Covering Climate Now

Colleen Allard looks on at the playhouse in her backyard on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. It was made with materials salvaged by WasteNot, a company on Cape Cod that finds materials to be repurposed for various construction projects. (Raquel C. Zaldívar/New England News Collaborative)

Climate change “super” solutions, like increasing solar and wind power, are well underway in New England. But in a region where residents see the effects of climate change year round, everyday solutions are also essential: like how we bury our dead or get the kids to school.

For Earth Day 2023, journalists from the New England News Collaborative worked together to tell stories of people in New England who are finding unexpected and creative ways to act on climate change.

For more climate coverage, visit Maine Public’s Climate Driven series and NENC partners including NHPR’s By Degrees, Vermont Public, Connecticut Public, WBUR, WSHU, NEPM, CAI Cape and Islands and GBH.

This page includes our archive from Earth Day 2022 and 2021, featuring stories on how climate change is affecting food systems in New England, as well as what our region is doing to lower emissions. These stories dovetailed with Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story. For ongoing stories on climate change in New England, click here.

Salt marshes behind the the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Conn.

An experiment in Connecticut aims to make New England’s salt marshes more resilient

Davis Dunavin | April 21, 2023

Employees of the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut are in an alcove out back by the river, building greenhouses — hammering, sawing and drilling. “Cutting PVC to shape, cutting greenhouse plastic and assembling these one-meter-volume cubes,” said Justin Susarchick, the aquarium’s projects director. His colleague Rebha Raviraj fires up a power saw and cuts a…

Cows graze in a silvopasture area on April 19, 2023, on Wild Harmony Farm in Exeter, R.I.

For New England farmers, silvopasture could be a key adaptation to a changing climate

Patrick Skahill | April 21, 2023

To understand silvopasture, imagine you’re a cow grazing under full sun on a hot August day. It’s 95 degrees and the humidity is brutal. “Do you want to be out there eating a full buffet?” asked Joe Orefice, a beef cattle farmer at Hidden Blossom Farm in northeastern Connecticut. “You don’t want to do that. As a…

A perched view, through a line of trees, of the headstones down below at Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier. That’s where bodies can decompose underground, without the use of embalming fluids or concrete vaults.

Natural burials were illegal in Vermont. Now they’re having a resurgence

Lexi Krupp | April 20, 2023

At the entrance of Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier is a white marble building. Inside were six bodies, on a visit in early April. They were being stored by a local funeral director while the ground was still frozen. When Patrick Healy started working at the cemetery 35 years ago, the vault building was full…

Nashua residents Pat Lyons, an older woman with short white hair and wearing a yellow cardigan sweater, and Irene Oliveira, wearing a pink sweater with a blue-ish scarf, are seated at a city meeting and look at informational sheets on April 5, 2023, during a meeting about community power at City Hall in Nashua, N.H.

Community power programs are launching in New Hampshire. How could they help stop climate change?

Mara Hoplamazian | April 19, 2023

Keene was one of the first cities in New Hampshire to adopt commitments to 100% clean energy, in 2019. But then came the challenge of following through. “The city of Keene, we have a limited number of levers that we can use to effect change,” said Mari Brunner, a senior planner with the city’s community…

District transportation director Dana Cruickshank unplugs the charging cable from one of Beverly, Mass.'s electric school buses.

Electric school buses serve as mini power plants during the summer

Paula Moura | April 18, 2023

Summertime in New England is when people demand the most electricity from the grid because of air conditioner use. At those high-demand times, utilities turn to so-called peaker plants to supply the extra power. They’re often older, more polluting facilities, and they are expensive to run. But a project in Beverly, Massachusetts offers an alternative…

WasteNot co-owners Ann Jarosiewicz and Liz Prete stand for a photo at the company's warehouse in Falmouth, Mass.

Construction waste clogs landfills, worsens climate change. Two women’s solution: salvage it instead

Eve Zuckoff | April 17, 2023

In a humble garage on Cape Cod, Ann Jarosiewicz squeezed behind a refrigerator and bathroom vanity to thumb through a stack of doors. “I mean, that’s a beautiful antique door, right?” She and Liz Prete are founders of a building materials recycling company called “WasteNot.” And on a sunny April morning, they found themselves surrounded…

I tried to eat like a hardcore locavore in New England for a week. Here’s what I learned

Andrea Shea | May 7, 2022

Essay from WBUR reporter Andrea Shea. On a drab April morning I opened my eyes and immediately felt bereft. I sighed, then pouted. My usual cup of comfort and courage was off limits. While the beans in my coffee press are roasted in Sudbury, they’re harvested in Ethiopia. If you’re like me — and about 66% of Americans —…

Nuts and dried fruit items at a grocery store.

It’s hard to avoid plastic while grocery shopping — even for a week

Martha Bebinger | April 29, 2022

Essay from WBUR reporter Martha Bebinger. The thin plastic thread running between one leaf on my pineapple and its tag does me in. I don’t see it when I put the pineapple in my shopping cart, when I load the check out conveyor belt or when I unpack groceries at home. It isn’t until I…

Eating less meat is better for the planet. Could my family go vegan for a month? Could I?

Barbara Moran | April 28, 2022

Commentary from WBUR reporter Barbara Moran. One of my son’s favorite recipes is “dinner en papillote” — it sounds fancy but it’s just sausage, potatoes, onions and mushrooms, wrapped in aluminum foil and baked for an hour. Voila — dinner is served! I expected the vegan version would be a hit. The soy chorizo looked…

New England youth activists resist paralyzing climate anxiety with food sustainability

Megan Briggs | April 26, 2022

A survey of 10,000 young people found that climate change is causing severe “eco-anxiety” in young people around the world. Climate news — like the grim UN reports of global warming intensifying— is ripe for “doomscrolling,” a toxic habit of despairing over seemingly endless social media and information overload. Young climate activists in New England — which is heating…