I pledge to put the frontline first!
Every day, my inner city neighborhood contends with disproportionate health risks and unequal exposure to pollutants causing asthma, and other health disparities. One way I try to address the environmental injustices I am exposed to is by improving the built environment in my community with healthier and more efficient homes.
I built Dorchester's first LEED Platinum home, the first of its kind in Boston, MA. Because of the significant amount of time we spend indoors it is important to make sure the air quality in our home is good. I built a home that took into account air quality and its carbon footprint from start to finish with every material used and every decision made. This home also incorporates photovoltaic panels, solar hot water panels, harvests rainwater and has efficient fixtures and finishings. I decided to take on this project after numerous developers told me that they would not build a green healthy home in my community because it was not cost effective and it did not make sense for my neighborhood. My community and others like it are on the frontlines. It is not right for developers to think they can get away with building poor quality structures with cheap materials and cut corners that impact the heath of my family and neighbors. I had to show these developers that we deserve good quality homes that take our health into account and allow us to take part in saving the environment, saving money and protecting our health. Today, my team advocates for similar homes to be built throughout the neighborhood and we use my home as a showcase for what can and should be done within our community. This is just one example of my support for better health for frontline families.
Cynthia Loesch, a Boston native, founded the BOLD Teens, a youth-led social and environmental justice group in her Dorchester neighborhood, when she was just 13. The BOLD Teens began as a group of young people in Dorchester, who, like Loesch, had lost relatives to tobacco-related illnesses. The group convinced the Boston Globe to ban advertising of all tobacco products in November 1999, led the effort to ban the sale of tobacco products in Boston pharmacies in 2008 and contributed to FDA regulation of Tobacco Products in 2009. As President of Codman Square Neighborhood Council (CSNC), Loesch and her team enhanced developments in the community, organized local merchants, created the Boston Youth Police Connection, developed the Codman Square Farmers Market, making locally grown, organic food accessible and affordable; and assisted in the development of the Governor’s First State-wide Youth Council. Notably, in 2011, she completed the construction of Dorchester’s first certified LEED-Platinum home to set a standard for efficient, healthy, cost-effective developments that benefit the neighborhood.