Climate Activism Thriving in Wayland!

On Tuesday night, over sixty local citizens filled the Raytheon Room to standing room only to hear local environmentalists share their secrets. The event ran longer than expected, but chef Diana Goldman’s vegan treats kept everyone energized.

Ellen Tohn and Anne Harris, co-chairs chair of Wayland’s Energy and Climate Committee, kicked off the event. Highlights of their talk include how they have cut carbon emissions in Wayland by 12% since 2010, mostly by focusing on making all the town’s various buildings energy efficient, and in doing so have seen six-figure savings. What’s more, they have helped implement multiple solar canopies that provide both financial benefits to the Town of Wayland of over $100,000 a year, and reduce Wayland’s carbon footprint.

It was also exciting to hear what Wayland’s Energy and Climate Committee are looking at going forward. They plan to update most of Wayland’s street lights to LED, except the ones still standing from 1915 – those are going to a museum! They are also looking to create an aspirational guideline for all new town building projects going forward to be built in the most sustainable and cost-effective way possible. The Committee is both thoughtful and tenacious in their work, and the citizens of Wayland are lucky to have them leading the charge.

Beyond their town committee work, it was evident that there was also a need to engage Wayland residents at the household level. Tohn and Kaat Vander Straeten started to provide locals with the resources to make their homes and lifestyles as sustainable as possible. All Wayland residents are encouraged to go to their website,, to check out the menu of local actions and partners for personal climate action like recycling textiles, switching to LED lighting, or having a greener food system. It is just as important that residents share (also on the website), what they have already accomplished. There is nothing so inspiring as seeing that so many neighbors are working on this together. The group aspires for one third of Wayland households to engage in preventative actions.

Two unique food experts finished off the night. Vegan chef Diana Goldman shared some startling facts about the environmental impact of the cattle industry. Did you know that an obscene amount of water goes into making one conventionally “grown” hamburger? The data on it varies, but tends to be between 600-1,300 gallons. You could be more mindful of water use in your home, or you could skip the burger. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of a plant-rich diet versus the environmental degradation that comes with eating industrially-raised animals, watch the documentary Food Choices.

Goldman treated the group to three delicious vegan recipes: avocado toast, Mexican kale salad (arguably one of the best kale salads out there), and peanut butter treats. Her food was so popular that many people enjoyed seconds. Some even took home a plate! Check out Goldman’s website, for recipes, videos, or to learn about her cooking classes and catering.

With reusable plates, cups and cutlery, this was a no-waste event. Also, all the food scraps from that evening were soon on their way to be composted by Adam Jankauskas of City Compost.

Jankauskas spoke about the environmental benefits of composting, such as reducing your personal carbon footprint by over 250 lbs per year, and encouraged residents to make composting part of their lifestyle. If you are interested in compost collection, City Compost does weekly and biweekly compost pick-ups right from your curb. They even pick up items you would not want in a backyard compost, like meat, fish and bones. If you are interested in this service, reach out to, visit, or find them under “food” on

The Wayland Free Public Library Great Presenter series hosted this eco-fabulous event. If you are interested in becoming more sustainable, subscribe on Stayed tuned, their spring events will help us all learn how to do some “Spring Greening”!

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