An image of the fall foliage in central Massachusetts. Author: rawheadrex

Massachusetts ( (listen), ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Connecticut to the southwest and Rhode Island to the southeast, New Hampshire to the northeast, Vermont to the northwest, and New York to the west. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. It is home to the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.

Plymouth was the site of the second colony in New England after Popham Colony in 1607 in what is now Maine. Plymouth was founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the Mayflower. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America's most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials. In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolution catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts. In 1786, Shays' Rebellion, a populist revolt led by disaffected American Revolutionary War veterans, influenced the United States Constitutional Convention. In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which swept Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, originated from the pulpit of Northampton preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that later led to the American Revolution.

The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful scientific, commercial, and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist, temperance, and transcendentalist movements. In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families. Harvard University in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, with the largest financial endowment of any university, and Harvard Law School has educated a contemporaneous majority of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kendall Square in Cambridge has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet", in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation which have emerged in the vicinity of the square since 2010. Both Harvard and MIT, also in Cambridge, are perennially ranked as either the most or among the most highly regarded academic institutions in the world. Massachusetts' public-school students place among the top tier in the world in academic performance. The state has been ranked as one of the top states in the United States for citizens to live in, as well as one of the most expensive.

Massachusetts community action[edit | edit source]

Sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]

Biodiversity[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Massachusetts, Ecology

Climate action[edit | edit source]

350 Massachusetts - Greenovate Boston, community-driven movement to get Bostonians involved in reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050

Climate change in Massachusetts affects both urban and rural environments, including forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and coastal development. The Northeast is projected to warm faster than global average temperatures; by 2035, the Northeast is "projected to be more than 3.6°F (2°C) warmer on average than during the preindustrial era."

Community energy[edit | edit source]

Brewster Community Solar Garden - Resonant Energy, Dorchester, Boston

The U.S. state of Massachusetts has vast wind energy resources offshore, as well as significant resources onshore. The 2016 update to the Clean Energy and Climate Plan had a goal of reducing 1990 baseline greenhouse gas emissions levels by 25% by 2020. Current goals include installing 3,500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power in the state by 2035. However, as of Q1 2020 the state had only 119 MW of wind powered electricity generating capacity, responsible for generating 0.9% of in-state electricity production, with no new turbines under construction. The state has awarded contracts to two offshore projects, the 800 MW Vineyard Wind project and 804 MW Mayflower Wind project. Both of these projects are still awaiting final federal regulatory approval as of February 2021.

Wikipedia: Solar power in Massachusetts

Community involvement[edit | edit source]

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative[edit | edit source]

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, nonprofit, community-run organization based in Roxbury, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1984 by residents of the Dudley Street Neighborhood, along with members of the Riley Foundation, as an effort to rebuild the poverty-stricken community surrounding Dudley Square. It is known as the first community-run grassroots organization to gain "the power of eminent domain" by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, meaning the community controls its own development and the use of the land. W

Via the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, residents worked with city and state officials to transfer ownership of 15 acres to a Community land trust (CLT), in which 1,300 parcels of land were placed. Now, those lots boast 225 new affordable homes, a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse, urban farm, playground, gardens, and other amenities one would only expect in more privileged, resource-rich neighborhoods. [1]

Cycling activism[edit | edit source]

Hubway bike sharing system for Metro-Boston

U.S. Bicycle Route 7 (USBR 7) is a north–south U.S. Bicycle Route that follows the Western New England Greenway in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. It runs parallel to U.S. Route 7 from a junction with the East Coast Greenway in Norwalk, Connecticut, to Route Verte 4 at the Canadian border. The Vermont segment was established in 2015, and the rest of the route was added the following year. When U.S. Bicycle Route 1 is extended through Connecticut, it is expected to meet USBR 7 near Norwalk.

