Local Climate Action From Laura’s Farm

By | Action today, Featured Post, Sustainable Living, W2O Blog

The rain has finally stopped and Laura Parker Roerden is excitedly showing us what she calls “the three things” that she has changed on the farm this year in an effort to fulfill a promise to herself to reduce her carbon footprint. Farmer, biologist, writer, blogger and ocean steward, Laura serves on the executive committee of Women Working for Oceans and is founder and director of Ocean Matters. Land and sea: she is determined to protect both. This month Laura and her family added solar panels, a solar heated thermal water unit and an electric car to their already conscientious lifestyle. “Mahatma Gandhi said to be the change you wish to see in the world,” Laura explains. “We had been turning that around seriously in our plans for some time and these three actions just seemed a positive way to address our concerns about the health of the planet we will leave to our children.”

The farm, nestled down a quiet road in Blackstone Valley is over a hundred and eighty-three years old and has been in Laura’s family for five generations. The barn is the center of this homestead; it sits right off of the road and is a classic farm red with a huge sliding door that opens to reveal the “farm family” of chickens, lamb, llamas, and cows. Year round “farm campers” aged 8-18 are welcomed to learn about the secrets of sustainability and where real food comes from.

Now, the old farm seems new and relevant to modern times. Besides learning about the animals and farm activity, the next generation will learn about conservation on a larger scale. Laura and her family are using renewable energy to lower the farm’s and their family’s climate impact and saving money in the long run. “Sustainability is really important to a family farm, both ecologically and economically, if you hope to pass it along to the next generation,” says Laura.

With a south-facing roof and an expansive space, the barn is the perfect pallet for multiple solar panels which will pay for itself in 2-3 years, while providing electricity for both farm and farmhouse. The panels will provide energy for hot water, all their electricity used and for the running of the electric car, achieving a zero carbon footprint for these normally higher carbon outputs. These types of panels, thermal and electricity, qualify for federal and state tax credits and low-interest loans, which help significantly lower the initial investment.

The car is a 220 range Chevy Bolt, which also qualifies for tax benefits. Laura’s teen-aged boys were slightly hesitant about the cool factor of owning one of these, but with all the attention that the car receives from curious friends and the community, they are becoming perfect ambassadors for going electric. “It’s up to each and every one of us,” says Laura. “Climate action is local action.”

Read more HERE about Laura and her family farm

Below Laura has shared her notes on Federal Tax Credit for Solar:


Mass Tax Credit for Solar


EV deals in MA (explains the federal and state tax rebates available)


About Solar Thermal Hot Water Units:


A federal tax credit is available for solar water heaters. The credit is for 30% through 2019, then decreases to 26% for the tax year 2020, then to 22% for the tax year 2021. It expires December 31, 2021. Learn more and find state and local incentives.

The federal tax credit for other water heaters expired at the end of 2016. If you installed an eligible water heater in 2015 or 2016, file form 5695 with your taxes to claim the credit.


By | Past Events | No Comments


Sunday, April 29, 2012

On April 29th, the New England Aquarium Sustainable Seafood Program is co-presenting Boston’s first ever Sustainable Seafood Teach-In!  The New England Aquarium is teaming up with the Museum of Science, Chef’s Collaborative, Let’s Talk About Food, and the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment for an all day event as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.

The event features keynotes from Paul Greenberg and Barton Seaver, panel discussions with representatives from all parts of the seafood industry, and one-on-one interactions with experts of every kind (including the Aquarium’s own Jason Clermont, Wild-Capture Fisheries Specialist!)

This is going to be a great event for anyone who wants to better understand how the seafood on their plate is affecting the oceans, fishermen and our local seafood economy.

You can see more details, and register for the event, here.




Plastics in the Ocean and in You

To Purchase Tickets, click here!

On April 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM at the New England Aquarium’s IMAX Theatre Dianna Cohen from Plastics Pollution Coalition (http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/) will be speaking about plastics in the oceans and our lives. This presentation is not to be missed — Dianna is AMAZING and what she has to tell you is important for our children and our planet!
Check out our W2O Facebook page. Be sure to “like” us!!!
Love to all for a very happy holiday season!
Barbara Burgess and Donna Hazard
Co- Founders, W2O




Plastic Ocean Pollution

By | In the News | No Comments

With Dianna Cohen scheduled as the featured speaker for our spring event on April 10th, I’ve been doing some background reading on plastic pollution.  While this article isn’t new, it is a good summary of some of the issues.  Stayed tuned for photographs coming later this week!

Plastic Breaks Down in Ocean, After All — And FastThough ocean-borne plastic trash has a reputation as an indestructible, immortal environmental villain, scientists announced yesterday that some plastics actually decompose rapidly in the ocean. And, the researchers say, that’s not a good thing. The team’s new study is the first to show that degrading plastics are leaching potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A into the seas, possibly threatening ocean animals, and us.

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By | Events, Past Events | No Comments


Greetings W2O Friends!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!   2012 is going to be an exciting year for W2O!
We hope you and your husband or partner can join us for a special Valentine’s Day Dinner.  Space is very limited so please send off your checks to W2O as soon as possible.  (See the attached Save the Date!)
On April 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM at the New England Aquarium’s IMAX Theatre Dianna Cohen from Plastics Pollution Coalition (http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/) will be speaking about plastics in the oceans and our lives.  This presentation is not to be missed — Dianna is AMAZING and what she has to tell you is important for our children and our planet!
Check out our W2O Facebook page.  Be sure to “like” us!!!
Love to all for a very happy holiday season!
Barbara Burgess and Donna Hazard
Co- Founders, W2O



AKA Bistro

By | Featured Post, Responsible Restaurants, W2O Blog | No Comments

Last week, we had the most incredible experience at Aka Bistro in believe-it-or-not Lincoln, MA! We had a chance to talk with the chef/owners, and we were so excited to hear they are completely committed to serving sustainable seafood!  Plus, they are totally committed to serving locally grown produce.  There was a very cool buzz in the room about eating to preserve our environment.  I had mussels steamed in white wine.  We also devoured sauteed rainbow trout amandine.  YUM!   Oh…right and we shared a delicous bottle of wine!  For a suburban restaurant, Aka was cozy and funky– a great space to dine!

Dartmouth College ENVS 17 Visits the New England Aquarium

By | Featured Post, Past Events, W2O Blog | No Comments

On October 4, 2011 – Dartmouth College students in the ENVS 17: Marine Policy class journeyed to the New England Aquarium in order to observe the ecological systems they read about for class and to interact with oceans experts from many different fields. They were lucky to be able to join the group Women Working for the Oceans (W2O) for an IMAX presentation by National Geographic photo-journalist Brian Skerry.

As part of the learning process, students were required to write a short essay on what they learned from the visit related to either oceans ecosystems or sustainable seafood. Their essays along with pictures from the day are posted here.