Sustainable Marblehead’s Impact to Date

Sustainable Marblehead is a volunteer community organization that works to educate, engage and support our town in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and waste, save money and energy, and increase quality of life.  We do this through our six working groups in the areas of Clean Energy and Public Policy, Conservation, Education, Harbor, Town Trees and Urban Forestry, and Transportation.  The following is a list of how our accomplishments to date are impacting our community.


Clean Energy and Public Policy

  •  Promoted and assisted the Town in the creation of its new Green Marblehead Committee. Our two representatives on the 11-member committee helped to create the committee's visioning document, Marblehead Climate Vision, Charting a path to carbon neutrality by 2040. Our representatives will continue to serve on the committee as it develops the vision document into a net zero action plan.

  • Carbon-Free Marblehead 2040, released in November 2019, is our framework to guide Marblehead to 100% renewable energy. This follows our Greenhouse Gas Report, released in 2018, which documented our town’s carbon emissions and will serve as a baseline to measure future emission levels.

  • Submitted a warrant article at Town Meeting 2018, overwhelming approved, mandating the Town to achieve 100% Carbon-Free Energy, including in electricity production, building energy use, and transportation.

  • Works closely with Marblehead Municipal Light Department to promote the addition of more renewable energy into MMLD’s portfolio, battery storage at utility scale, rebates for residential solar, encouraging EV adoption and town-wide EV chargers, residential storage and smart-metering.  We participate in state-wide discussions about renewable energy standards for Municipal Light Departments.



  •  Supported and assisted the Recreation and Parks Department's initiative to add public water-bottle filling stations in town. Installation is being planned for three new sites. 

  • Increases awareness about composting, recycling, the impact of single-use plastics, the benefits of drinking tap water and the impact of pesticides through the distribution of materials developed by the working group.

  • Almost 500 Marblehead households have signed on to Black Earth Compost’s curbside pickup, and the number of compost bins at the Transfer Station has almost doubled.

  • Sponsors seasonal weekly cleanups of Devereux Beach.



  • Educates students of all ages about environmental protection, waste reduction and sustainability.

  • Hosted a Children’s Sustainability Fair for children ages 10 and under, reaching over 100 children.

  • Works with Marblehead school department to promote composting and recycling, and with the new school building school to assist their efforts to make the school as energy-efficient and sustainable as possible. Meets regularly with school superintendent to discuss implementation of sustainability initiatives in the school curriculum.

  • Partnered with Abbot library Children’s Room to develop and implement a “Green Paws” education and activity center around various themes, including “solar as energy” and “understanding our food imprint.”

  • Communicates monthly through a newsletter to teachers, principals, parents and leaders of youth organizations highlighting upcoming and past events and initiatives.


  • Working group formed in Spring 2020 under the name Our Harbor, One Ocean to work with the Marblehead community to create awareness and inspire action to protect our harbor and ocean.

  • Engaged a diverse group of harbor stakeholders including town officials, local businesses and a wide range of recreational and commercial boating organizations to inform the group’s future direction.

  • Launched a Green Boating Awareness campaign, in collaboration with Sailors for the Sea, to highlight best practices for environmentally friendly boating.

  • Collaborated with Massachusetts Marine Trades Association to promote marine shrink wrap recycling solutions to area boat yards.

  • In partnership with SPUR, co-sponsored our second annual Land and Sea Cleanup, engaging over 300 volunteers.

Town Trees and Urban Forestry

  • The group advocates for public land tree planning, planting, and maintenance to help combat climate change through carbon sequestration, cooling properties of shade, water retention, and supporting a diverse flora and fauna environment.  

  • Originally focused on Town owned lands (road margins on all streets and Abbot Hall) we advocated for the hiring of the town’s Tree Warden in 2019 and continue to support him in his goals of conducting an inventory of existing trees, planning for the replanting of the many trees that have been lost over the last decades, and finding funding sources for tree planting and maintenance. We have assisted in writing grant applications and consulted on technical details for species selection and street tree placements. Particular attention has been focused on increasing donations to Marblehead's Tree Donation Fund which originated in 1976 and has been mostly untapped for several years.

  • In 2020, we expanded efforts to include Parks and School lands not already under Marblehead Conservancy's management. Fund raising, technical assistance, and volunteer maintenance activities will be conducted in 2021 and beyond. We should look forward to trees being donated in recognition of Marblehead residents and organizations in key areas throughout the Park and School lands.



  • Encouraged the Town to join MA’s Complete Streets program to identify infrastructure improvements to make walking and biking safer and easier; state grants are available to fund improvements.

  • Working with the Education Working Group to introduce MA's Safe Routes to Schools program to Marblehead schools.

  • Collaborated with Marblehead's National Green Schools Society students to initiate a no-idling campaign at Marblehead High School. This program is being expanded to a town-wide outreach.

  • Advocating for a transition to electric vehicles.

  • Conducted a survey of existing bike racks and secured private donor funding for additional bike racks for town public spaces.

  • Created four Bike/Driver safety videos, available on our website.

  • Bike Marblehead Committee promotes safe biking in town with a series of Marblehead Reporter articles, distribution of a bicycle safety informational flyer, regular community bike rides and family bike rodeos.


Educating and Engaging the Community

  • Offer regular Zoom presentations on topics relating to our Working Groups’ initiatives.

  • Introduced our first speaker series, Conversations on Conservation in fall 2019.

  • Hosted a town-wide Sustainability Fair in 2018, attracting over 700 visitors.

  • Distribute monthly electronic newsletters with updates on town sustainability initiatives.

  • Serve as a resource for current news in environmental issues, local, national and global with our regular Facebook posts.

Sustainable Marblehead is committed to encouraging every resident to live as sustainably as possible.  We support their efforts by advocating for legal initiatives that enforce scientifically proven best policies on energy and waste. 

Marblehead, Mass., USA