During the 1980s I served as Director of the Office of Research and Standards, which I established and developed, at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. In that position, I directed the environmental risk assessment work for the agency, advised the Commissioner of the agency on all public health policies, and directed the research activities. I also testified before the US Congress and Massachusetts Legislature and represented the agency in judicial proceedings. My legacy from that period is the Massachusetts Air Toxics Program, which was developed under my leadership as the first state-level program in the country for regulating toxic air pollution, which at the time was not regulated at the federal level. This program to this day continues to be the basis for regulating toxic air pollutants in Massachusetts.
During that period I served on several scientific consensus committees of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Advisory Board to the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Program, and numerous other state and national advisory bodies, to which I provided expertise in risk assessment and environmental health and policy. I also consulted widely and served as a scientific expert in judicial proceedings. I served on the National Science Foundation Review Committees and the Program Committee for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to which I provided an interdisciplinary perspective and an understanding of the science-policy interface. The AAAS Program Committee works with the President of AAAS to develop programs for the annual conferences.
In the New Millenium
Since 2003 I have been a member of Newton Citizens Commission on Energy in my home city of Newton, Massachusetts. Members of the Commissions are appointed by the Mayor, City Council, School Committee, and Chamber of Commerce. In this capacity, the Commission monitors energy consumption in Newton, advises the Mayor and City Council on reduction in energy demands, energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, and energy conservations measures. It also undertakes various initiatives on behalf of the City. In 2017 I became the Chairperson of the Commission and began serious work on making Newton more sustainable.
Between 2009 and 2012 I co-founded and co-led Worcester Housing Energy and Community (WoHEC), a multi-stakeholder group in Worcester, Massachusetts, seeking to combine a program in energy retrofits in the residential sector with community development and employment creation for high-risk youths. So framed, the initiatives attracted a large group of academics (from Clark University and others), local community activists, politicians, and business people.
Since 2014 I have been a co-leader in the emerging close collaboration between SCORAI and Urban Sustainability Directors Network USDN on sustainable consumption. The underlying rationale is that cities have a unique role to play in fostering lifestyle choices that carry a small carbon footprint. In 2015 we jointly (with One Earth) published Eugene Memorandum, which articulates the principles and actions that cities can take to foster more sustainable lifestyles and consumption patterns. In 2016 a Toolkit has been completed to help urban sustainability directions with that work.