A flip of the switch to mitigate climate change

first_imgWith the flip of a switch, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the city of Boston illuminated a new chapter in their 137-year partnership and celebrated the nearly complete Weld Hill Solar Project, the latest advancement of their shared vision for a more sustainable future.At a “switch-throwing” ceremony at the Arboretum’s Weld Hill today, Harvard President Larry Bacow; Boston Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Christopher Cook; and Arboretum Director William “Ned” Friedman spoke to members of the University, the city of Boston, and the community about a unified commitment to mitigating climate change and maintaining a forward-focused dedication to conservation and the preservation of nature by utilizing fossil-free renewable alternatives for energy.“Climate change is a challenge for all society and each and every one us bears a personal responsibility for what we can do individually,” Bacow said. “But we also have an institutional responsibility as a University, through our teaching, through our scholarship, and through how we run the institution. This project represents a tangible presentation of our commitment to do that.”The most ambitious sustainability initiative to date for Harvard and the Arboretum, the 1.2-acre solar project design includes 1,152 ground-mounted solar panels and a 145-panel solar awning that will generate up to 30 percent of the energy required each year to support research and education at the Weld Hill Research Building, a state-of-the-art science laboratory and teaching facility in Roslindale. The project’s 450-kilowatt system is capable of producing more than 542,641 kilowatt hours each year to help researchers, faculty, and students from Harvard and around the world study plant life and its connection to all life on Earth.,The project design also includes an energy-storage battery array that will monitor the building’s energy usage and use stored electricity to help reduce peak-draw from the power grid. Lastly, a unique natives-focused pollinator meadow growing beneath the arrays — among the first of its kind in Massachusetts — will help support local biodiversity in the face of global insect declines.“There are two things we think about every day at the Arnold Arboretum — social justice and environmental justice,” Friedman said. “There’s nothing we do here that doesn’t align with our commitment to those.”Complimenting Harvard’s Climate Action Plan and the city’s Carbon-Free Boston initiative to become fossil-fuel-free by 2050, the Weld Hill Solar Project demonstrates attainable goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect human health, biodiversity, and the quality of life in Boston.“It’s hard to imagine an event that is more pertinent to the work of our cabinet than celebrating a solar array in a Boston city park, that’s really exciting,” said Cook.“The next time you go to the top of Peters Hill, imagine what these neighborhoods have all seen — recession, depression, elections, expressways and bridges that have come and gone, gentrification — and throughout all of that the Arboretum has provided respite, recreation, and education. It demonstrates the fact that the most famous educational institution in the world has never forgotten its home and we’re very, very grateful for that.”The “switch-throwing” ceremony concluded with the illumination of an energy-efficient, 18-inch novelty lightbulb. Speakers included Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley, Arboretum Director of Operations Stephen Schneider, and Roslindale neighbor Robert Orthman. Harvard Provost Alan Garber and Executive Vice President Katie Lapp were in attendance.The Weld Hill Solar project is funded through Harvard’s Green Revolving Fund, and will be fully operational next month. It takes a community to make compost 1.2-acre project to power research building is ambitious sustainability initiative Relatedcenter_img Arboretum gets a solar boost Arnold Arboretum partners with local businesses to turn trash to dark-brown goldlast_img read more


Memorial Mass honors life of former rector Sister Mary McNamara

first_imgRelatives, members of the Notre Dame community and Sisters of the Incarnate Word gathered Thursday to honor the life of Sister Mary McNamara, the rector of Breen-Phillips Hall, who died Feb. 7 due to complications from a stroke.University President Fr. John Jenkins presided over a memorial mass held in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Fr. Pete McCormick, director of Campus Ministry, delivered the homily in which he recalled the times when Sister McNamara invited him to say Mass at Breen-Phillips Hall (BP). Chris Collins | The Observer Residents of Breen-Phillips Hall (BP) walk down the aisle of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart during a memorial service held in honor of Sister Mary McNamara, BP’s rector, who passed away last week.“[McNamara] would always start by standing and thanking everyone who attended, saying ‘I recognize there are a number of places you could attend Mass this night but you honor us with your presence to be here in BP.’ My brothers and sisters, on this night we remember a woman of great faith, a woman who witnessed her religious vows to so many people,” McCormick said. “We honor her by your presence as we gather in prayer.”Sister McNamara usually began Mass with a joke, McCormick said. In honor of this tradition, McCormick opened his remarks with a joke, telling the story of a young man who collect-called his father in need of money. McCormick said like the father in the joke, who eventually suggests the phone operator pay the son in his place, people often wish others could “pay” their grief.“You know, I think sometimes in grief, when we lose a loved one, it feels a whole lot like ‘Man, I wish someone else could pay this grief’ because we feel it in every part of our being,” McCormick said. “Some days are good, some days are bad. And let’s be perfectly honest, sometimes it’s broken down into seconds. Some minutes are good, some minutes are bad.”McCormick recounted the words of Fr. Henri Nouwen, who reflected on preparing for death by living a “fruitful” life.“I love this notion of preparing for your death, mainly because it has far less to do with how we die and it has far more to do with how we live,” he said. “And we of the Christian faith and tradition have no greater example than Jesus. Jesus demonstrated how to die, to die for one’s friends, to die in service to others, pointing towards a greater reality.”McCormick said while those gathered mourned the passing of Sister McNamara, they also celebrated the joy she exhibited in her own life.“We gather in sadness, but we also gather in gratitude, gratitude for a woman who lived her life to the fullest,” he said. “A woman that spoke to us exactly what it meant to rejoice.”Following the Mass, Sister Margaret Taylor of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word, — Sister McNamara’s religious congregation — recounted Sister McNamara’s love for the Breen-Phillips community.“First, I want you to know that being rector of Breen-Phillips these last six years has been her dream job,” Taylor said. “ … She was thrilled to be accepted as the rector of BP in July of 2012 and she hoped this ministry would last until her retirement.”Residents of Breen-Phillips Hall filled the pews, wearing pink shirts marked with the words “We live in hope,” one of Sister McNamara’s favorite sayings. Taylor reflected on these words, saying Sister McNamara’s life was shaped by her faith.“[McNamara] would often to say ‘We live in hope’ and we say the same tonight because we know we will see her again,” Taylor said. “What she experienced the last week of her life was truly her own paschal mystery. At her bedside, we witnessed the motto of the Holy Cross Congregation: ‘Hail the cross, our only hope.’ We are grateful for her 51 years of prayer and presence as a Sister of the Incarnate Word.”Tags: Breen-Phillips Hall, memorial mass, Sisters of the Incarnate Word, Sr. Mary Catherine McNamaralast_img read more