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Articles by Mark Baard

Mark Baard writes about the environment, business, and technology for major newspapers and websites. He is living undercover as a suburban schnook as he prepares his escape to life off the grid in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

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Brockton, Mass., is championing solar power. Photos: SCHOTT Solar

This city was once the shoemaking capital of the Northeast, and over the years it was home to boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler, earning it the nickname “City of Champions.” Today, however, Brockton, Mass., holds the dubious honor of being one of the region’s trash capitals, because of its high concentration of waste-disposal and recycling facilities.

And you wouldn’t want your kids playing in what’s left of the open spaces in this hardscrabble urban area halfway between Boston and Providence. Some of Brockton’s remaining parcels are EPA-designated brownfield sites, useless for homes and playgrounds because of the toxic substances left behind by coal-burning plants, leatherworks, and textile factories.

Waste and recycling contractors are among the traditional bidders for those sites. But Brockton appears to be sick of taking everybody else’s garbage. Rather than convert its remaining brownfields into tire recycling plants or tow lots, the city this week introduced the nation’s largest “brightfield” — a 3.7-acre l... Read more

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  • Could a wind-energy art exhibit shape public opinion?

    As an artist, Mark Beesley is drawn to subjects that others might find repellant. Beesley lives only a few miles from the Sizewell nuclear power station in Britain, and has occasionally made the plant the subject of his work. Despite his opposition to nuclear power, Beesley admits to a fascination with the plant’s design. “When […]