Residents and Community Groups Join Forces To Fight Extreme Heat

Special to the Record

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) in collaboration with the cities of Everett, Chelsea, Malden, the Town of Arlington, GreenRoots, Everett Community Growers, and the Friends of the Malden River kicked off a project to combat extreme heat in their municipalities through ideas led by residents and community leaders this February.

Wicked Cool Mystic, funded through the state Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, is a two-year effort to meaningfully engage residents, workers, and community members in designing fun and affordable solutions to help people stay cool and healthy during our increasingly hot summers. Right now residents can share how they experience heat and potential solutions by taking the Wicked Cool Mystic Heat Safety Survey. Residents need to select the survey specific to your municipality (Arlington, Malden, Everett, Chelsea–and after completing the survey earn a $25 gift card.

The project is a follow up to Wicked Hot Mystic, a volunteer science effort that created a map of the hottest places in the watershed (see results here). The data show that the hottest neighborhoods in the Mystic River watershed correlate closely with historic redlining and current low-income communities of color.

Wicked Cool Mystic will work with communities experiencing the worst effects of extreme heat. Community members will lead in designing, creating and implementing community-specific cooling solutions. Eight local Wicked Cool Ambassadors, two from each of the target communities, will help lead these efforts. The Ambassadors will distribute surveys, attend various community events, and lead 2 community events about extreme heat and cooling interventions.

“By recruiting, organizing, and training community members to lead cooling efforts, we hope the solutions are exciting to the community and meet their specific needs,” said Marissa Zampino, Community Organizer at the Mystic River Watershed Association.  “This highlights the importance of residents leading the fight against climate change as they are the experts in their own communities.”

The project will mobilize hundreds of local residents to workshop cooling solutions such as trees, splash pads, water fountains, misting stations, and more. The project will create pilot projects in Chelsea, Malden, and Everett. “I am really excited to get to work on this project and lead cooling efforts in my community,” said Juan Soler-Ramos, a Wicked Cool Mystic Ambassador for the city of Everett. “My community is really hot, and I want to educate and engage my friends and neighbors about the importance of this issue.”

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