Breaking Green Boundaries

Phoenix Forum: “Why Isn’t Rhode Island the Greenest State in the Country?”


By Megan Grandmaison  |

On Thursday April 17, 2014, The Providence Phoenix held an open forum meeting at Betaspring on Chestnut Street in Providence. The forum was hosted by Philip Eil of The Providence Phoenix and included a panel of experts to discuss their ideas on why Rhode Island is not the greenest state in the country and how it could improve its standing. The experts in attendance were Jamie Rhodes, the RI Director at Clean Water Action; Christine Malecki West, an architect focused on sustainability at Kite Architects in Providence; Abel Collins, an environmental and social justice advocate and politician; Frank Corini, editor at ecoRI News, and Sheila Dormody, Director of Sustainability for the city of Providence.

The overall message of the meeting was that R.I. is not doing enough to be sustainable and it is mostly due to bad policies and politicians who have not made making Rhode Island more sustainable a top priority. In order for Rhode Island to be a “greener” state, we need to invest in and participate in greener transportation, better recycling (breaking down and reusing what already exists), better use of energy, alternative energy solutions…the list goes on and on.

While the whole topic of sustainability and the idea of overhauling an entire state to become more sustainable can seem like an extraordinary (let alone mind numbing) task, have no fear – the experts have given us a few easy ways for each of us to easily make a difference.

Here is what we (You and I) can do:

  • Respect the Waste Hierarchy

1. Reduce

2. Reuse

3. Recycle

In that order. Use less, use it more, and recycle it when you can’t use it any more.

  • Compost
    • Save your food scraps and use them to fertilize your garden. Don’t have a garden? That’s cool too. Your city may have a composting program (they collect your scraps!). The scraps they collect from you are composted and used to to create better soil in the community. Better soil makes for better crops. Better crops equal more food. See how this works?
    • Check with your city to find out which programs are available. You can also check out to find programs available in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
  • Talk to state agencies and city officials and tell them what you want
    • Does writing a letter sound like something you’ll never do? Then follow your local reps on Twitter and tweet your message to them. Get your point across in 140 characters or less. Easy.
  • Vote!
    • Vote Intelligently! Vote for the RIGHT people!
    • You’ve heard it a million times and as cliche as it sounds it is SO true – Your vote counts!
    • Not old enough to vote? Then tell your parents what is important to you and get them to cast their vote on your behalf!
  • Educate & Empower Yourself
    • With information!
    • Know what’s going on in your city, state, country. Don’t be fooled by false information.
    • Follow this blog and we’ll make it easy for you to stay educated!
  • Live the Quantified Life
    • The what?
    • This means, keep track of how you are living. How much gas are you using in your car? How much energy are you using in your home/dorm? How often is the TV/light on in an empty room? How high is the thermostat? Is it on when you’re not home?  How much food are you wasting? Etc.
      • Pay attention to these things and then try to make changes to improve the numbers.
      • Tell your friends and family! Get them to join you in your effort to live better.
  • Run for Office!
    • That’s right! You for President! Or senator, or state representative, or whatever you want.
    • Become an elected official. Get empowered to make the changes! Make it better!

“If you’re voice isn’t heard, it’s only because you’re not talking.”



Originally Posted on May 6th

Thanks to our own Anna Fall for taking the pictures

This entry was published on May 12, 2014 at 11:03 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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