Our State of Sustainability

Our State of Sustainability: Wind Energy, Transit Emissions, Smart Development, and Our Green Budget with ELM
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 | 6:00-8:30 PM | CIC Venture Cafe – Kendall

The Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) is a nonprofit educational and advocacy organization committed to combating climate change and protecting land, water, and public health. By creating diverse alliances and building the power of the environmental community, ELM leverages collective influence to ensure Massachusetts is a leader in environmental and economic sustainability. With resources focused at the state level, ELM advocates for strong environmental laws and regulations on a broad range of issues, including – encouraging adequate funding for state environmental programs, combating climate change, supporting compact, walkable communities, building a 21st century transportation system, creating sustainable management of our water resources, ensuring stewardship of our urban and state parks, reducing the use of toxic chemicals, and increasing recycling and reducing solid waste.

Members of the ELM team join BASG in April to unpack some of the organization’s priority areas and share their perspective on critical opportunities facing our region.

  • Renewable Wind: After 16 years, Cape Wind couldn’t get the blades spinning, but is offshore wind still coming to the Commonwealth? Can Massachusetts build the nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm? Will our residents finally benefit from the great promise of this renewable energy and the jobs that go along with it?
  • Green Budget: Massachusetts’ economy depends largely on its natural resources – tourism, agriculture, fisheries – but only 0.5% of the state operating budget supports environmental agencies. How do we reverse a 10-year trend in declining funding and where would it be best to invest?
  • Smart Development: Boston’s hottest real estate opportunity, Widett Circle, is for sale, but can a return to wetlands win out over the city’s rising tide of development?
  • Transportation Emissions: “D” is for our state’s disappointing progress on reducing transportation sector emissions. This is also the grade the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Report Card gives the transportation sector, which is the largest single source of greenhouse gases (37%) of the Commonwealth’s total emissions. What will it take to move from laggard to leader in greener transit solutions?

Elizabeth Turnbull Henry
President, Environmental League of Massachusetts

A proven corporate sustainability leader, she makes the economic case for Massachusetts to lead the nation in environmental quality, innovative policy, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Prior to joining ELM, Elizabeth managed climate, energy & environmental programs at the global retailer Adidas.  She designed the greenENERGY Fund, investing in energy efficiency, renewables and distributed energy.  She also advanced the sustainability of new construction, co-led the team that set Adidas’ industry-leading targets for sustainability, and raised Adidas’ voice on national and global climate policy. Elizabeth was an EDF Climate Corps Fellow in 2010.  She also consulted to the US Department of Energy, worked as Sustainability Lead for a Massachusetts-based residential construction firm, and led international travel programs to over 30 countries.

Elizabeth has an MBA and Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) from Yale University and a BA in Environmental Policy and Economics from Colby College.  Raised in West Virginia, she now lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband and two children.

Eric Wilkinson
General Counsel and Director of Energy Policy, Environmental League of Massachusetts

Eric joined ELM in 2016. Prior to joining ELM, Eric served as Senior External Affairs Representative at ISO New England, the entity responsible for managing the wholesale energy grid. Eric’s responsibilities included environmental, climate change and renewable energy issues. Eric served as the lead for External Affairs on both the ISO’sEric-Wilkinson energy-efficiency and distributed generation forecasts. Eric also served as Policy Advisor to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, overseeing implementation of the Board’s smart growth main extension rules and providing guidance on smart growth issues. He was Policy Director at New Jersey Future and a senior contributor to their smart growth and sustainable development policy analysis and initiatives. Eric has also worked as director of the EPA’s Voluntary Standards Network, and as a member of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. Eric holds a Juris Doctorate and a Masters in the Study of Environmental Law, cum laude from the Vermont Law School.

We hope you’ll join us for an evening of inquiry and connection on important topics. – Carol, Holly & Tilly