Former Director of the Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL) at UMass Boston will bring extensive experience and expertise to advance coastal resilience and climate justice
BOSTON, MA (December 12, 2023) – The Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) today announced the addition of Rebecca Herst as Associate Director for Resilience, effective January 1, 2024. Having most recently served as the Director of the Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL) at UMass Boston (UMB), Rebecca will help advance all aspects of the GRC’s work to accelerate climate action in Boston, with emphasis on coastal resilience and climate justice. She will also help with strategic alignment across the GRC’s six working groups and Climate Justice Initiative, leveraging the GRC’s unique convening role among its network of private sector and public sector leaders at the City and Commonwealth, as the pressure grows to meet 2030 climate goals.
“Rebecca is a deeply respected leader in the Boston climate action community who knows how to get things done,” said Amy Longsworth, Executive Director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission. “She built the Sustainable Solutions Lab, a unique, cross-disciplinary center at UMass Boston to focus research and attention on climate equity, which strongly elevated that field in both theory and practice and boosted momentum in Boston. She has also played key roles on UMB project teams that, in partnership with the GRC, produced several important reports on projections for sea level rise and other forms of climate impacts on the City while providing recommendations for potential solutions. Rebecca’s qualifications and expertise – combined with her deep relationships in Boston and throughout Massachusetts – made her a perfect fit for this important new role with the GRC.”
During her eight-year tenure, the SSL developed a reputation as a respected source of expertise on both climate and social equity and for fostering relationships across fields to catalyze change. Her background as a community organizer informed her work as she successfully brought faculty, adaptation professionals, and local leaders together. She established the Northeast Climate Justice Research Collaborative, a network of researchers around the region focused on climate justice, co-developed the Climate Adaptation Forum, a quarterly event bringing together a wide swath of the Greater Boston climate resilience field, and organized the UMass Boston Climate Justice Deep Dive, a semester-long faculty development program.
Prior to her work at the SSL, Rebecca worked on climate resilience issues at Boston Harbor Now, Harvard University’s Office for Sustainability, and the Urban Land Institute. Her work has been covered in a wide variety of national and international news outlets including The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and the BBC. She has also co-authored op-eds in The Boston Globe and shares her expertise at events locally.
“I am excited to join the GRC in this newly created role of Associate Director for Resilience, which will draw from my experience working across Boston’s policy, academic, and business community to advance climate resilience initiatives,” said Herst. “The GRC’s mission and work are more important than ever, and I look forward to joining the team at this pivotal time. With strong leadership at the City and State level that are fully committed to addressing climate change and 2030 climate commitments looming, the time to take action is now. I’m ready to work with our Members to accelerate climate action, advocate for policies to meet our climate targets, and to build a more climate resilient Boston where everyone can thrive.”
Rebecca earned an MBA from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Carleton College. In 2020, Rebecca was the recipient of the prestigious Roy J. Zuckerberg Endowed Leadership Award. Once every four years, this University of Massachusetts System-wide prize is awarded to a staff member or coach who leads “by serving, by giving, and by pointing the way.”
About the Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC)
The mission of the Green Ribbon Commission is to accelerate the implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan by convening, organizing, and enabling leaders from Boston’s key sectors. GRC Members are committed to working with the City of Boston and policymakers across the Commonwealth to advance climate justice, strengthen climate resilience, accelerate carbon mitigation, and build a more informed and activated population of residents in Boston. The GRC provides a forum for representatives of the private sector and the City to discuss, plan and act on the opportunities, challenges, ideas, and requirements of preparing Boston to meet the imperatives of climate change. To learn more, visit www.greenribboncommission.org.