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What Newburyport has done to keep the city green

Reflecting on earth day, ___ shares some plans and additional ideas on how this community can further lower our carbon footprint to better our future.

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Mayor Sean Reardon

Editor’s note:

This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinated by ACES — The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

Last year when I reflected on Newburyport’s climate and environmental accomplishments on Earth Day, I was still new to the mayor’s office. A year further into my term I realize just how much more has been building and working and progressing in our community. My colleagues in City Hall and many citizen volunteers have achieved a great deal in previous years and have built a foundation that we are activating even further in 2023.

For example, as we celebrate Earth Month, we are proud of the work of the Newburyport Energy Advisory Committee and the Newburyport Resiliency Committee as they share several resources to help our community take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), as well as to understand how the city is preparing for an already changing climate. EnergizeNewburyport is an interactive website designed to help our community reduce GHGs and mitigate the effects of climate change. EnergizeNewburyport provides information, resources, and tools to assist our community on the path toward cleaner energy use.

Newburyport has been designated a Green Community by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and is committed to the goal of becoming a net-zero city. Ever-increasing energy costs and the continued damaging environmental impacts associated with climate change make this goal more important than ever.

The Newburyport Resiliency Projects Interactive Map provides an overview of the city’s infrastructure projects that will help protect and preserve Newburyport against the effects of climate change. This site includes a description of the projects that are in design, as well as those that have been completed. It will be updated regularly to ensure the status is always known.

At the end of 2020, the Resiliency Committee published a plan to increase community resilience related to sea level rise, storm surge, flooding, and extreme weather events throughout the city. The committee’s mission is now focused on advocating for and overseeing implementation of the plan’s recommendations.

In addition to city staff and volunteers, there are many involved environmental groups such as ACES and its allies like the Livable Newburyport Streets and the Merrimack Valley Watershed Council. Over the past three years, ACES conducted surveys of over 500 users of the Merrimack River and produced a survey report in detail which has been brought forward to state agencies and commissions to focus on combined sewer overflows (CSO) and per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFA).

I’ve been in those meetings and working with Senator Bruce Tarr, and other mayors along with agencies and ACES folks and I’m very pleased to see that that work has motivated action as elected representatives from both MA and NH have picked up the banner and have introduce Federal legislation to fund CSO mitigation.

One of the things that is clear from these three examples is that collaboration is the way things get done. Collaboration between governmental entities and businesses and volunteer groups such as Storm Surge, Merrimack River Beach Alliance, the Chamber of Commerce, and others continue to help us make progress on these tasks that are too difficult to take on alone. Another new partner is Pollinator PowerWorks, which is helping to reclaim our newly acquired old pasture open space by Colby Farm Lane into a butterfly and pollinator native plant refuge. We look forward to continuing to work with all our talented partners.

The most powerful “gear” of all in this clockwork of climate and environmental care, especially on Earth Day 2023 is you. We need each of us to commit to doing something, however small, every day to help us heal the planet and protect our own region from severe damage.

A great place to start is to take 10 minutes to visit our EnergizeNewburyport website ( and see how you can best save money while reducing greenhouse gases. On our website you won’t see generalizations, but specific actionable things you can do to save money and do good for the planet.

And please come tomorrow, April 22, to downtown Newburyport to celebrate Earth Day. I share my birthday with Earth Day, so there will be cupcakes for any kids attending, and we look forward to celebrating the day and our commitment to a green planet.

Sean Reardon is the mayor of Newburyport.

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Sean Reardon

The 69th mayor of Newburyport, Sean is a native of the city with great appreciation for the history and beauty of the city and what it has become with an exceptionally beautiful waterfront, Plum Island marshes and beaches, state and local parks, historic homes and downtown. He is committed to ensuring that the environmental challenges facing the city and area are addressed in the interest of having a Green/Resilient/Sustainable city for the future.

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