of all ages, but especially for the younger generations,” she said. “However, much of the younger generation knows that better than some of us.”

The Boston University Sustainability Team’s Earth Day efforts began about a month ago with their program, Earth Day 365. The initiative, which promotes how to protect and preserve the planet every day, not just on April 22, included a campus-wide food drive, lessons on making use of leftover meals, textile drop-and-waps and shredding and recycling events, among other things.

“Sustainability is not just about what I do in my office every day to encourage the university to reduce its footprint over time,” Lisa Tornatore, BU director of sustainability, told the Herald. “Sustainability and caring for the planet is something that everyone can do and it can cover many different topics.”

Tornatore encouraged others to continually remind themselves that change should not be scheduled for a specific date or time. There are also countless ways in which conservation efforts can be accomplished, and everyone’s desire to make a change will always be welcome.

“We don’t have to wait for Earth Day to be good stewards of our environment or our local communities,” she said. “The idea here is that we can promote conservation, environmental justice and like-minded issues every day of the year.”

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission will debut their fleet of 37 electric vehicles on Monday, including a new combination truck, the Genesis. Typical sewer cleaning vehicles use more than 80 liters of water per minute, which then enters the system. The Genesis uses and then recycles 90 gallons in the same period, the main difference being that the water in the Genesis is continuously recycled.

Stephen Mulloney, communications specialist for the commission, said the machine will save about 96,000 liters of water per week.

“Not only does it do a phenomenal job of keeping our sewers clean and the city clean and healthy, but we also save about 5 million gallons of water a year,” he said.

Of the 37 electronic vehicles, 16 are Ford F150 pickup trucks and the other 21 are Ford Mach-E hatchback sedans. Mulloney emphasized that these new vehicles will reduce environmental impact in Boston as commission staff perform a variety of daily tasks ranging from emergency repairs to overseeing major infrastructure projects.

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission will showcase its new fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles at an Earth Day event, including a new Genesis sewer cleaning truck that can reduce water use by about 5 million gallons per year.  (Photo courtesy of Stephen Mulloney)
The Boston Water and Sewer Commission will showcase its new fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles at an Earth Day event, including a new Genesis sewer cleaning truck that can reduce water use by about 5 million gallons per year. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Mulloney)