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    We can’t afford green roofs law to stay dormant

    December 15th, 2020

    Mothers Out Front use the image of a green roof meadow on Chicago’s city hall in its campaign for a revised law in Cambridge. (Photo: Roofmeadow)

    We cannot keep wasting opportunities to mitigate the predicted effects of climate change, as Cambridge’s city’s leaders are doing. Consequences of our climate crisis show themselves to us now and scientists tell us that the window to act against ever-worsening climate impacts is shutting, fast. A failure to act is malfeasance, so at this juncture our only question is how.

    Mothers Out Front, Cambridge, has a proposal: Let’s put green roofs on our city’s rooftops.

    Green roofs offer a hand-in-glove fit with Cambridge’s voracious appetite for large-scale development in our climate times. Buildings and construction are responsible for more than a third of all carbon emissions. After looking at how other American cities put gardens, meadows and farms on their rooftops, we assessed our own green roofs ordinance and found it woefully inadequate. In short, since 2012 its presence in our zoning code has led to not one green roof being created in Cambridge.

    Relying on the wisdom of other cities, we set out to revise ours. We put teeth into its words so future development and significant rehab of buildings of more than 20,000 square feet in Cambridge will be required to put vegetative and/or BioSolar, a complementary blend of vegetative and solar panels, on their rooftops. Yes, mechanicals will fit there, too.