In New England, the ocean is an integral part of our lives, economy, and communities. But today, our need for the ocean’s resources is growing. So New England is leading the way in creating the country’s first regional ocean plan to balance ocean protection with responsible development.
In late 2013, an EPA report found that, over the next 30 years, climate change could increase phosphorus levels in Lake Champlain by an average of 30%. The report’s implications for nutrient-impaired waters across the country are significant – more pollution, and its devastating by-products, will only stress our waters more.
Our most iconic waterscapes – Cape Cod, Great Bay, Lake Champlain, and Narragansett Bay – are slowly being choked by nutrient pollution. Nutrient pollution is traced to fertilizer runoff from agriculture and lawns, animal waste from factory farms, and overflowing sewage. CLF is fighting against nutrient pollution and for clean water in New England.
With healthcare costs and rates of obesity and other chronic disease soaring – especially among low-income populations – community groups and public health organizations are increasingly aware that improving neighborhood environments can boost health outcomes. But, traditional financing sources simply aren’t capable of addressing those needs at the project level.
Launched last year, CLF’s Legal Services Food Hub matches farmers, food entrepreneurs, and community organizations with free legal assistance. “Many farmers and food entrepreneurs struggle to overcome the high legal fees associated with running a food-based business,” says CLF Legal Fellow Elena Mihaly, who coordinated the Hub.
For Isabel, a 15-year-old sophomore at Boston Latin School, climate change is a big concern. That’s why, last November, Isabel and three other teens, alongside CLF and the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, sued the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for not meeting key obligations of the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
When it comes to clean water in New England, two big challenges stand in the way: nutrient pollution and stormwater runoff. CLF is working to solve these challenges by pushing local and state governments and the EPA to enforce clean water laws and hold polluters accountable for their damage.
“New Englanders living in low-income and communities of color are more deeply impacted by our current environmental challenges than society at large,” says Veronica Eady. That’s why CLF, in collaboration with community groups and residents in environmental justice communities, is working to reduce the environmental hazards that threaten public health across New England.
It’s tempting to leave the problem of stormwater runoff to cities, towns, and businesses. But our houses also takes away the landscape’s ability to soak up precipitation naturally. Solutions to start greening our home landscapes, however, can be as simple as buying a rain barrel and planting a rain garden.
CLF and our partners are championing a new approach to managing stormwater. Green infrastructure is about trying to design our built environment in a way that restores the ability of the landscape to soak up precipitation and filter out pollutants before the runoff reaches our waterways.