Education for sustainability[edit | edit source]

wikipedia:List of nature centers in Massachusetts

Environment quality[edit | edit source]

Mystic River Watershed association - wikipedia:Pollution on Cape Cod

Food activism[edit | edit source]

League of Urban Canners[edit | edit source]

Planting an urban fruit tree is more than a lifetime commitment — it is an intergenerational civic responsibility. Each summer, in Greater Boston, a huge amount of backyard fruit falls to the ground and sidewalk, where it rots and creates a mess. Property owners and municipalities are often pressured to remove these "nuisances," while many urban residents are struggling to access local and organic food sources. The League of Urban Canners has developed a network of individuals to map, harvest, preserve, and share this otherwise wasted fruit. They make agreements with property owners to share the work of fruit harvesting and preserving, as well as tree and arbor pruning. The preserved fruits are shared between property owners (10 percent), preservers (70 percent), and harvesters (20 percent). Each season the completely volunteer-run enterprise harvests and preserves about 5,000 pounds of fruit from a database of more than 300 trees and arbors. Myriad acts of cooperation sustain this urban commons, in which harvesters, property owners, preservers, and eaters learn to share responsibility, resources, and care for each other and their urban environment. —Oona Morrow [2]

Other links[edit | edit source]

Higher Ground Farm, Boston’s first rooftop farm, facebook page

Open spaces[edit | edit source]

Department of Conservation and Recreation ( - Greater Worcester Land Trust - Kestrel Land Trust - Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust - Mystic River Reservation - Sudbury Valley Trustees

Sharing[edit | edit source]

Reading Public Library’s Library of Things

Sustainable transport activism[edit | edit source]

With nearly a third of Bostonians using public transit for their commute to work, Boston has the fifth-highest rate of public transit usage in the country. Nicknamed "The Walking City", Boston hosts more pedestrian commuters than do other comparably populated cities. Owing to factors such as the compactness of the city and large student population, 13% of the population commutes by foot, making it the highest percentage of pedestrian commuters in the country out of the major American cities. As of 2013, Walk Score ranks Boston as the third most walkable US city. [3]

Wikipedia: Hiking trails in Massachusetts (category)

Towards sustainable economies[edit | edit source]

Wellspring Cooperative, "creating an engine for new, community-based, worker-owned companies in inner-city Springfield, based on the purchasing power of area anchor institutions."

Resources[edit | edit source]

Citizens data initiative[edit | edit source]

Energy Profile for Massachusetts- Economic, environmental, and energy data

Commons[edit | edit source]

Senior Village Movement, Boston

The first senior village began in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood in 2001 when about a dozen elders wanted to avoid going to a nursing home. They founded a nonprofit to co-purchase the services retirement communities provide, but get them where they already live. They became the first "virtual retirement community" offering services such as transportation, food delivery, home repairs, dog walking, and social activities. After four years of successful operation, The New York Times published a feature story about Beacon Hill Village. The idea began to spread.

To support those who were interested in following their example, Beacon Hill Village published a how to manual and began helping other elders set up villages. Eventually, the Village to Village Network was formed to launch these villages. Today there are over 200 villages around the world with more than 150 forming.

Rita Kostiuk, national coordinator of the Village to Village Network, says:

"People are excited and want to move to where villages are, I think villages benefit the whole person; mind, body and soul. As we educate the federal government on how well it’s working, we’ll start seeing even more." [4]

Community resources[edit | edit source]

see community involvement

News and comment[edit | edit source]


Racism in finance has sparked a grassroots response. Meet the Boston Ujima Project. Jan 5 [5]


Check Out This Seed Library in Boston and Learn How to Start Your Own, Nov 27 [6]

Boston outlines its plans to adapt to rising sea levels, Oct 30 [7]

This Massachusetts Town Shows What a Sustainable Economy Looks Like, Jul 12 [8]

Church solar project inspires solar for neighborhood, May 2 [9]


Boston Resilience Blueprint Leads With Discussions of Race, Equity, Nov 21 [10]

Teenagers force Massachusetts to act on greenhouse gases via lawsuit, May 19 [11]


How One Boston Neighborhood Stopped Gentrification in Its Tracks, January 28 [12]


How Boston is rethinking its relationship with the sea, October 27 [13]

Massachusetts to open area the size of Rhode Island to offshore wind power, June 18 [14]

A Worker Cooperative That Proves Alternative Economic Systems Aren’t Only For The Privileged, Apr 14 [15]

Boston Doctors Can Now Prescribe You a Bike, April 9 [16]

Campaigns[edit | edit source]

Coal Free Massachusetts


External links[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Massachusetts

References[edit | edit source]