Jon's Vision

Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and Resiliency

Climate change is the existential threat to our city — it must be taken seriously and requires leadership from our next mayor. To successfully combat climate change, we must understand the intersectionality between sustainability, transportation, development, and public health. We need a holistic approach to climate change and it must focus on environmental justice, climate resiliency, and carbon neutrality.

Jon has been a leader on climate change during his time on Beacon Hill. As a state representative, he voted to pass the 2050 Climate Roadmap bill, one of the most comprehensive and progressive pieces of climate legislation in the country. The bill set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, codified environmental justice, and increased our reliance on renewable energy. Jon continued to lead on environmental issues in the community, including partnering with neighbors to prevent new developments from installing fossil fuel infrastructure and securing state funding to clean up the Muddy River. 

As mayor, Jon will:

  1. Beat the Green New Deal Goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Boston should be a leader in reducing emissions and combating climate change. Getting to net-zero emissions will improve public health, address environmental justice issues that predominantly harm our lower-income communities, and mitigate the current crisis. As mayor, Jon will: 
    • Carbon neutrality. To beat our carbon neutrality goals, Jon will focus on transportation and development, our two most potent emitters. 
      • On transportation, Jon will invest in and expand transit options to promote the use of public transportation and reduce reliance on cars. He is also committed to creating more dedicated bus lanes, protected bike lanes, and encouraging micro-mobility. Jon will also move toward a fully electric city of Boston vehicle fleet, including BPS busses.
      • Jon will ensure that all new development is carbon neutral by 2035. We can achieve this by incentivizing sustainable building practices, requiring new construction to install efficient infrastructure, prepare for the electric grid, and expand the use of solar or wind energy on roofs. Jon will also incent transit-oriented development to encourage use of public transportation. Lastly, Jon will expand article 37 to ensure that every development goes through an environmental review.
    • Cut emissions in transportation through electrification of the city fleet, promoting bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, and micro-mobility options. Jon will also prioritize eliminating transportation emissions by swiftly electrifying the City of Boston vehicle fleet, working with the MBTA to convert to 100% electric vehicles, supporting residents who choose EVs, expanding public transit options to reduce the use of cars, and encouraging micro-mobility options. Jon envisions a multi-modal, transit oriented city with less congestion, cleaner air, and safer streets for all users that results in better public health for us all.
    • Make every municipal building carbon neutral. Jon sees an opportunity to significantly impact our existing carbon footprint by ensuring every municipal building in the city’s portfolio is green. He will dedicate funding in the capital budget directly toward retrofitting city buildings. Additionally, Jon will require that any building undergoing planned renovation will be required to upgrade to green infrastructure. He believes that each time the roof of a building owned by the city is renovated, the City should install solar panels.
    • Create a retrofit fund and tax credits for existing buildings. Our existing buildings account for about 70% of citywide emissions. We must also look to our existing buildings as another opportunity to cut emissions. Jon will create retrofit programs incentivizing homeowners and small building owners by reducing costs to go green, providing city and state resources. Retrofitting can also be an economic boon for our economy if we rely on a homegrown workforce trained and developed here in Boston. Jon will create a retrofit fund specifically targeted in our environmental justice communities. The fund will help install solar panels, convert fossil fuel infrastructure into electric, and install heat pumps. 
  2. Addressing environmental justice issues and reversing decades of harmful policy decisions. As someone who grew up in subsidized housing in Roxbury and treats patients who have fallen victim to the public health consequences of environmental justice issues, this issue is personal for Jon. The problems caused by issues like air pollution and unsafe water manifest in Jon’s emergency room, and COVID only made things worse. As mayor, Jon will:
    • Prioritize equity and actively work to reverse the impacts of climate change, pollution, and industrial harm on our environmental justice communities. Jon will incentivize green and sustainable infrastructure investments, work to convert vacant city lots into green spaces, prioritize inclusion of underserved communities in the green workforce, and enact policies actively countering environmental racism. As we create coalitions to address environmental challenges, Jon will make sure that BIPOC voices will be at the table. 
    • Guide environmental justice communities with a new vision. Jon will prioritize his work in environmental justice communities by enacting equitable resiliency measures, planning evacuation routes, and incentivizing retrofits in our most vulnerable communities first. 
  3. Increase climate resiliency to combat sea-level rise. Sea level rise and increasing strength and unpredictability of storms pose an existential threat to the livelihoods, housing, and infrastructure of our city. As a coastal city, Boston is at severe risk for sea level rise. Jon will invest in climate resiliency strategies now to protect our city in the future. As mayor, Jon will:
    • Work with stakeholders to raise climate resiliency standards in development. Jon will implement new standards to ensure development, construction, and infrastructure are flood proof  and absorb flood waters.
    • Preserve, protect, and expand resiliency infrastructure. Jon will prioritize preserving and investing in our City’s 43 mile waterfront given it’s historical, cultural, economic, and resiliency importance. Jon will redouble Boston Water and Sewer Commission’s efforts to maintain and improve our stormwater systems and create additional flood storage throughout the City. He will lead an effort to retrofit our living shorelines to slow and store flood waters, focusing on areas such as East Boston, Moakley Park in Dorchester, and Ryan Playground in Charlestown. Lastly, Jon will take advantage of once-in-a-generation opportunities to expand green space and parkland by combining shoreline resiliency measures with green space expansion priorities. 
    • Invest in climate resiliency and green projects. Jon will leverage Boston’s fiscal standing to issue bonds and fund programs to address environmental justice issues, make investments in green infrastructure, and expand our living, resilient shoreline. Jon will create a new Climate Resiliency Office to focus on coordination of environmental justice, green development, and emission reduction through a central agency. As mayor, Jon will designate funding to encourage expansion of solar and renewable energy in private residential and commercial buildings. 
  4. Economic justice in the green economy through green jobs. As Boston becomes a leader in the green economy, we must seize the opportunity to expand racial justice, economic rights, and transit equity to our historically underserved communities. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest into our communities of color and ensure that the benefits of the green economy are equitably distributed to every resident in our city. As mayor, Jon will:
    • Ensure that Boston becomes a global green economic engine. Creating the green economy’s new workforce is critical and Jon will ensure that by investing in vocational training programs, working with organized labor on workforce development, and forging public-private partnerships with our local universities. In developing the next generation of our green workforce, Jon is committed to recruiting from our most vulnerable communities to prioritize training and employment in the green energy sector.
    • Invest in green vocational technical education. We must ensure that Madison Park Vocational Tech is educating the workforce of the future. Jon will create a new model curriculum focused on training and developing our future leaders in the green economy and our burgeoning biotech sector. Jon will do this by revamping the Madison Park curriculum to provide enhanced STEM education and will create new vocational tracks for emerging opportunities in the green economy and life sciences. The House of Representatives recently created an Offshore Wind Initiative, providing $10 million for workforce development and training. This funding and programs like these should be used to build out the curriculum and infrastructure at Madison Park. Jon believes that our most underserved students should be the ones recruited and trained to be the leaders of this burgeoning economy.
    • Partner with local colleges and universities to create credentialing programs for students, workforce retraining, and re-entering citizens. As mayor, Jon is committed to exploring innovative partnerships to get our students, returning citizens, and residents seeking a job change into green economy credentialing programs. Jon will work with local institutions such as the Benjamin Franklin Institute, Roxbury Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, and UMass Boston to develop city-subsidized green economy credentialing programs for Boston residents. 
  5. Green Spaces and Repurposing City Property. Public spaces are essential for communities as they provide outdoor space for recreation, access to clean air, and they promote healthier communities. We must expand and better maintain our city’s parks, trails, and green spaces. These amenities are a vital component of a successful climate action plan and provide immense opportunities to improve public health. As mayor, Jon will:
    • Preserve and expand our valuable green space. Green public spaces provide outdoor space for recreation, access to clean air, and they promote healthier communities. Jon will expand and better maintain our city’s parks, trails and green spaces. He is determined to make sure that all communities have equal access to green space. 
    • Eliminate heat islands and expand tree canopy. As mayor, Jon will order an evaluation of existing heat islands throughout the City and complete the census of existing trees. Using this data, Jon will ameliorate heat islands throughout the city by working with community leaders to create comprehensive plans to increase green space. He will also implement an arbor augmentation program to protect trees and invest in expansion of tree planting across the city, prioritizing our most underserved neighborhoods. Jon will set a goal of making Boston the largest major city with the highest per capita rate of trees in the country.